Julian Bream - Guitar Recital

Previously unavailable BBC recordings prove to be a sheer delight

Author: 
William Yeoman

Julian Bream - Guitar Recital

  • (3) Sonatas and 3 Partitas, Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004, Chaconne
  • Introduction and Variations on a theme by Mozart
  • Sonata for Guitar
  • (The) Blue guitar
  • String Quartet No. 9

The last time I heard Julian Bream live was in Australia in the late ’80s. Following a break in the programme a member of the audience yelled out, in true ocker fashion, ‘Stairway to Heaven!’ Seemingly offended, Bream said ‘I beg your pardon?’ before breaking into a grin. It’s just this sense of mock-seriousness that makes the spectacularly witty performance (by Bream and his old sparring partner John Williams) of the Duo in A by Schubert (Bream’s transcription of the String Quartet, D173, for two guitars) such a delight and worth the price of this disc alone. As on their previous ‘Together’ albums for RCA, both guitarists manage to reconcile their very different styles to deliver the musical goods in abundance. Not that there aren’t many other reasons for this new collection of previously unavailable BBC recordings to be considered an essential purchase.

Like the 1956 studio recording of a youthful Bream working himself into a frenzy with Turina’s Sonata. Or the first broadcast performance of Tippett’s The Blue Guitar, a piece never commercially recorded by Bream and here receiving a reading notable for the range of hues employed – worthy of both Wallace Stevens and Picasso. Then there’s a 1975 performance of the Bach Chaconne, the architecture beautifully explicated, the delivery replete with rhetorical flourishes albeit lacking the rhythmic subtlety of Bream’s 1994 EMI recording. And the only recording on the disc before a live audience, Fernando Sor’s variations on Mozart’s ‘O cara armonia’, shows Bream at his spontaneous best, exhibiting the same wit and sparkle present in the Schubert. Add to all this a booklet containing a recent interview with Bream wherein he discusses each item in the programme and you have one of Testament’s finest releases to date.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019