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.
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)
- 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: