Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationaly

aBantock 4CDs £16 post-free

 

2CDs £9 post-free

New! CRD


£9 post-free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

 

  • overtures
  • long lost tapes
  • Schubert piano trios
  • overtures
  • Flute Quartets


Fröhlich Quartets
What a discovery!


GREIF Sonate de Requiem for Cello and Piano


a sonic treat


Terrific performances


the finest Verdi cast available


Let me tell you
Stratospheric Barbara Hannigan


David Pia


Beethoven Rattle


Highly Impressive


Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!


To live with


outstanding retrospective


A superb celebration

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Prima voce
Red Priest
Redcliffe
Retrospective
Saydisc
Sheva
Toccata Classics
Wyastone


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing
this disc through MusicWeb
for £ postage paid world-wide.

John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Preludium, P.98 [1:33]
The Earl of Essex, His Galliard, P.42a [1:58]
Most Sacred Queene Elizabeth, Her Galliard, P.41 [1:21]
Two Fancyes, P.5 and P.6 [5:50]
Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens, P.9 [4:30]
John MCLEOD (b.1934)
Fantasy on Themes from Britten's 'Gloriana' (2012) [8:32]
William WALTON (1902-1983)
Five Bagatelles (1971) [14:56]
Thomas WILSON (1927-2001)
Dreammusic (1980) [10:46]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Nocturnal, after John Dowland, op.70 [17:54]
Ian Watt (guitar)
rec. Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, Wales, 1-2 October 2012. DDD
NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6226 [67:30]


 
Where other young performers either smile sweetly or sultrily for the camera or affect an air of debonair nonchalance or studied seriousness, Ian Watt looks almost disdainful on the front and back covers of his second Nimbus Alliance recital (see warm review of debut). Let none be deterred, however, from enjoying his programme, which is a varied and interesting one, if not self-evidently coherent: short four-century-old pieces by John Dowland separating four longer 20th-century works, two well known, two world premieres.
 
Despite the differences, everything is pretty relaxed and tuneful, passages of reflective nostalgia - inevitably sometimes Mediterranean - rubbing shoulders with edgier-soulful virtuosity. Neither of the first recordings are missed masterpieces, it must be said - though the accompanying notes would clearly have the reader believe otherwise - but credit to Watt for including works by relatively neglected Scottish composers, with one of whom, John McLeod, he shares his Aberdeenshire birthplace. Watt actually commissioned McLeod's piece, one of a cluster of guitar works from the composer in the last year or two after a lifetime of ignoring the instrument.
 
A pat on the back for the album producers, incidentally, for not titling this disc 'Lachrimae', almost unheard-of restraint where John Dowland's music is featured! There is nothing doleful, as it happens, about Watt's account of Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens - rather, this is elegance and prettiness, with a hint of wistfulness. Deliberately or not, it serves as a reminder that the popular image of Dowland needs reviewing - he was certainly no sentimental wallower with a surname that rhymes with 'cow land'!
 
As for Watt, he sounds completely at home whatever century or style he is playing in. He is technically assured, thoughtful, unpretentious. It is fair to say he does not have the panache of Miloš Karadaglic, but his phrasings, colours and characterisations are a match for anyone. John McLeod and Thomas Wilson could hope for no better champion.
 
Watt's notes on the featured composers and music are detailed and intelligent, although he is sometimes provocative. For example, he writes that "the 19th century did not produce a masterpiece for the instrument; nor did it attract – with only the occasional and rather insignificant exception – the attention of any great composers" and "It was however only in the 1950s that the guitar began to attract composers of real stature". Is Watt too young then to remember Paganini, Giuliani, Boccherini, Diabelli, Carulli, Sor and Tárrega, all of whom dabbled in composition and were occasionally known to write the odd guitar piece? Watt even dates the "rise of guitar virtuosos" to the advent of modernism in the early twentieth century, citing Andrés Segovia as "the first guitarist to achieve world-wide fame through his constant touring, recording and commissioning of a remarkable number of new works." If Segovia were alive today, he would surely castigate Watt for such apparent ignorance of music history.
 
Nonetheless, with a reasonably generous running time, there is little to fault this disc. Sound quality is excellent - up close and intimate, almost like having Watt playing on your knee. A minor downside is that his breathing sometimes intrudes.
 
Byzantion
Collected reviews and contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk