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Cat. No. CHAN 10261 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10261 - Berkeley, Lennox & Michael: Guitar Works
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Available From: 11 October 2004
Lennox Berkeley’s Quatre Pièces pour la guitare is an early work. In 1928 for Andés Segovia was the rage of Europe. Composers flocked to write works for him, including the twenty-five-year-old Berkeley, who sent him these four character pieces. Segovia did not perform them and they lay forgotten until discovered amongst Segovia’s papers in 2001, after the guitarist’s death. Lennox Berkeley’s first work for Bream was Sonatina, Op. 52 No. 1, composed in 1957, and premiered the following year. He wrote his Theme and Variations in 1970 for the Italian guitarist Angelo Giardino. Like his father, Michael Berkeley relishes the sound of the guitar and two of his pieces have associations with Julian Bream. Michael Berkeley was invited to the guitarist’s fiftieth birthday party concert in 1983. Berkeley wrote Impromptu as a birthday card and present combined. Impromptu is based on the notes B-E-A, letters embedded within Bream’s surname. The title for the étude-like Worry Beads sprang from a trip to North Africa, where Michael Berkeley watched the indigenous people incessantly fingering their worry beads. Berkeley found that the behaviour matched the character of the work’s principle idea. Lament was Berkeley’s first work for solo guitar, commissioned by Oxford University Press for its second book of Modern Guitar Music. The Sonata in One Movement was commissioned by the BBC Transcription Service as part of the Anniversary Celebrations of the BBC External Services. It was written for Julian Bream who gave the premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival. Before putting pen to paper, Berkeley consulted Bream extensively about exploiting the guitar’s less used sonorities. The resultant work is based on the unusual juxtapositioning of low chords and high harmonics.

'Craig Ogden is an ideally sympathetic interpreter of both composers: his control of rhythm and the mechanics of guitar playing scarcely falters, and he makes a most beautiful sound. This is enhanced by the recording, ideally intimate and atmospheric.'
BBC Music Magazine

Craig Ogden’s playing is beyond reproach, and the recording is excellent. Andrew Burn contributes very good booklet notes.
International Record Review

Berkeley père and fils both experimented with serialism and atonality, but for the most part their music is in a comfortable neo-tonal idiom. Michael’s language, at least in the pieces here, is notably tamer than his father’s, without the latter’s pointed dissonances and angular melodies. In their place are dulcet harmonies and an almost uninterrupted cantabile… Chandos’s sound is clean and transparent and the notes by Andrew Burn offer helpful guidance to the pieces.
American Record Guide

'This is a treasure trove for guitarists.'


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