Coffee Concerts Season Ends with Engaging Aussie Guitarist

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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Coffee Concerts Season Ends with Engaging Aussie Guitarist

Post by Ralph » Sun Apr 24, 2005 8:47 pm

My Great Performances Sunday morning Coffee Concerts series at Lincoln Center season ended this morning with an hour-long recital by a very fine Australian guitarist, Craig Ogden.

Mr. Ogden supplied witty but very informative commentary on the eclectic and unfamiliar pieces he played. With a Brazilian inflection, he began with Bellinati's 1978 "Jongo" and then offered Tippett's "The Blue Guitar." I enjoyed the former more than the latter.

The U.S. premiere of Westlake's faintly topographically-associated work, "The Hinchinbrook Rift," was very interesting. Then Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" and just to have one familiar composer, Albeniz's "Castilla." All the pieces reflected Mr. Ogden's mastery of his instrument which, he explained, was an Australian guitar by the brand name, if I heard correctly, of Smallwood. This guitar is made differently than those we often see. When it's used percussively with hand slaps, as two works required today, only a small part of the instrument can be hit as part of the guitar is very thin and would shatter.

During remarks between selections two cell phones went off a few seconds from each other. Rather than chastise the boors Mr. Ogden confessed that HIS cell phone went off during a John Williams recital in no less venerable a place than Wigmore Hall.

As as a short encore Mr. Ogden performed the Moldavian folk song that has been adopted as his country's unofficial anthem, "Waltzing Matilda," in a new and almost dreamy arrangement.

Quite a few empty seats today, probably because the usual panoply of works by Dead White Male Europeans wasn't on offer. But this recital was a real treat.

Looking forward to the fall season for this inexpensive and very important recital series.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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