Playing new music is a voyage of discovery, an unpredicatable and exciting journey, and this is what informed my choices for this CD. Each work has its own particular language, pacing and personality: the four stark snap-shots of Black Venus; the angular, fragmented energy of Elliot Carter's Shard; the controlled passion of Pete Wyer's flap; the delicate long lines of Michael Zev Gordon's Bells, Lachrimae and Stillness.
I am always fascinated by the story behind each piece of music, sometimes explicit, sometimes hidden. Peter Sculthorpe recreates the empty stillness encountered on a walk in the Australian landscape, Gilbert Biberian evokes the enigmatic beauty of Japanese haiku, and Phil Cashian is inspired by Scandinavian winter landscapes in Talvi.
I am especially fond of Takemitsu's Equinox. Its expressive power belies its length and it is a work I never tire of performing.
All of the works here are well-crafted, idiomatic pieces that demonstrate the variety of textures, techniques and colours of the guitar. This collection alone shows how diverse new music for guitar is; and it is an area I have only begun to explore.
“James's musicality is as highly developed as her ability to structure a programme, her considerable technique employed as a tool first to discover, and then to reveal, the particulars and universals in each work without ignoring either heart or head. An auspicious solo debut.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2007