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A pleasing review of our concert at the Brighton Music Festival in 2001

The Cambridge Guitar Orchestra gave an impressive programme to one of the largest audiences I've seen for a long time, at St Nicholas Church, just up the hill from the beach.

But let's rewind....Back in the Church, the Concert opened with the 19-strong Orchestra playing a suite of Renaissance Dances by Attaignant.

The Orchestra has one requinto and 2 basses, and the sound was mellow. Andrew York's 9-part Attic was next, and the soft discords rippled gloriously in the reverberant church.

Corelli's Concerto Grosso Number 3 was beautifully played, with the 16 players in the "orchestra" supporting and never clouding the 3 "soloists". Of course, the similarities of tone colour between the solos and the accompaniments made this piece a little less effective than the original would have been.

Three pieces from Ravel's Ma Mere l'Oye came next, and very effective these were indeed...They closed the first half with Eriksson's arrangement of Piazzolla's Adios Nonino, and I detected a very different style of arranging from Peter Rueffer's own; Eriksson made good use of the tenor section to carry a warm set of phrases that were underneath the accompanying chords, and it proved very effective.

The second half saw the CGO play Debussy's La Soiree dans Grenade and conclude with Branco Styosin's "So Lovely". Stoysin is a jazz guitarist, living about 5 miles from where I used to live, and the piece begins with a 7/4 section in harmonics. This piece is a trademark piece of the CGO they received a personal copy of the music, and it's on the two tapes of them that I have. A super piece!

Of course, since I'm involved with the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra, it was a busman's holiday for me to hear another Orchestra up close, but they are good. The CGO are very good! Their tone was quite unlike any other ensemble I've heard.

Derek Hasted

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