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  • chrisdumigan

Kaori Muraji  : Soleil / Portraits 2 : CD

HARRISON : Here Comes The Sun: BIZET: Carmen Suite ( excerpt): FARRAR : Have You Ever Been Mellow: DYENS :  Fuoco from Libra Sonatine : BONFA : Samba de Orfeu; Luzes Do Rio ( Moonlight in Rio)  : RODGERS : The Sound of Music : O’SULLIVAN: Alone Again ( Naturally) :BARRIOS MANGORE: La Catedral: JARRETT: The Koln Concert : PEARSONS: El Dia Antes: CHOPIN Arr Tarrega: Prelude No15 in Db (Raindrop) from 24 Preludes Op28: HAMLISCH : The Way We Were.

Kaori Muraji

Decca : 4831126

Japanese guitarist Kaori Muraji’s album has a really captivating start in that the arrangement of George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun is very imaginative and yet works superbly. A great opener! Then we go to a 7 + minutes excerpt from the Carmen Suite by Georges Bizet which again has immediacy and a natural quality about it that would (If you didn’t know) thin it was originally a guitar work, and indeed has all those famous melodies that you would know, and can I say , some superb playing from our guitarist. Then there is John Farrar’s song Have You Never Been Mellow which was of course a song written for Olivia Newton – John and recorded by her in the mid-70s.Again this a really clever and successful arrangement that sounds very natural. Then, swapping back to an original classical work we find Roland Dyens 3rd Movement from the Libre Sonatine. Anything that came from the pen of one of the greatest ever classical guitarists would never be easy, but this work is absolutely one of the hardest things that you could ever attempt to play and Kaori makes short work of it. Luiz Bonfa’s Samba de Orfeu was originally a song but this arrangement works really well and is a nice contrast to the previous pieces. The arrangement of Richard Rodgers’ The Sound of Music is by that great guitarist Laurindo Almeioda and can be found in his book of arrangements of 11 Broadway songs called Broadway Solo Guitar and like everything else in that book is a real handful, which again our player makes sound very easy indeed. Gilbert  O ‘ Sullivan’s  Alone Again ( Naturally) is a surprising piece that I wouldn’t have thought of arranging in this way, and yet  is a wonderful  four and three quarter minutes of music. Lovely. Then the next three tracks are the 3 movement of the great Agustin Barrios Mangore’s La Catedral, a wonderful work that she performs beautifully. Following that comes Keith Jarrett’s The Koln Concert, or rather an excerpt from it as arranged for guitar by Manuel Barrueco. Very jazz like, and original an almost entirely improvised set of pieces lasting over an hour, this almost 61/2 minute excerpt is again in yet another different musical style from much of the foregoing music , and just shows how versatile this lady is. Bonfa’s second piece Moonlight in Rio is another bouncy, beautiful piece of writing that lovers of the Latin style will adore. Andy Pearsons’ El Dia Antes is a new piece to me, but sounds very pleasant and fits well into this recital. Then, by contrast we find Tarrega’s arrangement of the Raindrop Prelude of Chopin, happily not in the original piano key of Db Major! Finally we get Marvin Hamlisch’s The Way We Were so well known from Barbra Streisand’s fabulous rendition. This final track is yet another highlight from what now appears to be an album full of highlights, for this very guitaristic version is yet another great arrangement, and yet another great performance.

So in essence this has got to be one of the best albums of very varied, beautifully performed/arranged pieces of guitar music I have ever come across. This lady is a superb player, and anything she does should be snapped up immediately. How fabulous!


Chris Dumigan


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