lunedì 19 ottobre 2015

Review of Premieres by Hilary Field, Yellow Tail records, 2015

Hilary Field is a young, very talented and promising, American guitarist. This is not her debut album, already has to her credit several CDs devoted to ballads, lullabies and  Spanish and Latin music, but this Premieres is, in a sense, a maturity test. In this work, she  decided to play 19 tracks, all of contemporary composers. The names involved are different: Richard Charlton with its Latin Suites, Douglas Lora with Northeastern Lullaby, Jorge Morel Suite for Olga and Echoes Del Sur, with Alberto Cumplido’s Retrato Antiguo dedicated to John Dowland, the Damsel, a fantasy about a sepharditic lullaby by the same Field, Mimose by Victor Kioulaphides, Prelude and Baiser by Nadia Borislova, Berceuse Op. 56 Gerard Drozd and Reluctant Farewell by Rick Sowash.
Now. Records like this are not exactly new: it’s about time that classical guitar gets huge attentions by a large number of new composers and increasingly classical guitar players themselves decline willingly from the traditional role of interpreter to create their own passages, as it’s usual practice for acoustical and electric guitar players. The result is a hypertrophy of songs and musical productions, often interesting, well comped and well played. Maybe not all there new scores are exactly innovative, often, as in this case, most of them put their attentions on expression, color, melody and feeling more then looking for new  harmonic structures or distinct rhythms.
From this point of view Premieres is not an avangard record. Which doesn’t mean that this  is not a good record, or that the music is not interesting or that Hilary Field is not a good interpreter. Surely, I think, this is a much more sentimental, well played and very "hybrid" cd.
I use the term "hybridization" because I think it is the best way to define this music and because I find that terms like "crossover" and "globalization" have already made their time. Otherwise I can’t explain how an Australian composer (Richard Charlton) can compose a Latin Suite dedicated to Antonio Lauro. Or a Chilean composer (Alberto Cumplido) dedicate his work to John Dowland.

So I think we are living in times where we could not  wonder no more about  how a Japanese musician could play so well Western classical music or how a white guitar player could play a blues. Maybe because of globalization or the rapid deployment and generosity made possible by the Internet, but now we can’t longer hide ourselves anymore:  music, such as information,  has become liquid and every musical language, whether niche or belonging to a particular ethnic group, can be listened to, analyzed and integrated into other different languages without having to bother into particular literature, record or ethnological field searches. Every musician, every performer, every composer, in short everyone can or wants to make music has at its disposal the Babel’s Library  described by Borges with just a few clicks. I think this is good thing, then  time and our choices will define what to keep and what to leave in this huge incredible musical offer. Meanwhile, thank you very much Hilary, this is a good record.

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