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Barry Guy Folio
ECM New Series 1931 476 3053

Stravinsky woke from a dream and immediately composed his Octet for the unusual instrumental line up he had seen in his sleep. Barry Guy's dream (illustrated) helped him to structure this commission for the BT Scottish Ensemble.

It stems from his having read an Evrenov play; better, before tackling Brian Lynch's commentary, to hear the music first.

The hour-long work is designed with sections for string orchestra with solo violinists (baroque and 'normal') and improvised insertions featuring Guy's own double bass.

It can be given complete, as here and as scheduled for this autumn's Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, or alternatively its "stand alone" sections for string orchestra and solo violin can be performed outside of the entire Folio.

Limiting himself to strings alone, Guy entrances with a limitless range of colours, and it is especially piquant to be able to compare and contrast his partner Maya Homburger's baroque violin with Muriel Cantoreggi's modern instrument. Whatever the calculations and systems brought into play, be in no doubt that this is music of emotion and passion, a score which should raise the roof at Huddersfield's St Paul's Hall in November.

ECM's production is elegant as always, and the recording in Munich (February 2005) is exemplary. An important addition to Barry Guy's discography; see also Musical Pointers earlier reviews of Barry Guy's fruitful collaboration with Maya Homburger.


Rolf Lislevand Nuove musiche
ECM New Series 1922 476 3049
(Track listing)


A distinguished exponent of historically informed practice on lute and baroque guitar, Rolf Lislevand has let his hair down with this release, addressing cogently the anomalies of "historical improvisation".


He argues that today’s performers of seventeenth-century Italian and Spanish music should build on the freshness of extemporisation, or improvisation, which originally distinguished much of that music.


This release may appeal most to collectors of "world music"; Lislevand's team has at its disposal a wide range of exotic timbres, with voice, harp and clavichord, organ and Baroque guitar. ECM tells us that "the bass lines of Bjørn Kjellemyr, Norwegian improviser will be familiar to many ECM enthusiasts through his work with guitarist Terje Rypdal."


To indicate what you may expect, see Amazon (with sound samples): "Tracks like "Passacaglia cantata" and "Corrente" swing in the most subtle and engaging manner - - one senses distant echoes of the reverie-rich world of guitarist Ralph Towner; - - the spirit of a contemporary flamenco master like Vicente Amigo seems to enter the music- - Pedro Estevan’s delicate yet purposeful percussion is a delight throughout", and they remind us of "Officium, the million-plus seller which melded the early music vocal polyphony of the Hilliard Ensemble with the improvisations of saxophonist Jan Garbarek".


If that was more to your taste than mine, you'll enjoy this one too.


For a full review by an unreserved enthusiast, see Music Web's, which has complete track listing.


For Musical Pointers reviews of other Lislevand releases see Gaultier and Dowland


© Peter Grahame Woolf