Thursday, April 25, 2019

Rupert Boyd, The Guitar

What the guitar means to us in my own lifetime has blossomed forward into a kind of renaissance with Blues from B.B., ringing Beatles and the boldness of a Leo Brouwer, distinctive sounds from Wes Montgomery and so much else. Rupert Boyd knows all of that no doubt. He is a guitarist for today, a true voice and a phenomena one should not ignore. I've posted on his music here previously (see the index box above for that review) and I am happy that he returns front and center for an ambitious outing he entitles simply The Guitar (Sono Luminus 92211). And by that matter-of-fact designation he means to portend much, for the album in some ways gives us as expansive a view of the classical guitar for us today as we might get in one program. And where others might not succeed in encompassing such a breadth Maestro Boyd emerges triumphant, thanks to his flexible concentration and innate musicality.

The program in its own way encompasses a long span of time and a fair number of overarching style sets. It begins with two extraordinary Brazilian perennials by Antonio Carlos Jobim in some lovely arrangements for solo nylon string guitar in the presence of "Felicidade" and "Estrada Branca." Rupert swings the elaborate arrangement of "Felicidade" in the way it absolutely must be swung. The stirring performance of "Estrada Blanca" follows. Rupert allows the melody line to sweetly stand forth in ways that show a pronounced rhapsodic touch.

From there we go back to a seminal compositional voice for the guitar, Fernando Sor (1778-1839) and a stirring performance of his "Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart." Rupert brings melody and accompaniment into a lively interplay that takes on a distinctness that is a treat to experience.

The Bach "Suite in E Major, BWV1006a" in guitar arrangement follows, with an intensity and flowing articulation rather exciting to hear.

Well I could go on with the blow-by-blow description of everything, but your own ears can find out the details for themselves. I should just add that Leo Brouwer's first ten "Estudios Sencillos" are played as well or better than I've ever heard and that is saying a lot. The concluding Beatles "Julia" gains a poignancy in Rupert's own nylon guitar arrangement that brings us full circle to the "popular" and in the process runs a fine gamut and shows Rupert Boyd's versatile savvy. Nothing here is superfluous or gratuitous.

Anyone who responds to the classical guitar legacy in its many variants will no doubt be quite happy to experience The Guitar in its diverse ebbs and flows. Bravo Boyd! If he is the future of classical guitar we are in good hands.

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