Tippett, Britten, Bennett, Walton, Berkeley

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COMPOSERS: Bennett,Berkeley,Britten,Tippett,Walton
LABELS: Nimbus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Blue Guitar
WORKS: The Blue Guitar; Nocturnal; Five Impromptus; Five Bagatelles; Sonatina
PERFORMER: Craig Ogden (guitar)
Throughout the ages composers have been inspired by gifted performers. This collection of British guitar music features works created for the unique artistry of Julian Bream, to whom Craig Ogden proves a worthy successor.


Ogden worked closely with Tippett on The Blue Guitar, the three-movement Sonata he completed in 1983: no wonder, then, that his performance has such eloquence and structural command.

Britten’s Nocturnal after Dowland (1963) reflects his extraordinary understanding of both the guitar and the earlier master. The eleven short sections cover a wide range of moods; yet Ogden proves that they maintain an essential unity, and when the original Dowland tune, ‘Come, heavy sleep’, is heard at the close, the effect is satisfying indeed.

In Lennox Berkeley’s polished Sonatina (1957), Ogden gives due emphasis to his subtle melodic gift. Richard Rodney Bennett, a Berkeley pupil, composed his Impromptus (1968) in preparation for the Concerto Bream had commissioned. He described them as ‘having great charm’, and Craig Ogden evidently agrees.


The masterly Five Bagatelles (1971) explode the myth that Walton’s powers diminished in his final years. Ogden makes the sequence seem more than the sum of the parts, and he is supported by a clear and atmospheric recording. Terry Barfoot