THE GUITARIST could be described as a record of brooding reflection and pastoral solitude with echoes of ancient Greece a recurrent motif. It also demonstrates that one can plan a wonderfully varied yet coherent guitar recital without recourse to the usual Bach transcriptions and Spanish chestnuts.
No one is better equipped to do this than John Williams. As much an ambassador of the guitar as a player, he puts his commitment to new music for the instrument to good use here, the major dividend being the 'Koyunbaba' of Italian composer Carlo Domeniconi. Inspired by Turkish themes and landscapes, the four-movement suite employs an unusual C sharp minor tuning to haunting, original effect.
The 'Stele' of Australian Phillip Houghton are moody evocations of the Greek coastline and ancient monuments to gods, demons and sailors lost at sea, while the 'Epitafios' of Mikis Theodorakis eulogize the more recently departed with the direct simplicity of folk music. Rounded off with a suite of medieval tunes and a particularly successful arrangement of Satie's third 'Gymnopedie,' THE GUITARIST leads one down a darker, less traveled road full of drama and beauty.