Well, I’m lucky enough this week to have another album from another up-and-coming talent on the classical guitar to review for you. Ahh, it’s a tough gig this one…
This time I have the debut album from Brooklyn, New York-based classical guitarist Michael Sheridan – Prelude. Interestingly, rather like Daniel Nisitco (who’s album I reviewed last week), Michael also crowdsource financed his debut through a Kickstarter project. He was, of course, successful in this, even managing to snag Andrew York as a backer. Nice! This was his Kickstarter page, in case you’re interested: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/370648847/michael-sheridan-music-for-solo-guitar
Michael has been playing guitar since the tender young age of 7, being largely self-taught and then guided later on in his learning career by Phil de Fremery (who himself studied with Segovia and Oscar Ghiglia).
The album is heavily tango, jazz and South American-style inflected and most definitely influenced by Michael’s relationship with the French composer-guitarist Roland Dyens, featuring two of his pieces (including the perennial favouriate Tango en Skai and Berceuse Diurne dedicated to Michael himself) and three others arranged by Dyens (Angel Villolodo’s El Choclo, Django Reinhardt’s Nuages and Carlos Jobim’s Felicidade).
Other works on the album include Villa-Lobos’ Choros No.1 (with a particularly beautiful middle section played here by Michael), an original by Michael called The Expatriates (demonstrating elegantly that he can write as well as play, with a piece that provides a thoughtful, melancholy contrast in the middle of the album to the more flamboyant and faster tempo tunes preceeding it).
Oh yes, and he also has some Bach on here too, with the Prelude from Cello Suite No. 3 – yes, an obvious choice when one is putting together an album of largely South American flavour, of course! Hah hah! And why not? Fantastic, I say! Michael clearly demonstrates that he is not a one trick pony, that he has the great technical facility required for a piece of this nature, but also – very importantly – the musical facility to really make the piece sing. Lovely work.
Above all else there is one thing in particular that this recording demonstrates and that is Sheridan’s passion for music and the guitar. This comes through very clearly and Michael has this in absolute spades. My particular favourite pieces on the album are El Choclo (just a great straightahead tango, played the way it should be with guts, gusto and panache), the Bach Prelude from Cello Suite No. 3 (for reasons cited above) and Dyen’s Tango en Skai – this has a great “grown up”, sultry quality to it and is a piece that Michael is obviously extremely at home with.
Michael Sheridan’s Prelude is available now for download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/prelude/id660302301
Check out the blog later in the week for a bit of a Q&A with Michael to find out a bit more about the man behind the music.
If you can’t wait until then, head on over to Michael’s website: http://www.michaelsheridanmusic.com