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David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2017

New Zealand’s present interest in classical guitar music began as recently as the late 1950’s, this new release including works written within the last thirty-five years. On the international scene David Farquhar is the most readily recognizable name, his Five Scenes, dating from 1971, shaped in a modern tonality and texture that was innovative for guitar compositions of that era, and include percussion effects on the instrument. Each scene carries a descriptive name, the Lullaby containing a particularly beguiling melody, while the finale is a series of answers to the movement’s title, Questions. He was also responsible for arranging eleven of Béla Bartók’s piano pieces, For Children. Almost straight transcriptions, the originals are very short, and of a ‘simple’ quality. Much of Farquhar’s education took place in England, and it would have been there that he became frequented with the instrument, his brief and charming Musette written at the close of that period. The disc’s remaining works are from three ‘home-grown’ New Zealand composers, Bruce Paine, John Rimmer and John Elmsley, the last of these having been a pupil of Farquhar. Stylistically he takes the era forward with a degree of atonality, the four movement Suite offering a demanding technical challenge to Günther Herbig who commissioned the work in 1995, the third study, Whispers, an exercise in pianissimo playing. Paine is a performer/composer, his three pieces, written in the present century, intended to be evocative pictures, while John Rimmer’s ‘tone-poem’, Hauturu, moves the guitar into a new world of exotic sounds. The outstanding performer was born in Brazil but has spent much of his life teaching and creating a new generation of guitarists in New Zealand. Superb sound quality. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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