teaches guitar, chamber music, music
literature and didactics at the University
of Music and the Dramatic Arts of Winterthur
and Zurich. In response to his invitation
over one hundred new works for guitar
have been written, including those appearing
on this recording.
The programme is a
rather odd combination, comprising five
contemporary works written over the
past decade and the Bach Lute Suite
BWV 995 arranged for guitar. Bach actually
adapted this for lute from the 5th Suite
for Unaccompanied Cello.
Irrespective of what
else appears on a programme, the inclusion
of the Third Suite for Lute generally
compensates for other deficiencies,
such is its substance and appeal. In
this case such a generalisation is not
germane. The redemptive qualities are
compromised by a very average rendition.
The timing and phrasing in the Courante
are so idiosyncratic that on occasions
the movement is almost unrecognisable.
There are a number of more inspiring
recordings of this music, an outstanding
one being that by Göran Söllscher
(DG 445 563-2).
On occasions like this,
one is reminded that some great masterpieces
of classical music were initially rejected
by audience and critic alike, and later
elevated to pinnacles of veneration.
Whether or not the new compositions
on this disc will eventually become
accepted as masterpieces of the guitar
repertory is a matter of opinion but
time will ultimately tell.
There are many fine
examples of recorded contemporary compositions
for the guitar. The new release by Graham
Anthony Devine - British Guitar Music
(Naxos 8.557040 review
) is a prime example. This recording
demonstrates the standard of composition
required to have longevity in the guitar
Music for which there
is no melody, harmony or rhythm is an
acquired taste. Much of the music on
this disc has nothing to do with guitar
playing in the traditional sense. The
composers make extensive use of percussive
effects achieved by hitting the guitar
body with the knuckles in non-rhythmic
patterns; effects akin to "bottleneck-slide"
guitar in which a bottleneck or similar
object is used to "stop" the
guitar strings, and the sort of sounds
one expects to make when tuning an instrument
with a new set of strings still in the
Of the five compositions
the Acht Poems (2001) by Fumie
Shikichi are the most interesting and
pleasing on initial listening.
It is possible that
the very heavy breathing evident on
several tracks is part of the composition,
but this cannot be ascertained without
the actual sheet music. Irrespective
it certainly plays a dominant role.
This new release by
Christopher Jaggin offers new, hitherto
unrecorded material. and sonically is
of a high standard. Beyond that this
writer is struggling to expand the list