boyd meets girl

In their latest CD, Rupert Boyd pairs up his guitar to the cello of Laura Metcalf. It is a musical match made in Heaven.

Reflexões No. 6 by Bolivian-born composer Jaime Zenamon is a three-part miniature for cello and guitar that announces its South American provenance in the first few bars of its first movement. Boyd and Metcalf play it with gusto and flair. Gabriel Faure’s Pavane. Op. 50 is next and played elegantly:

Boyd and Metcalf are purposeful musicians ideally equipped to tackle the severe intricacies of J.S. Bach’s two-part inventions, nos. 6, 8, 10 and 13. Originally written for the keyboard, the inventions are here divided up (left hand to the guitar, right hand to the cello) with unexpectedly felicitous sonorities.

Aratura Arioso, a work adapted by Australian composer Ross Edwards from his own concerto for guitar, is a a calmly evocative piece, sensitively delivered here by the Boyd-Metcalf duo.

A lively South American composition, Allegretto Comodo, by Brazilian composer, Radames Gnattali again evidences the artists’ penchant for the music of the Southern Hemisphere. It is later followed on the CD by Cafe 1930, a plangently moody piece by Astor Piazzolla.

I have heard the Siete Canciones Populares Españolas by Manuel de Falla played by any number of instrumental combinations in quite a variety of arrangements, and I was sure I was not going to like once more the absence of the lyrics De Falla assigned to what is essentially a set of folk songs.

But, as I listened to Boyd and Metcalf, I was won over by their way with the music and ended up immensely enjoying the seven songs that make up the little cycle.

Arvo Pärt ‘s Spiegel im Spiegel takes the duo far afield from their largely Romantic recital. It is a deceivingly simple composition based on a series of ascending and descending figures taken up by the solo cello while the guitar accompanies it with arpeggio chords. The overall effect is hauntingly hypnotic.

The album ends with Michael Jackson’s Human Nature. It is not the sort of composition one would expect to keep company with Bach, de Falla et al, but he Boyd-Metcalf duo accords it the same impeccable treatment that it gives to the rest of the music in the album.

The album (SONO LUMINUS DSL-92217) has been neatly packaged, accompanied by insightful notes by both the artists, and flawlessly engineered by Daniel Shores.