Monday, August 10, 2015

Michael Calvert, Rhapsody on a Riff, Matthew Marshall, Guitar

Modern classical music for classical guitar? There is a good one out, featuring the music of New Zealand composer Michael Calvert as played by guitarist Matthew Marshall. Rhapsody on a Riff (Ravello 7907) is the name of the album and also of the opening composition from 1994.

This is an anthology of six appealing works for guitar written by Calvert between 1989 and 2011. What strikes me about the music is how well it lays upon the guitar. The music is expressively lyrical, melodically-harmonically sophisticated and very idiomatic sounding. That ease of articulation no doubt has something to do with Matthew Marshall's complete mastery of the music and his expressive way about it all.

From start to finish, the music flows very nicely and gives you much contentful substance to gravitate towards. It has something of the modern guitar tradition as exemplified by Villa-Lobos and Brouwer, as examples, and yet the music stands on its own as original.

In all we get "Rhapsody on a Riff," "Gaston Amoureaux," "Lascivious Pleasing," "Eight Studies," "Fantasia in August," and "Suma." They together comprise a very rewarding program as played with charm and the deft phrasing of Australian guitarist Matthew Marshall.

This may be something new for all of us who dwell west of the Pacific. Wherever you call home Rhapsody on a Riff gives you some brilliantly contemporary music for guitar as played by a true artist. Listen to this one, by all means.

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