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David STAROBIN (guitar) New Dance -18 dances for guitar (composed 1996-97)
Bridge 9084 51'03"

The New York guitarist David Starobin's recital at Wigmore Hall was reviewed enthusiastically by Seen&Heard in December. It included a group of pieces from this collection, commissioned from "eighteen of our composer friends" by the guitarist's wife, Becky, who also produced this immaculate CD.

Several of the composers represented are famous, some others unknown to me; Americans predominate. There is Shard, a squib from Eliott Carter at 89, and a modernist Danci by Milton Babbit. From Denmark, Bent Sorensen's Angelus Waltz, Per Norgard's tranquil Serenita and Poul Ruders's slow Chaconne, a substantial addition to the contemporary guitar repertoire (4'48"). England is represented by John Duarte's melodic Valse en rondeau and Jonathan Harvey's evocative Sufi Dance for microtonally detuned guitar, with extensive percussive effects. The aptly titled final piece is Bryan Johanson's Open Up Your Ears.

The sequence mixes idioms carefully and makes for absorbing and entertaining listening. Superlative, sensitive guitar playing by David Starobin; exemplary studio recording. I cannot think that there would be many CD collectors who will fail to be captivated by this individual and very personal initiative. Enjoy!

Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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