L Berkeley, M Berkeley: Quatre pièces pour la guitare, Op. post.; Sonatina, Op. 52/1; Theme and Variations, Op. 77; Sonata in One Movement; Lament; Worry Beads; Impromptu

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COMPOSERS: L Berkeley,M Berkeley
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Quatre pièces pour la guitare, Op. post.; Sonatina, Op. 52/1; Theme and Variations, Op. 77; Sonata in One Movement; Lament; Worry Beads; Impromptu
PERFORMER: Craig Ogden (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10261
Chandos supplements its orchestral series devoted to the Berkeleys father and son with this disc of their solo guitar music. It includes the first recording of Lennox Berkeley’s Four Pieces, written in 1928 while he was studying with Nadia Boulanger, sent to the great guitarist Segovia, and found among Segovia’s papers (presumably unplayed) after his death. They make enjoyable but unsubtle use of ‘Spanish guitar’ clichés – whereas in his Sonatina, written for Julian Bream in 1957, and his 1970 Theme and Variations, Berkeley managed to sound entirely himself while still writing sympathetically and idiomatically for the instrument. Michael Berkeley shows equal imagination and craftsmanship in his Sonata in One Movement, written for Bream in 1982 and another first recording here, as well as in an Impromptu written in a day for Bream’s 50th birthday, a euphonious Lament, and a busy study called Worry Beads. A pity, though, that there’s nothing in the composer’s later, tougher manner to complement these attractive early pieces. Craig Ogden is an ideally sympathetic interpreter of both composers: his control of rhythm and the mechanics of guitar playing scarcely falters, and he makes a most beautiful sound. This is enhanced by the recording, ideally intimate and atmospheric. Anthony Burton

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