Equinox - Abigail James (RVRCD64)

Playing new music is a voyage of discovery, an unpredicatable and exciting journey, and this is what informed my choices for this CD. Each work has its own particular language, pacing and personality: the four stark snap-shots of Black Venus; the angular, fragmented energy of Elliot Carter's Shard; the controlled passion of Pete Wyer's flap; the delicate long lines of Michael Zev Gordon's Bells, Lachrimae and Stillness.

I am always fascinated by the story behind each piece of music, sometimes explicit, sometimes hidden. Peter Sculthorpe recreates the empty stillness encountered on a walk in the Australian landscape, Gilbert Biberian evokes the enigmatic beauty of Japanese haiku, and Phil Cashian is inspired by Scandinavian winter landscapes in Talvi.

I am especially fond of Takemitsu's Equinox. Its expressive power belies its length and it is a work I never tire of performing.

All of the works here are well-crafted, idiomatic pieces that demonstrate the variety of textures, techniques and colours of the guitar. This collection alone shows how diverse new music for guitar is; and it is an area I have only begun to explore.

Abigail James

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