Artsmart 2014

Choice of music brings the best from the two guitarists. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Music Revival Concert Series at the Witness Hilton Arts Festival offered a varied programme of music that would have suited the tastes of most classical music enthusiasts.

Catering for the lovers of classical guitar was the concert entitled Two Guitars. This concert featured festival regular James Grace who is the head of guitar studies at the University of Cape Town’s College of Music and one of his pupils Chloe Murphy.

Grace is one of South Africa’s leading concert artists. In recent times, he has appeared with Cape Town Philharmonic, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, the Johannesburg Festival and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also recently released his fifth solo album entitled World Café.

He did not disappoint at this concert giving a virtuoso performance of great skill and warmth. There was considerable synergy between Grace’s performance and that of his young student Chloe Murphy. She is in the fourth year of her studies at the University of Cape Town She proved to be a rare talent in her own right.

The programme kicked off with music from the 17th century British composer John Dowland. This music was originally composed for two lutes but has been transcribed for guitar. The artists gave a sensitive performance of this ethereal and rather melancholy medieval music.

Next on the programme was Café Para Dos by contemporary Argentinean composer Maximo Diego Pujol and this was followed by L’Encouragement by Spaniard Fernando Sor. Both passionate pieces of music were skilfully played.

Maurice Ravel’s contribution to the programme was his beautiful Pavan pour une infant defunté (Pavane to a dead Princess). This work was originally composed for the piano but it is equally impressive played on the guitar.

Completing the programme was the virtuosic Suite Retratos by Brazilian composer Radames Gnatelli. This music once again brought out the best from the two guitarists.

The venue for this concert was the Chapel at Hilton College. While the pews are inclined to become a little uncomfortable during an hour-long concert it remains acoustically an excellent venue for serious acoustic music. This combined with guitar playing of the standard that was on display ensured that the concert was one to be remembered. – Keith Millar

Posted by ARTSMART   at 12:14 AM

24 September 2014

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