S022581 Reviews


S022581 American Sketches

Fanfare July/August 1998 by Richard Burke

AMERICAN SKETCHES William Feasley (gtr) SONORA S022581CD (63:06)
MADLEM American Sketches. Rayo. Homage to Scarllatti. 4 Spirituals. A. HARRIS Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel. Sonatina. GERSHWIN (arr. Feasley) 2 Preludes. 4 Songs. BOLCOM Graceful Ghost Rag. H. J. LINCOLN Ragbag. WENRICH The Skeleton Rag

This is an entertaining collection of guitar music, consisting of quite a few original pieces and a number of transcriptions, many of which are rooted in or influenced by popular music. The four short, tuneful works by Peter Madlem are largely based on the rhythms of popular song, except for the Homage to Scarlatti, a lively gigue mixing Baroque rhythms and modern harmonies. Albert Harris's pieces were written in the 1950s for Segovia and are the most substantial works on the disc. The Handel Variations explore a number of different genres, ending with an impressive variation based on a tremolo figure and a final fugue. The Sonatina is a nicely written, although less memorable, work with an attractive slow movement. The program concludes with some arrangements of Gershwin and three rags, including a modern one by William Bolcom and two from the early years of this century. Feasley is an excellent musician with a solid, impressive technique and a versatility that makes all of this material work. The recorded sound is very good, and the notes by Feasley himself are extensive and informative.


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