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Lute on the guitar?
on 29 March 2013
This is an excellent recording of some beautiful music.
As a dabbler on guitar, even (albeit timorously) venturing gradually and slowly into classical repertoire, it's particularly of interest. Williams has long been known as a prolific guitar virtuoso of outstanding talent, and this 1975 recording is just one of the many testimonies from his catalogue to bear this out.
Considered on its own merits this is certainly five-star fare. And we love it, having already listened to it numerous times within the first week of owning it. What I would like to observe, however, is that coming to this from Nigel North's fabulous Bach lute set (a glorious 4 disc set from Linn records), one is struck by how much richer and more sonorous the lute sounds.
Keyboard instruments seem to have evolved such that over the years modern instruments typically deliver a richer broader more expressive sonority than do older models and types. The humble guitar, by contrast (and I love guitar, and play it a lot at home), seems a lesser beast, sonically speaking, than a well-recorded lute. I guess it's simply down to the fact that lutes have more strings and a wider range. Perhaps also the age of this recording adds to a slight thinness of tone?
With the above in mind, I would have to say that the best renditions of this repertoire are North's lute recordings for Linn. But they are obviously on lute, and this is guitar. Despite having said all this, first and foremost this is beautiful music played with superlative skill, and as such fully merits five stars.