SALINAS Danzas Peregrinas GOSS Guitar Concerto EDWARDS Arafura Dances
Those of us who remember John Williams’s frequent collaborations with the Chilean group Inti-Illimani will recall the energy and obvious affection the musicians exhibited onstage. In Danzas peregrinas, the group’s original music director and main composer Horacio Salinas has taken some of Inti-Illimani’s best-loved dances and formed an equally amiable suite, somewhat reminiscent of Rodrigo’s Fantasia for a Gentleman, for three soloists and orchestra. By contrast, the Australian composer Ross Edwards’s Arafura Dances for guitar and string orchestra bookends an exquisite ‘Arafura Arioso’ with two of his maninya dances, the whole redolent of the vibrant flora and fauna of Australia’s coastal Top End. Guitarist and composer Stephen Goss’s Guitar Concerto is different again, its three movements respectively inspired by the music of North America, England and Latin America.
Featuring Williams, Horacio Durán on charango (an Andean ukulele-like instrument) and Richard Harvey on various wind instruments including the Andean kena and sicus, Danzas peregrinas is a riot of movement and colour leavened by lyrical episodes such as the gentle ‘Preludio’ for guitar and cello alone, and the lyrical ‘Palimpsesto’, primarily for solo clarinet with guitar accompaniment. And if the warmth and melancholy of Edwards’s often spare, angular writing proves an economical evocation of greens, ochres and turquoises, Goss’s expertly orchestrated gear-changes from bustling, jazz-fuelled energy to Elgarian nostalgia to vigorous Latin rhythms is a veritable roller-coaster ride. Performances are impeccable throughout, with Williams, ably supported by the ECO and RPO under Daniel, as technically and musically provocative as ever.