Album Review – From Her Source To The Sea by Matthew Fish

 

Well this is the final album review of the year I for you today folks, and we’re wrapping up 2016 with a beautiful recording from US-based guitarist Matthew Fish.

This recording clearly demonstrates that Matthew is a very talented guitarist and musician. His biography is testament to this fact also, having received his Bachelor’s of Music Degree from CSU, Chico and then his Masters of Music in 2012 at the San Francis Conservatory of Music studying with Sérgio Assad.

Matthew is a strong supporter of new repertoire for the guitar and has premiered works by a number of contemporary composers. As well as his solo work Matthew is also a member of the San Francisco Guitar Quartet.

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This latest project of Matthew’s, released on 25th September – From Her Source To The Sea – is a recording comprised entirely of the works of Johannes Möller. It’s so great to see (and hear!) an album of this nature – Johannes has such a great collection of compositions, it’s fabulous to hear other artists, particularly talented up and coming young artists, pick them up, play them so beautifully and dedicate an entire recording to them. I just love this approach; a great in-depth study of one contemporary composer’s works. Bloody brilliant!

The track listing includes:

  • Song to the Mother
  • A Star in the Sky, a Universe Within…
  • From Her Source to the Sea (of which this is the world premier recording!)
  • 6 of the 24 Preludes, Op. 12 (of which these are also the world premier recordings!)
    • No. 3 in G Major
    • No. 5 in D Major
    • No. 7 in A Major
    • No. 8 in F# Minor
    • No. 12 in G# Minor
  • The Night Flame (another world premier recording!)
  • Nocturne Op.16, No.1 (and another world premiere recording, and this one was dedicated to Matthew by Johannes)
  • Ananda
  • Future Hope

This is an album that I don’t hesitate in believing that Johannes himself would be very proud of (and that Matthew should be proud too). Matthew’s playing is as virtuosic as any I’ve heard in recent times. He’s more than equipped technically to deal with the Johannes Möller repertoire. Absolutely fantastic playing, partnered with a very well produced recording.

He’s also clearly more than equiped with his sense of musicality to really bring Johannes’ music to life. My favourite track on the album would have to be a toss-up between The Night Flame and album opener Song to the Mother.

The Night Flame is a dramatic Indian-inspired piece of hearty length, and not an undertaking for the player of faint-heart! With the slow, gentle, lulling start to the piece Matthew, all beautiful ringing on cross-strings and introduction of the main melodic theme in a haunting fashion, underpinned by a pulsating Indian rhythm. Matthew builds the intensity throughout the piece, and creates the beautiful, shimmering illusion that he’s in fact playing a sitar rather than a Western classical guitar, and the build-up through the rasgueado section makes the hair on the back of me neck stand up! This piece is at once beautifully haunting and dramatically virtuosic.

Song to the Mother is played with a lush tone, both down in the lower positions and right up the top of the fretboard. Matthew delivers the piece with just a fabulous sense of timing throughout those divine phrases Möller has written. And I just love, love, love those little harmonic flourishes.

This album is an absolute must if you’re a fan of beautifully played, contemporary classical guitar. From Her Source to the Sea is expressive, beautiful, dramatic, inspiring. Matthew Fish is a classical guitarist to keep an eye (and ear on) for sure.

Details on where you grab your own copy of From Her Source to The Sea is on Matthew’s website: http://www.matthewfishguitar.com/recordings.html

And check out some of Matthew’s beautiful playing on YouTube too:

 

A New Project for 2017 – My First Book! And it’s Designed with You, Dear Readers, in Mind

 

Hello All! As I alluded to in my last blog post I have a bit of an exciting project underway. And let’s get real here, it won’t be late 2016 as I guessed it could be, timing-wise. Who am I kidding! Besides I want to do it properly as I’m working on it with you folks in mind. It will be something to look forward to in the New Year.

So what is it?! I hear you exclaim!

Alright, alright.

It’s a book!

Yep, a book. I’ve been writing the blog for so long now, and with so much material under the belt, and a wealth of learnings, knowledge and experience over the last five or so years (in addition to that that I started out with when I started the blog) that I thought I’d be daft not to really. That and I really like helping folks out, through the medium of the written word in particular.

So what will said book be about?

I don’t have a solid title for the book as yet (although have a few ideas floating around), but the book will be about injury and pain management and prevention for guitarists.

Why this particular topic?

As long-time readers of the blog will know I’ve been through somewhat of a journey myself with some really troublesome pains, aches and general niggles. And thankfully through that journey of exploration, talking with various professionals, medical and musical alike, I’ve now come through the other side to be able to play (and importantly, live my day-to-day life!) without those pains that once troubled me and seemed to be insurmountable at one point.

I’d like to gather everything together about that journey and my learnings and share with the whole wide world, with the aim of helping folks that might be going through the same or similar experiences.

The most popular blog posts, out of everything I’ve written over the last few years, are those about injury and pain management and prevention. I also still get a number of email questions (which I’m always happy to answer to the best of my knowledge, experience and ability by the way) on the subject too.

What better way to share than with a book?

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Yours Truly getting to work on the book!

When can I get my grubby, string-calloused guitar players mitts on this creation?

Oooh, I’ll have to keep you posted on that one in terms of exact timing, but at this stage I’m saying the first quarter of 2017.

And how do I get a hold of it? Will it be in my local bookstore?

At this point it will be available on Amazon, in Kindle eBook and paperback versions.

Keep an eye out on the blog for updates as I progress with the book – at the moment I have the contents page, rough layout and a rough draft of Chapter 1. I’ll keep you updated as to how things are going. And if there’s anything you’d like to read about, or for me to provide detail and guidance on in the book, I’m more than happy to consider all requests, thoughts and ideas (sensible ones, of course. Let’s not get silly, now!).

And another reason to keep an eye out on the blog is a newsletter that I’m considering kicking off in the New Year, along with some free stuff. Like I said, watch this space!

Ciao!

Nicole