"The rain made a door for me and I went through it". Feeling small in York. This minster was where the statues were made to speak in the opening chapters of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. A few feet from where this picture was taken, Constantine the Great was hailed Roman Emperor in 306, establishing the religious foundations of Western Christendom. Today, masterclass at 1400 and solo recital at 1930, Bootham School, York!
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.