Play when you’re relaxing
Grigoryan Brothers’ This Time is a pleasant album to play when you are relaxing. It is a huge contrast with their earlier exciting recording Band of Brothers (which they recorded with Joseph and James Tawadros. The double brothers’ album makes you stop what you’re doing and takes over! But this current offering shares your space, rather than invading it.
Westlake’s Mosstrooper Peak refects on the loss of his son
The major work on the album is Nigel Westlake’s six movement Mosstrooper Peak, with each part being based on a different setting in the Great Barrier Reef where the Westlakes erected shrines to their son, tragically taken from them in 2008. It begins reflectively, and incorporates a wide range of moods, at times recalling Six Fish, his earlier work for the multi-guitar group Saffire (also recorded by Guitar Trek).
I enjoyed hearing Leonard Grigoryan’s own pieces, and especially the engaging title track. Recorded in Oslo and Reykjavik, the album features the zither-like kantele in a few places throughout the album.
Distinguished American guitarist and composer, Ralph Towner (who plays in a trio with Slava and Wolfgang Muthspiel) provided two compositions for the album, including the aptly-named Duende. (The term refers to a heightened state of emotion, which leads to our response to music and art, such as involuntary chills, laughter and tears.)
The hypnotic effect of Rigney’s keeps you returning
The track I keep returning to is Shaun Rigney’s Two Swings in the Heart-Shaped Garden. It has a somewhat hypnotic effect, and expresses the Melbourne-based composer’s attempt to recreate in sound the heart-shaped Play-Doh tableau his young daughter had made. I like the interplay between the repeated accompaniment played by the first guitarist and the melody that the second guitarist introduces.
An excellent place to begin
If you have not spent much time listening to contemporary classical guitar music, this album could be an excellent place to begin. It has plenty of variety and beauty, without some of the challenging and foreign sounds that may be at first off-putting to a new listener.
I am guessing the pamphlet I received with the album is not included for purchasers, which is a shame, because it provides some really interesting information about the music and the musicians featured on the album. When people go to the trouble of purchasing a CD, I think they should be given something more than the downloader receives!
This beautiful recording includes Australian-made guitars (crafted by Jim Redgate) and was made possible with funding from The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia and The Australia Council.