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  • chrisdumigan

Frederic Hand  : Odyssey  : CD

HAND: Cantiga de Santa Maria; Prayer; Four Sephardic Songs; Odyssey;Sophia’s Journey; For Julian; A Psalm of Thanksgiving : TRAD: The Water is Wide: GLUCK: Ballet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits.

Frederic Hand (with David Leisner (gtr) and Jayna Nelson (flute)

Panoramic Recordings : Willow 1036


I have always thought Hand to be a major composer of the guitar even though his actual publications are only of a small number; he has managed to create a sound which is immediately his, and utterly unique.

His particular brand of harmonies, at times so jazz like, is particularly evident in the slow emotive pieces such as his harmonization of The Water Is Wide, or his solo version of his own duo Prayer, recorded by John Williams a few years ago. But one sees another side of his work when listening to Cantiga de Santa Maria, his reworking of 13th century songs, or his Four Sephardic Songs, which again hark back to medieval times and alternate between slow mournful melodies, and brash, almost relentless and often seemingly Flamenco driven pieces.

One of the best from the album is For Julian, originally written on an 8 -course Renaissance Lute, but now adapted for guitar, and is full of his own brand of unexpected harmonies.

David Leisner ‘s 2nd guitar to the title track Odyssey , an extended work of major importance , and Jayna Nelson’s flute work on the memorable A Psalm of Thanksgiving are both welcome additions to this beautiful (mainly) solo album of the unique sound of one of the guitar’s most distinctive composers, and all beautifully recorded too.

This is simply a wonderful set of pieces, beautifully recorded and played, and if you don’t know this man’s guitar works, then you really should!

Chris Dumigan


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