ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Guitar Meditations
WORKS: Works by Lauro, Barrios, Yoshimatsu, Villa-Lobos, Lovelady, Tárrega,
PERFORMER: Craig Ogden (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9743
Following his lively Tango nuevo collection this spring, Craig Ogden now chills out. The title, unlike its predecessor’s, is apt: the ambience is relaxed and concentrated, the musical essence distilled. So vast and underplugged is the guitar’s repertoire that hackneyed recitals are impossible except with extreme carelessness. Familiar tunes pop up in the pieces by Tarrega, Cardoso and Stanley Myers (the latter’s Cavatina is the theme from The Deer Hunter); Barrios’s La catedral and the Villa-Lobos Études are classics. But how often do you hear Poulenc’s only guitar piece, the short and spare Sarabande, one of his modal, infinitesimally nostalgic evocations of older music?
Premiere recordings include Sainz’s already 40-year-old character pieces, neatly hooking up traditional-style tunes with sophisticated harmony. The others are the Incantations by William Lovelady, who proves something of a cultural chameleon hopping lightly from France to Africa, and all five Yoshimatsu numbers, with a haunting new-age feel that belies their ‘new-music’ titles (Wind Color Vector, indeed). The first of these wind pieces manages to be both virtuoso and spacious, with its quick mood changes and recurring harmonies. Ogden’s technique and power to conjure atmosphere are as focused as ever, making the collection highly desirable. Robert Maycock