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Steven Allen Gordon

All Over the Map: Music for Solo Guitar and Solo Viola

Review by Gary Hill

I'm not sure if I'd consider this "all over the map." The vast majority of this is classical music. There is one bluesy rocking tune and one jazz based number. Beyond that, this is classical music. As the sub-title suggests, it's mostly solo guitar and solo viola. There are two songs that include piano, though. While this isn't really my kind of thing, I can appreciate the talent involved and I enjoy some of these pieces quite a bit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Electric Bach: Prelude in D Major (electric guitar) - J. S. Bach
As you might guess, this is quite a classical piece of music. It's quite pretty and intriguing.
Prelude No.1 in E Minor (classical guitar) - Heitor Villa-Lobos

I love the intricacies of this piece. It's another classical music guitar showcase.

Suite in D Minor for Solo Viola (Originally for Cello) Prelude - J. S. Bach

This is such an evocative piece of music.

Suite in D Minor for Solo Viola (Originally for Cello) Allemande - J. S. Bach
Continuing from the previous number, this has some exceptional melodic passages.
Suite in D Minor for Solo Viola (Originally for Cello) Courante - J. S. Bach
I love the technique and energy of this piece.
Suite in D Minor for Solo Viola (Originally for Cello) Sarabande - J. S. Bach
Quite sedate and packed with emotion, this is a powerful piece of music.
Suite in D Minor for Solo Viola (Originally for Cello) Menuete 1 and 2 - J. S. Bach

There is a decent range of mood and energy on this cut.

Suite in D Minor for Solo Viola (Originally for Cello) Gigue - J. S. Bach
Another beautiful and power classical piece on viola, this completes that part of the album.
Breaking Point (steel-string acoustic guitar) - Laurence Juber

A blues rocking number, this shows off quite a bit of guitar technique. It also manages to rock and still be intricate.

Prelude in E Minor (classical guitar) - Heitor Villa-Lobos

This piece seems a bit disconnected and sparse. It's still good, but not at the level of some of the rest here.

Ballad for Viola and Piano - Ralph Vaughn Williams (Jeremy Borum, piano)
Piano begins this piece. The viola joins to bring some powerful melodic elements to the proceedings. This piece evolves in some great way, with both piano and viola adding a lot of magic. This is arguably the strongest piece here. It reaches peaks that the others don't.
Capricho Arabe (classical guitar) - Francisco Tárrega
This is quite sedate and intricate.
Prelude in D Major (classical guitar) - J. S. Bach
I'm familiar with this piece. It's quite pretty, and this performance does it justice.
Vivo, con molto preciso for Viola and Piano (Movement Two, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra) - William Walton (Jeremy Borum, piano)
Another piece with viola and piano, this is more of a powerhouse. It is classical, but it also seems to show off some elements of jazz and even some progressive rock tendencies. There are things about this that make me think of Emerson, Lake and Palmer a bit.
Blues Intro (electric guitar) - Joe Pass

This is pretty much pure jazz. It has some classy guitar work built into it.

 
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