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Blackwattle Caprices
Joaquín MALATS (1872-1912)
Serenata Española arr. Jacob Cordover [4:05]
William WALTON (1902-1983)
Five Bagatelles (1970-71) [14:38]
Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996)
Three Songs: Yesterday [3:43]; Over the Rainbow [3:18]; Londonderry Air [4:03]
Ross EDWARDS (b.1943)
Blackwattle Caprices [7:10]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)
Córdoba (pub. 1896) arr. John Williams [6:55]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Suite for lute in C minor, BWV997 [22:24]
Tom WAITS (b.1949)
I’m Still Here [2:24]
Jacob Cordover (guitar)
rec. January 2013, Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Hertfordshire
CALA CACD77017 [68:41]

Young Australian guitarist Jacob Cordover has won several prestigious awards and performs as a soloist and also, with Rupert Boyd, as the Australian Guitar Duo. This is the first of three discs to be released on Cala that introduce his artistry on a wider front.
 
His repertoire here mixes the expected - Malats, Walton, Albéniz, and Bach - with the music of his compatriot, Ross Edwards (whose music gives the disc its title), Takemitsu, and the more unusual choice still of Tom Waits. Cordover himself has arranged Malats’s Serenata Española, though other arrangements exist. This is a sensitive and thoughtful performance but I think you may find that the inimitable Julian Bream brings a more capricious sense of rubato to it and that its character - through dynamic and colour - is the more developed in his old recording. Still, abjuring Bream’s accelerandi and vibrancy, leads to Cordover locating a different, more clement sense of the music’s Spanishry.
 
Generally speaking Cordover is slower than Bream (in 1973) in the Walton Bagatelles. Once again Cordover proves the more laid-back character; Bream’s accents bite hard in the Allegro and there’s a real sense of Waltonian irony in the slow movement, where Cordover prefers instead a slow dance pattern. Throughout, Bream proves the master, etching and shaping with practised perception; his take, quite militant at points, makes the music sound the more challenging, and the more complex.
 
Takemitsu arranged Three Songs for guitar and they were Yesterday, Over the Rainbow and The Londonderry Air. Unlike the booklet writer I don’t happen to think the Japanese maestro upstaged Lennon and McCartney in Yesterday; in fact I think they upstage him. In fact Takemitsu’s take on all three strike me as soporific, nice though they may be to play once in a while. Much better is Edwards’s Blackwattle Caprices, two contrastingly sized movements; the first expressive, flexible, quirkily questioning and the second brief and dancingly attractive, galvanised by little fillips.
 
He evokes the cathedral solemnity and dignity of Albéniz’s Córdoba though perhaps some slightly greater colouristic sense might have been even more effective. Bach is represented by the Suite BWV997, taken over for the guitar from the original instrument, the lute. The playing here is controlled and eloquent, the dance movements being brought out with care. The recital ends with Tom Waits’ I’m Still Here, a brief and apposite note on which to end a generally interesting recital.
 
Jonathan Woolf 


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