Bill Arey, Ron Borczon, Peter Fletcher, Giovanni Di Chiaro : Calm Classical Guitar : CD
DEBUSSY : Preludes Book1 , No8, La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin; Reverie L68; Sarabande ; (Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): SATIE: Trois Gymnopedies (Peter Fletcher) :ANON :Mon Coeur Son Recommande (Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): SAINT – SAENS: Le Carnival des Animaux No.XII The Swan ( Giovanni de Chiaro ): PASQUINI : Sonata in Dm - II. Adagio (Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): MACDOWELL : Woodland Sketches Op51 ;No1 : To A Wild Rose (Giovanni de Chiaro): BACH : Cantata BWV 147 ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben -Jésus, que ma joie demeure : (Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): FALLA : El Sombrero de tres Picos – Danza del Molinero (Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): GRANADOS : Danzas Espanolas Op37 – No4 Villanesca (Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): PRAETORIUS: Dances from Terpsichore No1 Ballet(Bill Arey, Ron Borczon): VAUGHAN WILLIAMS : Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes – No2 Rhosymedre (Giovanni de Chiaro).
Bill Arey, Ron Borczon, Peter Fletcher and Giovanni Di Chiaro
Centaur : CRC 5032
Here is a beautiful collection of very varied, but utterly calming pieces (hence the album title!) played by a duo (Bill Arey and Ron Borczon) and two soloists , (Peter Fletcher, and Giovanni Di Chiaro) , beginning with Debussy’s fabulous Prelude No8 from Book 1 , The Girl with the Flaxen Hair , played by the duo , and it certainly is a lovely beginning. Then we get Erik Satie’s three Gymnopedies as arranged for solo guitar, which is quite understandable because they are some of the most simple music ever written for the piano, and transfer flawlessly onto the guitar. They are of course very similar to each other , and indeed in other circumstances one might get a little bored with all three one after the other, but in the case of this album, if the accent is on ‘Calming’ then they certainly do that. The Anonymous piece was new to me and sounds very hymn – like, which it may well be. Nothing is very difficult and the duo makes a fine job of its almost static and slow movements. The most played composer on this recording is Claude Debussy and here is his beautiful Reverie L68 arranged for two guitars, and wonderful it is. Saint – Saens’ The Swan from his Carnival of the Animals is next; a beautiful piece that everyone loves, and which sounds fine as it is, although I am aware that the accompaniment part is a lot simpler than the original, and the melody keeps diving up and down octaves to accommodate it, which just takes the edge off it for me a little, and moreover to appear calming it is played a fair bit slower than it usually is!
The final Debussy work, the Sarabande, movement No2 from huis suite Pour Le Piano sounds fine as it is, although again, one or two sections don’t gel quite as well on two guitars as they do on the piano, which is a shame, and I think I heard a couple of wrong notes in some of the harmonies in the middle too! The other piece I hadn’t heard before was the Pasquini Sonata in Dm , the second movement of which , the Adagio is represented here as a duet. They do a nice job of its slow – moving harmonies. Perhaps Edward MacDowell’s most famous piece is his To A Wild Rose from his Woodland Sketches, and it does really work on two guitars, and sounds lovely. The Bach section from his Cantata No147 is otherwise known to most as Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and like a lot of Bach, it fits beautifully onto guitars, in this case two. This is definitely one of the best tracks on the recording. Manuel de Falla’s excerpt from his Three Cornered Hat is a lovely arrangement that sounds beautiful. Granados’ 12 Danzas Espanolas are stunningly good pieces, and here No4, The Villanesca is played as a duet, and it does indeed really suit this arrangement. The huge volume of Praetorius’ Dances from Terpsichore have been arranged to a certain degree a number of times for one or more guitars, and this very melodic Ballet, is one that many will know, and is a lovely piece, well arranged. Vaughan Williams’ music isn’t often playable in any form on guitars normally , so this lovely emotive version of the second of his three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes, Rhosymedre, originally for Organ, is a lovely way to finish this album.
As you might expect, everything on this album is quiet and hushed, and slow, as befits the title, and apart from the one or two little exceptions I mentioned above, it is a fine album of lovely arrangements, that, if this is what you are looking for, will really suit you well.