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Craig Ogden : Guitar Works by Lennox and Michael Berkeley: CD

LENNOX BERKELEY: Quatre Pieces pour la Guitare : Op. Post; Sonatina for Guitar Op52 No1; Theme and Variations Op77: MICHAEL BERKELEY : Impromptu ; Lament ; Sonata in One Movement ; Worry Beads.

Craig Ogden

Chandos : CHAN 10261


Here is a very cleverly programmed recording, the complete pieces written for guitar solo by Lennox Berkeley, and then to close the album 4 pieces by his son, Michael Berkeley played by that fine Australian guitarist Craig Ogden.

The first set of 4 pieces has a fascinating history , as until as late as 2002, they were unpublished and only known to a remarkably small number of people, simply because the great guitarist Angelo Gilardino had been given the right to go through the late Andres Segovia’s library by his wife, and there in Linares, Spain, on May 7th 2001, Angelo discovered the Quatre Pieces pour la Guitare by Lennox Berkeley , written for and dedicated to Andres Segovia, but however never performed by him, but rather put away in a file and forgotten, until 2001! Angelo found nearly all of the manuscript utterly playable, except for a few instances where he resolved any problems .AS the stand they are a fascinating addition to his very small number of solo pieces, with No1 a Moderato Con Brio that, like all of his music, sits in a tonal framework, with many unusual instances where the harmonies surprise you. No2 is an Andante Con Moto in a mixture of time signatures .No3 is a Lento marked Mouvement de Sarabande, but with  a number of instances where the demi – semi – quaver runs definitely  make the music very fast to negotiate .The finale is an Allegro, Energico with an exciting forward thrust . Altogether this is a fine performance By Craig Ogden.

Then we are treated to his most famous piece the Sonatina in three movements dedicated to and played by Julian Bream, who also fingered the manuscript for publication. Again the harmonies are surprising but never atonal, and it definitely has an English tinge to it, like all of his other guitar music, and is completely original in style.

Finally we get the Theme and Variations, a theme with six variations, the first performance of which was given by Angelo Gilardino in December 1971, and is very much the same style as the others, melodic but in an unusual way with harmonies that surprise.

The album finishes with four works by Lennox’s son Michael, three of which are relatively short, but in a similar friendly- modern style as his father’s music, and a Sonata in one movement that is definitely the most complex of the four and again is a fine addition to our instrument’s repertoire.

So all in all, this is a superbly performed album, nicely recorded of some repertoire that many will not know, but music that all guitar lovers should get to know as it is quite special!

Chris Dumigan

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