The Herald Online

Superb Grace Concert in PE

ATTENDING a classical guitar performance on a Sunday afternoon brought about a welcome change to the usual Port Elizabeth concert calendar, and with it, a fresh crowd of faces.

It was indeed encouraging that the auditorium was uncharacteristically full, which only bears testament to the fact that the city has a need for more concerts of this genre.

Opening his performance with Garoto‘s Improviso and Inspiração,Grace approached these Brazilian works with an ease of phrase, and immense musicality.

Following this with three works by Barrios, he aptly displayed his versatility through the combination of both lyrical and bravado sections, including complex “appoggiaturas”.

Dazzling fingerwork could be heard in Sor‘s Variation on a Theme by Mozart, which is based on Mozart‘s Marriage of Figaro.

In complete contrast, Grace painted a beautiful Spanish vista in Two Pieces from Suite Espanola, by piano composer Isaac Albeniz.

The audience was transported to Turkey, via the guitarist‘s vivid interpretation of Carlo Domeniconi‘s Koyunbaba.

Based on “open tuning”, this piece was inspired by Turkish instruments, and it’s growing excitement through four movements was conveyed with great enthusiasm by this talented performer.

Grace is not only an acclaimed performer, but also a highly sought–after teacher.

It was thus lovely to hear one of his students, Marc Rontsch, playing alongside his tutor in Cardoso‘s Milonga. 

A highlight of the afternoon was without a doubt Carlos-Jobim‘s Garota de Ipanema, portrayed by Grace with great improvisatory enthusiasm.

One can only hope that Port Elizabeth will continue to host concerts of such diverse nature, and that this celebrated artist will again grace our stages in future.

The Herald Online, 2008

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