John Williams

MICHAEL DRAKE Norfolk and Norwich Festival event at the John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park


What a cracking start to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival by a man who once again demonstrated that he is a consummate artist.

The degree of dynamic control John Williams has over the instrument is quite remarkable. In the Bernard Matthews-sponsored recital last evening, its versatility led to a virtual world tour of guitar music.

Mr Williams is also a musical communicator – more than helpful in his introductions – in caressing the guitar, which responds to his touch with the most evocative sounds whether from Paraguay, Spain, Australia, Turkey or elsewhere. From the spacious gentility of the opening Paraguayan La Catedral to the fast-moving Venezuelan encore via an Aborigine song, this was a fascinating journey through a number of cultures reflected in music written or arranged for the instrument.

It encompassed baroque dances and lyrical subtlety and while it is a little unfair to highlight any of the wide range of pieces, I was particularly taken by Albeniz's Cordoba, in which the colour of the city and its religious mix of earlier times, both in and out of the famous Mesquita, were portrayed spectacularly.

Fast, but so rhythmic, waltzes from South America prefaced the transition from similar dances of the mid-1800s to the more energetic style of the 20th century.

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