September 18th Gary Ryan Masterclass

We had a great turn out for the third Gary Ryan Master Class Event last Saturday night! Delegates for the event included Jenny Wormald, Danny Kim and Rob Sellery. As you can see our resident waiter appeared to welcome everyone to the evening!!

Jenny started the evening with a great performance of the Siciliana by Messionier which Gary deconstructed and reconstructed with a great deal of humour and sensitivity. Jean Antoine Meissonnier a famous guitarist, was one of many music publishers who established a business in Paris in the early years of the nineteenth century. He was also on nodding terms with Carrulli and Fernando Sor. (We could speculate whether he was on nodding terms with Jenny although I have been brought up to understand that it is bad manners to ask a lady about her age!!). I couldn't find any more information about this composer so if any one out there in virtual BGS land has some information about the Siciliana to share I would be obliged.

Rob Sellery performed an intriguing, rather sinister piece called the Usher Waltz by Nikita Koshkin which placed high demands on the performer's skill. In his introduction Rob stated that the composer was influenced by the Edgar Allen Poe's story of the Fall of the House of Usher. The rather dark tones of the piece were definitely in keeping with mood of the story.

Wikipedia describes the piece as "Cast in a single movement, it is a motoric waltz whose careering harmonic progression around A minor threatens, and ultimately succeeds, in tearing the music apart. Its climax is an extraordinarily effective sequence of pounded right-hand chords, 'Bartok pizzicato' (where the strings are deliberately snapped back against the fingerboard), and then ghostly harmonics. Like much of Koshkin's work it has an immediate appeal to a wide audience who are both astonished at the visceral impact of the piece, and at the range of sounds coaxed from the guitar, which sounds "bigger than it really is" "

Finally, Danny Kim performed 'Evocacion' by Juan Luis Merlin. The piece was delightful and we were amazed to learn that Danny based his performance on a tablature arrangement. Gary's comments on this led to some interesting insights about the merits and demerits of using tablature for Classical guitar. It could be argued that while tabs are useful in demonstrating where fingering should be applied they can be limited in trying to convey important information to the performer about technique and dynamics. Yet this doesn't appear to affect performances by lutenists. What do you think?

It was another great evening full of good humour as well as being instructive to us all. Denis summed up the evening well when he said that he always learns something new about the guitar and performance technique whenever Gary runs one of these classes.

Special thanks should go to Denis for organising the evening and supporting the ensemble session earlier prior to Gary's arrival. And to Trevor for keeping us all fed and watered during the break.

See you all in October!!

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