’Anyday,Now……Everyday’ by Andrew Clegg
What do you get when you bring together two well-respected music composers from opposite sides of the world together and ask them to provide a little musical magic to the solo guitar repertoire? Then, you add into the mixture, the vibrant, and passionate English guitarist Andrew Clegg? Well, stir everything together, with some excellent music swirling around the fingers of said guitarist, and you get this – one of the finer things in life! This is Andrew’s third solo guitar recording, the others being ‘Amber’ and ’Tiger and the Lily’, both tremendous records, which contain his own compositions. However, this time, he’s come together with renowned composers Nobuya Monta (Japan) and Peter Byrom-Smith (UK) to join in the composer’s project of collaboration and promoting music from both their respective countries. Thier first collaborative recording, was ‘Heading for the Hills’ an album of pieces for string quartet.
Although distanced by thousands of miles, their music is from the same mould, so to speak. Having met many years ago, they have worked on establishing a reputation of joint recordings, and concerts, both in Japan and UK, which has proved very popular, as audiences from both countries, explore the others musical genre. As I already though, many listeners agree, that the music seems to sound familiar, similar, and complementary to each writer. Yep, strange, I know, but totally true!!
The album contains 11 tracks, 9 by Byrom-Smith, and 2 by Monta – it’s not actually unusual for this number difference, as Monta has written a long piece for the final track, and Byrom-Smith’s are quite short, except for the title track.
‘Danse Melancolique’ by Nobuya Monta.
This is actually a delightful piece of guitar writing, and not to me, not too miserable, or too much melancholy at all. It starts and ends in the same way, whilst taking you on a little journey of thoughtfulness. Not a virtuosic piece for the player, but definitely needs a little insight to make it sound as the composer intended. Some nice touches from Andrew, as he spreads the melodic, and harmonic ideas together in a sandwich of gentle beauty.
’Three Riverside Sketches’ by Peter Byrom-Smith.
These three, short, gentle, and at times slightly ambient and hypnotic pieces, are a reflection of the composers time spent by rivers in different towns around the UK. Again, not virtuosic, or, too difficult, but to bring them off properly, they need the guitarist to work out fingering, to preserve the flowing style of sound. Emphasising the relaxed writing in these pieces, the performer brings out the simple beauty of the rippling, movement by the waters edge.
‘Anyday, Now……Everyday!’ by Peter Byrom-Smith.
This a definitely a major work, requiring both stamina, and understanding from the performer. The composer wrote it in a response of his thoughts about how we all wish, hope for things to get better, change, etc, in our lives, but sometimes things have already changed for the better, but we just need to see it. Message is: don’t wait, or try and make it happen, everyday is already here, so, sit back, and enjoy the ride and you’ll see. The same with the music here, as Andrew takes on the journey into this mindset of the composer, as moods come, and go, pretty quickly, with lots of great, virtuosic guitar writing, with changing rhythms, harmonies and melodic ideas, rushing in and out of the listeners’ ears!
‘Ava’s Song’ and ‘Annabelle’s New Life’ both by Peter Byrom-Smith.
Both these pieces of music were commissioned by a guitarist, for a guitarist. The titles come from the names of the grandchildren of the commissioner, who were born and live in New Zealand, and written for and after their birth, whose father is also a guitarist over their. Both pieces have rhythmic sections, at the beginning and end, interspersed with melodic, song like qualities – hence the titles. Both the pieces work really nice together, but as here, also stand alone, requiring the guitarist to keep a musical control of them though.
’Street of Stone’ by Peter Byrom-Smith.
Commissioned for the 20th anniversary of the opening of an art gallery in York, the composers then-hometown, this piece is in three movements. Based on similar material, certainly linked by a main thematic idea, which appears in different guises in the different movements, it includes a nice variety of solo techniques, to great effect, to keep all lovers happy and the performer on their toes – or, should I say fingers!! Here, I can only imagine how much time and focussed rehearsal/practice Andrew had put in to get everything together, musically speaking – and he did it.
’Theme et Variations pour Guitare’ by Nobuya Monta.
The final track on this CD is, as the actual title says, a set of variations on the main theme. Again, like the previous tracks, this quite tricky for a performer to make work, as the variations get more and more complex in both structure, and therefore, the guitar technique required. In places, this is truly a tour de force in guitar playing with the performer leads us along with him, into both his world, but also the composers too – excellent stuff, and a really great ending to an album of wonderful music from across the world.
This a really terrific recording, by a really great guitar player. Andrew was especially lucky to have had direct contact with both the composers whilst recording, so he could really get inside their ideas, and with this understanding, bring out the best of their compositional ideas to fruition.
Anyway, ooh, excuse the pun, the album is released on Flying Tiger Records, so get yourself a copy. Check out Andrew Clegg Bandcamp, and his website, etc, for more info.