The Herald: “So back to the new disc: and we must say a word about Sean Shibe, the still-young Scottish guitarist…with the most beautiful, resonant and soulful performance of Max’s Farewell to Stromness, probably the Max piece that is everybody’s favourite – which was played by a local fiddler at the composer’s funeral. Shibe also gives an intense and deadly-accurate performance of Max’s Hill Runes, free of the scratches and scrapes that blemish so much guitar playing.”
McAllister Matheson newsletter: “This fascinating disc combines newer works with old-established favourites. Orchestral pieces alternate with works for solo guitar, the latter played by young Edinburgh-born guitarist Sean Shibe. He gives a rare account of Hill Runes, a series of five characterful miniatures inspired by George Mackay Brown’s enigmatic poem of that name. The music’s nature is more akin to lute music; apparently Max was trying to find a way of writing for the guitar that was in no way ‘Spanish’. Shibe is a persuasive advocate for the work, and also gives a warm-hearted performance of Farewell to Stromness.”
I feel like outreach is something often talked of critically, but when it works well (as it did here) it is one of the most rewarding things. The aim here was a humble, noble one – simply to help those of primary/secondary school age become better listeners to works of classical music. The works I played were not necessarily short excerpts. At the Peasedown St. John primary I performed Sir Malcolm Arnold’s Fantasy in full, which I’m sure challenged them, but little fidgeting – they were attentive listeners.
Visit to Peasedown St. John primary in their blog here.
And Writhlington tweeting afterwards, below.
I was browsing through a couple of issues of Classical Guitar Magazine last night and saw a few words from Graham Wade on a comments page from the December 2012 issue.
Segovia is one of those great guitarists that I’ve tried to love so many times, but I have never been able to enjoy – my loss – finding his style overly mannered and gratuitous, among other things. As an aside, I suppose that now that I’m used to a different recording aesthetic as well, so often his earlier, better, recordings grate ever so slightly.
Anyway, despite listening to someone eulogise over his playing nearly always baffling me, in Graham’s reiteration of the obvious there’s a gentle reminder that Segovia will always mean slightly different things to different generations. He died before I was born, and Graham will forever find him more relevant and visionary than I.
What are your thoughts on Segovia – overrated/incomprehensible or the sublime peak of a golden age?
Today, Einojuhani Rautavaara died at 80 years old. His few works for guitar remain woefully underplayed… Let’s solve this.
I had an amazing time yesterday visiting two primary schools in North London for Apollo Music Projects. It was pretty rewarding to hear the kids respond with “this is my FAVOURITE BIT!” when they were asked to use their imagination in describing how a piece made them feel. I think that this skill is actually often lacking in professional musicians…
A number of reactions to Bach’s Prelude from the first ‘cello suite: like a breeze; like a river; and some more bizarre ideas…
“It was like this man has decided to jump off a bridge and commit suicide then he realises he’s actually really good at swimming so he swims happily ever after.”
“In the jungle and all the animals are having a party and then there’s a candle on the cake. But the candle goes in the elephant’s eye and the elephant dies. So the rest of the animals go into mourning. For the rest of their lives. And they take a photo and put it on snapchat.”
I love this.