October 9, 2019

  • An Introspective Guitar Recital


    Butterflies in the Labyrinth of Silence: Guitar Music of Georges Raillard
    David William Ross, guitar.
    Ravello Records 8019
    Total Time:  64:51
    Recording:   ****/****
    Performance: ****/****

    Guitarist David William Ross explores modern works for the instrument on this new recital recorded in Keene, New Hampshire this past March.  Music by Takemitsu, Piazzolla, Brouwer, and New Hampshire composer Frank Wallace are featured.

    Folk music somewhat informs the opening portion of the disc beginning with a Takemitsu arrangement of A Song of Early Spring.  This is a rather rich adaptation of this work by Akira Nakada that is a far more European romantic piece than one might otherwise expect.  It makes for a gentle beginning to the disc.  Sergio Assad’s arrangement of Las Estaciones Portenas takes us off to the four seasons of Buenos Aires with Piazzolla’s fascinating melodies and folk rhythms informing these pieces that also have a tinge of improvisation.  Ross’s performance covers this familiar work well.

    The latter portion of the album turns to original works for guitar beginning with Takemitsu’s Equinox.  This is a rather introspective work with delicate textures and harmonies.  This sense of reflective music continues in the more substantial piece that follows it.  Frank Wallace’s Cyrcles is a six-movement work featuring intriguing exploration of larger themes of loss, death, and depression that work through language that is more modern.  The circle of life and death helps frame the work which has a very personal sensibility that often seems to even question those more difficult life moments of grief.  The final movement picks up the pace with a finale forever pulling us forward in “First Truth”.   Brouwer’s Un Dia de Noviembre serves as an evocative reflective work that closes off an album of rather delicate, and contemplrative writing for guitar.

    This is a rather excellent collection of well-chosen pieces for guitar that tends to explore modern works of a deeply personal nature.  The outer pieces of the album frame these contemplative moments with pieces featuring memorably melodic material and gorgeous writing.