I have been fortunate yet again, dear readers, to have the enormous pleasure of listening to and reviewing for you a fantastic recording, this time by award-winning guitarist/composer Hilary Field.
This recording features world premiere music by contemporary composers that celebrates the natural lyrical, rhythmic and harmonic beauty of the classical guitar. It features contemporary pieces, some of which have been dedicated to Hilary, from Richard Charlton, Douglas Lora, Jorge Morel, Alberto Cumplido, Victor Kioulaphides, Nadia Borislova, Gerard Droza, Rick Sowash and Field herself.
In the recording’s creation, Hilary worked closely with each of the respective composers to expand the guitar literature – a huge plus point for me and something I think that more classical guitarists should be venturing to do. So first “well done” on that Hilary, as far as I’m concerned!
And for those of you not familiar with Hilary, she’s a Seattle, Washington based guitarist and composer and has garnered praise for her dynamic virtuosity, her sensitive musicianship, and for the emotional depth she brings to the heart of classical guitar music. Hilary is a past winner of the Northwest Young Artist Series Competition and was the first guitarist to win the Francis Walton Soloist Competition. She has held faculty positions as the head of the Guitar department at Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University. She has released several award winning CDs, including her debut recording, “Music of Spain and Latin America,” which was an award winner for Classical Album of the Year by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. Hilary was recently sponsored by the US Embassy to perform and tour in South America, and has been a featured performer in international guitar festivals such as Festival Entrecuerdas in Chile, Festival Internacional de Guitarra ICPNA in Perú, and Série Grands Concerts in Québec.
On first listening, aside from I’m struck by the quality of the playing, depth of musicality and great selection of newer pieces.
The Giga from Jorge Morel’s Suite for Olga could well be my favourite from the 19 individual tracks on the album – sprightly, fun and stunningly played. Controlled abandonment, if that makes sense?! I could hear that in lesser hands this could get out of control! Clear and precise lines, yet with a tangible sense of enjoyment in the playing and unwaveringly beautiful tone throughout. A really lovely closing piece to this great three piece suite from Jorge Morel.
Richard Charlton’s Lauro-inspired Vals by Moonlight from the Suite Latina and Douglas Lora’s Northeastern Lullaby are also worth a mention, with the former creating somewhat of an earworm for me. I want to play it for myself now – there’s a real inspirational quality to Hilary’s playing that I’ve not experienced for a while with a recording.
And I can’t overlook the opportunity of course to mention Hilary’s own piece Donzella: Fantasia on a Sephardic Lullaby. A heavenly melancholy delight. And you can take a listen (and watch) for yourself right here…..
Overall Premieres is a high quality recording – superb playing with beautiful depth of tone, excellent production and a great collection of contemporary classical guitar pieces (something we definitely need more of out there). A highly recommended recording, and quite possibly one of my favourites for the year. Very well done indeed.
And if you want to catch Hilary in person she’s currently scheduling a number of release concerts and will be featured in a number of upcoming international guitar festivals – check out her website for more details: www.hilaryfield.com