Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Guitar in the home

THE GUITAR, that ideal instrument: wood, steel, brass; a body famously like a woman's; a voice capable of insinuating melody or resonant depth. No other instrument, barring the human voice, is so chthonic.

And the place to hear it is in camera, in a room, where its subtle richness is uncompromised by artificial amplification. Last night we heard it thus: friends gave a dinner musicale for thirty guests or so, having received the opportunity to do so in turn as a Christmas present -- from people who had in turn received a similar gift at their wedding.

A gift that continues to give, like music itself or, for that matter, the guitar. Talk about added value!

The guitarist was Gyan Riley, of whom we've heard so much lately. The son of Terry and Ann Riley, his face mediating theirs and their sweet expressions of ggod humor and intelligence, he plays with authority undamaged by excessive pride or vittuosity. He's there to serve the music, whether a Bach suite or Bonfa's "Black Orpheus" -- which supported a thoughtful, idiomatic improvisation.

He played music of his own,too, fascinating etudes investigating various technical challenges. I liked tham; occasionally they suggedted things he must have been exposed to growing up in a sophisticated, globally aware family: much more often they were quite himself, imaginative, accomplished, beguiling.

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