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Paul Magnussen (Campbell, CA USA)
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guitar LP
guitar LP

5.0 out of 5 stars Before the deluge, 30 July 2015
This review is from: guitar LP (Vinyl)
The list of composers on the cover, plus the picture, seem to indicate that this is the same album as "First lady of the Guitar".

I first saw Liona Boyd in the late '70s, somewhat improbably (but possibly because they were both Canadians) opening for Gordon Lightfoot. She played popular pieces like "Asturias", and brought the house down — no mean feat, considering the audience.

This album comes from that time, before she slid into the Abyss of Easy Listening; and it shows her at her best, which is to say on Romantic music. The technique is spot-on, her tone gorgeous, and her interpretations just right.

I don't believe this entire album is available on CD (although five tracks are on Best of).

CONTENTS

a1) Barrios: Waltz Nº 4
a2) Barrios: Canción de la Hilandera
a3) Payet: Lejanía
a4) Payet: Cabellos de oro
a5) Debussy: The Little Shepherd
a6) Satie: Gymnopadie Nº 1
a7) Barnes: Fantasy for Guitar

b1-3) Sor: Waltzes (3)
b4) Tárrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra
b5) Albéniz: Granada
b6) Albéniz: Asturias

"Cabellos de oro" ("Golden Hair") is dedicated to the lady herself.


A Perfect Harmonie: Elizabethan Lute Duets
A Perfect Harmonie: Elizabethan Lute Duets
Price: £11.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Imperfecte recording, 29 July 2015
This album SHOULD be excellent value: over an hour of (mostly) Elizabethan, plus a few Jacobean, lute duets at (as I write) a very reasonable price.

Unfortunately, the recording is spoilt by cheesy production: the (rather cursory) notes are accurate enough, but the recording sounds muddy and the stereo image is appalling, with the two instruments all but impossible to distinguish, even on headphones, instead of being hard left and right (as with, for instance, Paco de Lucía's duets with Ricardo Modrego or Sabicas's double-tracked pieces).

Furthermore, the contents of this CD are EXACTLY the same as those of Music from a Tudor Court. If fact, when I put my copy of A Perfect Harmonie into iTunes, the title says the latter! Suggestio falsi to trick you into buying two copies?

The musicians are both fine (one has a slight tendency to play more softly than the other, but again this could be the recording).

3½ stars, should be 4½. Too bad.

(Unless, of course, all you want is some pleasant background music, during dinner or whatever. In that case, it may be fine.)

Since (as usual) Amazon doesn't give the composers, I list the complete contents below.

01) Dowland: My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home, P. 66
02) Robinson: A Plaine Song
03) Danyel: A Fancy
04) Pilkington: Echo Almain
05) Anon: A Merry Moode
06) Anon: Drewries Accorde
07) Anon: Duncomb's Galliard
08) John Johnson: La Vecchia Pavan
09) John Johnson: La Vecchia Galliard
10) Robinson: A Toye
11) Robinson: A Fantasy
12) Marchant: A Fancy
13) Anon: Robin
14) Anon: Greensleeves
15) John Johnson: The Honsok
16) Robinson: Twenty Ways Upon The Bells
17) John Johnson: The Queen's Treble
18) Anon: Bergamasca
19) John Johnson: Trenchmore
20) Anon: Greensleeves
21) Francesco da Milano: Canon, N. 93
22) Francesco da Milano: Spagna, N. 94
23) Vicenzo Galiliei: Contrapunto Primo di B.M.
24) Vicenzo Galiliei: Contrapunto Secundo di B.M.
25) Heckels: Amy Souffres
26) Roquelay: Grace et Vertu
27) Crequillon: Pis Ne Me Peult Venir
28) Gombert: En Espoir
29) Anon: Galliard
30) Ferrabosco: The Spanish Pavan

The total time is 66'38".


Music From A Tudor Court
Music From A Tudor Court
Price: £9.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Imperfecte recording, 29 July 2015
This album SHOULD be excellent value: over an hour of (mostly) Elizabethan, plus a few Jacobean, lute duets at (as I write) a very reasonable price.

Unfortunately, the recording is spoilt by cheesy production: the (rather cursory) notes are accurate enough, but the recording sounds muddy and the stereo image is appalling, with the two instruments all but impossible to distinguish, even on headphones, instead of being hard left and right (as with, for instance, Paco de Lucía's duets with Ricardo Modrego or Sabicas's double-tracked pieces).

Furthermore, the contents of this CD are EXACTLY the same as those of A Perfect Harmonie. If fact, when I put my copy of that into iTunes, the title says Music from a Tudor Court! Suggestio falsi to trick you into buying two copies?

The musicians are both fine (one has a slight tendency to play more softly than the other, but again this could be the recording).

3½ stars, should be 4½. Too bad.

(Unless, of course, all you want is some pleasant background music, during dinner or whatever. In that case, it may be fine.)

Since (as usual) Amazon doesn't give the composers, I list the complete contents below.

01) Dowland: My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home, P. 66
02) Robinson: A Plaine Song
03) Danyel: A Fancy
04) Pilkington: Echo Almain
05) Anon: A Merry Moode
06) Anon: Drewries Accorde
07) Anon: Duncomb's Galliard
08) John Johnson: La Vecchia Pavan
09) John Johnson: La Vecchia Galliard
10) Robinson: A Toye
11) Robinson: A Fantasy
12) Marchant: A Fancy
13) Anon: Robin
14) Anon: Greensleeves
15) John Johnson: The Honsok
16) Robinson: Twenty Ways Upon The Bells
17) John Johnson: The Queen's Treble
18) Anon: Bergamasca
19) John Johnson: Trenchmore
20) Anon: Greensleeves
21) Francesco da Milano: Canon, N. 93
22) Francesco da Milano: Spagna, N. 94
23) Vicenzo Galiliei: Contrapunto Primo di B.M.
24) Vicenzo Galiliei: Contrapunto Secundo di B.M.
25) Heckels: Amy Souffres
26) Roquelay: Grace et Vertu
27) Crequillon: Pis Ne Me Peult Venir
28) Gombert: En Espoir
29) Anon: Galliard
30) Ferrabosco: The Spanish Pavan

The total time is 66'38".


Live På Gamla Bion
Live På Gamla Bion
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Väsen live, 27 July 2015
This review is from: Live På Gamla Bion (MP3 Download)
There are strange people out there who think that Väsen are the greatest band in the World. My wife and I happen to be two of them. They've been playing together now for 26 years, and it shows in their total togetherness. Furthermore they still seem to be having a lot of fun, which certainly can't be said of every group with that much mileage.

This album was recorded at a small cinema in Örsundbro: nice and intimate, there didn't seem to be more than 40 or 50 people in the audience. We picked it up in its physical aspect at one of the band's recent house-concerts in the US.

In this form it consists of a CD AND a DVD. The chat in between the tunes has subtitles (by default, but you can switch them off) in English.

The CD consists of the same recordings as the DVD, including the applause (which I know from experience is hard to edit out, anyway) but minus the chat.

Now the music is great to play in the car as a reminder of the DVD; but as a standalone, it's worth remembering that all of the tunes here appeared on previous albums, as follows:

01) Kludd'n — Mindset
02) Polska for Tom Morrow — Mindset
03) Hundlåten — Mindset
04) Fanny — Mindset
05) Lilla Kulturbidragsvalsen — Mindset
06) Linnæus Polones — Linnæus Väsen
07) Tiliandermenuetter — Linnæus Väsen
08) Eklundapolska Nr 3 — Väsen Street
09) Magnus — Mindset
10) Flippen — Keyed Up & Live in Japan
11) Träbens-jonke — Mindset
12) Byggnan — Levande Väsen, Spirit, Live in Japan & Live at the Nordic Roots Festival
13) Kaptyn Kapsyl — Whirled & Live in Japan
14) Nitti Pomfritti — Whirled & Live at the Nordic Roots Festival
15) Pilvi & Eskos Brudvals — Mindset

I also have reservations about Kaptyn Kapsyl, which starts normally and then gradually goes musically off the rails. It's fun the first time, and the band obviously enjoy playing it, which is infectious; but without the visuals, I don't think it bears repeated listening.

This is of course a minor quibble, but my recommendation is still — in particular if you're a hard-core fan and have the previous albums — get the CD/DVD.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2015 4:00 AM BST


Albeniz Works for Guitar
Albeniz Works for Guitar
Offered by shakedownrecords
Price: £17.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Spanish panorama, 25 July 2015
Transcriptions of works by Albéniz have long been staples of classical guitarists' repertoires; but few have dedicated complete albums to them, as here (although John Williams is a notable exception)

Wulfin Lieske has long been one of my favourite players, and this album is outstanding, both musically and in terms of the recording quality.

However, for almost the same price you can get his Albéniz duet album with Fabian Spindler, which includes the present one as a bonus disc.

The contents here are:

01) Recuerdos de viaje, Op. 71, Nº 6: Rumores de la Caleta
02) Suite Española, Op. 97, Nº 4: Zambra granadina
03) Piezas características, Op. 92, Nº 12: Torre bermeja
04) Mallorca, Op. 202
05) Suite Española, Op. 47, Nº 4: Cádiz
06) Suite Española, Op. 47, Nº 3: Sevilla
07) Cantos de España, Op. 232, Nº 2: Oriental
08) Cantos de España, Op. 232, Nº 4: Córdoba
09) Suite Española, Op. 47, Nº 1: Granada
10) Suite Española, Op. 47, Nº 5: Asturias

The total time is 51'04".


From There To Clare
From There To Clare
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £58.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Irish music from San Francisco, 18 July 2015
This review is from: From There To Clare (Audio CD)
Junji Shirota is an amazing Japanese musician who started on piano, and then (by his own account), after hearing Bluegrass for the first time on a sampler LP that came with his new Hi-Fi ("Bruegrass? What is Bruegrass?) taught himself 5-string banjo. After moving to the US he became captivated by Irish music, learning tenor banjo and guitar (usually in DADGAD tuning), and becoming so good that he frequently performed with stars such as Paddy Keenan.

The present recording features Junji with a number of other artists, some of the tracks being recorded in the studio, and others at one of Junji's favourite venues, the Plough and Stars in San Francisco.

For my money this is not as good as Junji's 1999 CD "The Heathery Breeze" (unavailable on Amazon as I write), which featured him on tenor banjo and double-tracked guitar.

The tunes here are:

01) Lord Inchiquin (O'Carolan)
02) Loftus Jones (O'Carolan)
03) Sailor on the Rock/Last Night's Fun/Toss the Feathers
04) The Holly Bush/The Boy on the Mountain Top
05) Captain O'Kane (O'Carolan)
06) Rakish Paddy
07) The Cúil Aodha Jig/Gan Ainm
08) Farrell O'Gara/Jennie's Welcome to Charlie
09) 70th Year
10) Katy's Fancy/The Cook in the Kitchen
11) The Humours of Tullycrine
12) The Pigeon on the Gate/The Fox Hunter
13) Seán O'Dwyer of the Glen

The total time is 43'48".


classical guitar LP
classical guitar LP

5.0 out of 5 stars Miscellany, 18 July 2015
This review is from: classical guitar LP (Vinyl)
CONTENTS

a1) Sagreras: El Colibri
a2) E. Sainz de la Maza: Campanas Del Alba
a3) Albéniz: Rumores de la Caleta
a4) Albéniz: Zambra Granadina
a5) Guimaraes: Sound of Bells
a6) Calleja: Canción Triste

b1) Bach: Lute Suite Nº 3, BWV 995: Prelude & Presto
b2) Bach: Lute Suite Nº 3, BWV 995: Gavottes
b3) Scarlatti: Sonata, K. 208, L. 238
b4) Scarlatti: Sonata, K. 431, L. 83
b5) Debussy: La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin
b6) Tomasi: Le Muletier des Andes

4½ stars. I hope to add some comments later.


the guitar artistry of LP
the guitar artistry of LP

5.0 out of 5 stars Baroque and Romantic, 18 July 2015
This review is from: the guitar artistry of LP (Vinyl)
CONTENTS

a01) Pescetti: Presto
a02) Bach: Violin Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056: Arioso
a03) Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Fugue
a04) Bach: Invention Nº 8 in F Major
a05) Bach: Violin Sonata Nº 2, BWV 1003: Andante
a06) Cimarosa: Sonata in G Major
a07) Cimarosa: Sonata in B Minor
a08) Besard: Courante
a09) Besard: Ballet
a10) Besard: Branle
a11) Besard: Volte

b01) Canonico: El Totumo de Guarenas
b02) Sagreras: Una Lágrima
b03) Lauro: Tatiana
b04) Lauro: Andreina
b05) Lauro: Maria Luisa
b06) Mussorgsky: Old Castle
b07) Feuerstein: Dance
b08) Feuerstein: Rests And Movements
b09) Feuerstein: Flight
b10) Boyd: Cantarell

4½ stars. I hope to add some comments later.


Best of
Best of
Price: £14.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Between two streams, 16 July 2015
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
I first saw Liona Boyd in the late '70s, somewhat improbably (but possibly because they were both Canadians) opening for Gordon Lightfoot. She played popular pieces like "Asturias", and brought the house down — no mean feat, considering the audience.

At that time I bought several of her LPs, which (in the original form at least) don't seem to have made it to CD. But when she moved to the (presumably) greener pastures of Easy Listening, I lost interest.

So I bought this CD to get some of the best tracks from those early albums. Since Amazon, in its customary fashion, doesn't bother to specify the contents, I give the full track-listing below:

01) Martini: Plaisir d'amour/Myers: Cavatina
02) Anon: What Child Is This?
03) Lecuona: Malagueña
04) Eduardo Sainz de la Maza: Campanas del alba
05) Albéniz: Asturias
06) Vicenzo Galilei: Saltarello
07) Mudarra: Fantasia
08) Bach: Bourrée from Lute Suite Nº 1, BWV 996/Prelude, BWV 999
09) Sagreras: El Colibri
10) Anon: Romance de amor
11) Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, BWV 147
12) Satie: Gymnopédie Nº1
13) Tárrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra
14) Vivaldi: Lute Concerto, RV 93: Largo
15) Payet: Lejanía
16) Liona Boyd: Cantarell

THE BEST of the CLASSICAL STUFF

Miss Boyd was a pupil of Alexandre Lagoya, and it shows.

She's at her best in Romantic pieces, such as "Asturias", which she plays with tremendous punch and spot-on timing.

The arrangement of "La Malagueña" brings to mind that of Sabicas (although there are many differences), and receives a strong performance.

"Campanas del alba", a tremolo piece, is one of those I bought the album for. It's just as beautiful as the overworked "Recuerdos" and comparatively little-known. Eduardo S. de la M. is, in my opinion, possibly the most underrated guitar composer out there. Miss Boyd's performance is first rate.

"El Colibri" (The Hummingbird) is a virtuoso showpiece, and in Miss Boyd's hands is the tour de force it should be, making John Williams sound like a tortoise in comparison.

The Gymnopédie is tranquil and beautiful, and I haven't heard any other guitarist play it except Christopher Parkening, who plays all three. This track really showcases her superb tone.

"Lejanía", by Carlos Payet (or Payes — no one seems to know for sure, although it says Payet on the sheet music) is a very beautiful work featuring a melody over accompanying arpeggios, and it's another of the pieces I bought the album for. Few other performers seem to play this, either*.

And finally "Cantarelle", another arpeggio piece, is the performer's own composition, and very pretty.

*It's also one of the few pieces that require the bass string to be retuned to F, the only other I'm aware of being Dusan Bogdanovich's Mysterious Habitats.

THE OTHER CLASSICAL STUFF

The following receive performances that are competent, but not particularly distinguished.

"Romance" and "Recuerdos" have been recorded so many times that it would be somewhat unrealistic to expect anything startling.

The "Saltarello" is well known under several different names, and was used (among others) by Respighi for his suite of Ancient Airs and Dances.

The Fantasia is the famous one "which imitates the harp in the manner of Ludovico". I prefer Alirio Díaz's version, which has much more élan.

It isn't really possible to do "Jesu" justice on the guitar; and the gooey orchestral noises, while making the counterpoint more possible technically, don't really contribute much otherwise.

The Largo from the Lute Concerto is nice, but I prefer Julian Bream, who, in addition, gives me the whole thing.

THE EASY-LISTENING STUFF

The Bach selection presents two of his best-known pieces munged together in a manner that does nothing for either of them.

Likewise "Plaisir d'amour", which receives a rather unimaginative tremolo treatment, book-ending Stanley Myers's well-known Theme from The Deer Hunter.

"What Child Is This?" is the title of a Christmas carol written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865, and set to the music of "Greensleeves". Since no one sings here, it seems strange to use that title for a piece 300 years older. The arrangement provides little more than the original for lute and some fairly uninteresting variations, with orchestral noises.

SUMMARY

This album is clearly designed to set forth the artist's most popular pieces, and in that respect it probably, on balance, does a good job. The problem comes because it must compromise between two different sets of tastes.

If you have no problems with the Easy Listening material, though (and especially if you don't already have other versions of the pieces), you should probably add a star to my rating.

The total time is 52'43".


Between two Hearts - Renaissance Dances
Between two Hearts - Renaissance Dances
Price: £12.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Most excellent, 14 July 2015
This is one of the best lute albums I've ever come across.

My all-time favourite lutenist has long been Julian Bream. Mr McFarlane, I believe, uses orthodox lute technique; but his playing-style is similar one very important regard — punch!

All the pieces here are, in spirit, 16th century (in spite of a couple of near misses in publication dates), and they consist largely of dances. Mr McFarlane's rhythm is rock-solid, and he breathes more life into them than anyone I've ever heard.

In its usual fashion Amazon has omitted to specify the composers of the individual pieces;They are as follows:

01) Dalza: Saltarello
02) Dalza: Piva
03) Attaignant: Pavane
04) Attaignant: Branle Gay
05) Attaignant: Pavane
06) Attaignant: Gaillarde
07) Attaignant: La Rote de Rode
08) Molinaro: Ballo detto "Il Conte Orlando"
09) Molinaro: Saltarello
10) Negri: Spagnoletto
11) Negri: Catena d'Amore
12) Negri: Ballo So Ben Mi Chi Ha Buon Tempo
13) Negri: Nizzarda
14) Neusidler: Ein Ser Guter Hoff Tantz Mit Durch Straichen
15) Neusidler: Hupff Auff
16) Neusidler: Ein Guter Welscher Tantz
17) Neusidler: Gassenhawer
18-19) Judenkünig: Rossina Ain Welscher Dantz
20) Judenkünig: Ain Niderlendisch Runden Dantz
21) Judenkünig: Ain Hoff Dantz Mit Zway Stimen
22) Borrono: Saltarello Chiamato el Mazolo
23) Borrono: Pavana Chiamata La Desperata
24) Borrono: Saltarello
25) Borrono: Tocha Tocha La Canella
26) Besard: Branle Gay
27) Besard: Branle
28) Besard: Branle
29) Capirola: La Spagna
30) Capirola: Tientalora, Balletto da ballare
31) Capirola: Padoana
32) Dalza: Pavana alla venetiana
33) Dalza: Saltarello
34) Dalza: Piva
35) Attaignant: Puisquen deux cueurs
36) Attaignant: La Roque
37) Attaignant: Gaillarde
38) Attaignant: Pavane
39) Attaignant: La Magdalena

The booklet notes are intelligent and informative.

The total time is 60'37".


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