Boyd Meets Girl
Boyd Meets Girl comprises the Australian guitarist Rupert Boyd and the American cellist Laura Metcalf. A self-labelled ‘happily married couple’, they play like one, with a harmony of purpose as sure as their intonation. Boyd is a fine guitarist; if he’s new to these pages, Laura Metcalf is no stranger to them, her ‘suave, experienced bow arm’ having gained Jed Distler’s approval last year (9/16). That right arm is the motor for a gloriously warm and rich tone, well suited to the repertoire on this superbly engineered debut album for the duo.
The bulk of the programme is made up of arrangements, all by Boyd and Metcalf themselves, some more intrusive to the originals – the Falla songs, which actually brush up rather nicely, and Fauré’s ubiquitous Pavane – than others. Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel acquires a greater warmth than usual from the duo and the four Bach Inventions work neatly as an impromptu suite. Piazzolla’s Café 1930 showcases their virtuosity in a different way, making a fine standalone tone poem, the cello’s darker colouring (the original is for flute) more atmospheric and contrasting the better with the guitar.
Ross Edward’s Arafura Arioso, the composer’s arrangement of the slow movement of his Guitar Concerto Arafura Dances (1994‑95), is a beautiful depiction of Australia’s northern sea. Bolivian-born Jaime Mirtenbaum Zenamon’s Reflexões No 6 (1988) is unobjectionable, its Vivacissimo finale unexpectedly dashing along in Villa-Lobos mode. The one disappointment is Radamès Gnattali’s Allegro comodo, not through any fault of the music or performance but because it is but the first movement of his Sonata (1969). Boyd and Metcalf feel it is the best movement and works better alone, but I’d like to hear the rest. There was room.