|A familiar face in the music room - guitarist David Cottam|
As part of the Exeter Guitar Festival, guitarist David Cottam from Sandford gave a recital at Exeter Central Library. Upstairs in the music room, he played twenty beautiful pieces, all either composed or arranged by David himself.
|Incredible dexterity and delicacy|
'Ivory Tower': dedicated to David's student from Sarajevo, a very sweet, soft and lyrical piece
'Caprice for Maša': apparently Maša only likes sad pieces - so this was a sad caprice, but with a soft caressing sound
'Zebra Music': zebra is the trade name of David's compositions for students, this study combined a steady bass rhythm with a contrastingly complex treble melody
'Willow Pattern': a little piece of 'Chinoiserie' - mock chinese music - very sweet
'Campanella': played across the rather than up and down the fretboard, like playing the piano - simple but effective
'Chimes for St Swithun': a beautiful impression of the bells of Sandford Parish Church
'Music for Skye': composed for the naming ceremony of David's sister's adopted daughter, the bass and treble are in different time signatures, giving the effect of a small child (or indeed teenager) out of step with an adult
'Le Rayon Vert': ('the green ray') is the last flash of light seen after a Mediterranean sunset - a miniscule soft harmonic to finish - followed immediately by
'Vampires': a tale of the macabre with agressive staccato chords and light flourishes like scurrying rats ending with ominous harmonics
'The Train to Cochabamba': the chugging of a Bolivian steam train is represented by chords on deadened string, before breaking into a complex combination of harmonics, arpeggios and slurs - "ching ching!"
'Craigie Hill': a little Gaelic treat based on a tune overheard on the radio
'Arietta with Variations': something classical, Joseph Küffner composed the original in Würzburg in the early nineteenth century - when Beethoven was working in Vienna. Every guitarist plays this piece and David's embellishments were quite magical. The entire audience held their breath for the mesmerising harmonic version.
'Comillas' & 'Santillana': more zebra music - dances inspired by spanish villages, with a warm Mediterranean feel
'Flamenquita': representing a 'flamenco groupie', a flashy and exciting piece.
'Fantasy on The Water is Wide': the big piece of the programme, starting with slow gentle rippling, developing into a rich mellow sound with tremolo reminiscent of Francisco Tárrega's 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra', and once atain a gorgeous harmonic section.
'After Julio': a quite straightforward piece by early twentieth century Argentine composer Julio Sagreras arranged by David to make it much more exciting and interesting - with very sweet trills and song themes.
'Rhapsody': composed for the 100th birthday of Edith Molesworthy (who still enjoyed motorbikes and malt whisky). David was starting to struggle with his injured hand but the struggle was worth it as he created a sultry dance full of soft seductive arpeggios and very complex runs up the fretboard - and back down again
'Myosotis': means 'Forget-Me-Not' but sounds like 'myositis' (inflammation of the muscles) which is appropriate as it was this piece which was mainly responsible for David's hand problems - working out how to play the frets with fingers and thumb simultaneously put a lot of strain on his muscles and joints (see below) but the result was sublime
|A new technique - all four fingers, and thumb, work the frets|
In response to enthusiastic applause, David played one encore
'Gardens in the Rain': takes its name from Debussy's well known piano work, but is quite different - beautiful and with something for every finger to do at all times. This piece is always popular and was requested for the 'Classical Journey' last week.
Regular listeners will know that Tuesday's concert was played on a guitar hand-made by Crediton luthier Shaun Newman using Honduran rosewood for the back and side panels. As Honduran rosewood is now protected, this is a very rare instrument indeed. Shaun himself was there to hear it in action, and will be selling the guitar from his Crediton Workshop: http://www.shaunnewmanguitars.co.uk/
Before too long we hope to hear Shaun on the 'Classical Journey' again for a feature on his latest project - the reconstruction of a mediaeval Gittern, which we may be able to get David to play for the programme.
Tuesday's recital in the music room was recorded by Mike Gluyas and we hope to be able to play a few sample tracks on 'Classical Journey' soon. David is also working on another album of guitar and 'cello music with Hilary Boxer of the Beare Trio, also featuring Shaun's wonderful rosewood guitar . . .