Matthew Marshall: Fragments (Rattle)

 |   |  1 min read

Desdemona's Song (Lilburn)
Matthew Marshall: Fragments (Rattle)

The Rattle label has recently brought back to attention some of the avant-garde music made in New Zealand in the Eighties.

But this one from recordings in Radio NZ's archives is very different, although equally welcome.

These solo, acoustic guitar pieces by Matthew Marshall were all recorded in the mid-Nineties and they are of works by New Zealand composers from the Fifties to that time, and include pieces by John Ritchie, David Farquhar, Douglas Lilburn, Kenneth Young, Anthony Ritchie, Gary Wilby and Christopher Norton.

The album title is telling because some of these pieces are much like that, or are miniatures, as with the three-part Seventeen Pieces section written by Lilburn (total playing time about 25 minutes) and John Ritchie's' three brief Whimsies inspired by lines from Shakespeare.

This is not to dismiss them because even in their brevity there is a fine focus, notable in the Three Sad Waltzes by Young which pack melancholy into just a few minutes.

And make Anthony Ritchie's equally brief Melancholia seem positively upbeat in its first third.

Farquhar's Musette from '51 is a much more poised and stately piece, and by Marshall's account the first recognised guitar composition by a well-known New Zealand composer. And John Ritchie's Album Leaves is a delightful, almost Elizabethan piece with some wry whimsy.

Norton's sprightly Harry's Rag at the end is a cheery folk tune (with chimes and a smart bass line keeping the pulse) and takes out this collection with a skip in its step.

More than just an archive reissue, these serious sessions were a springboard for classical guitarist Marshall who went on to commission and perform works for the instrument by local composers . . . and here promises more to come.

You can hear and buy this album through the Rattle website here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Cultural articles index

RIENZI IN ROME: The man, the madness and the music

RIENZI IN ROME: The man, the madness and the music

Rome hadn't seen anything like him before, this strutting little fanatic who was so gifted with words he could move a crowd to mass action. A born propagandist, he was often invited into the... > Read more

DAMIEN HIRST: THE DOLLARS AND SENSE

DAMIEN HIRST: THE DOLLARS AND SENSE

Say what you like about British artist Damien Hirst, and everyone from international art critics to London cabbies do, he certainly pulls a crowd. At the Tate Modern in London, the queue of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ANOTHER SPIN OF HISTORY'S WHEEL (2020): Music in the time of solitude

ANOTHER SPIN OF HISTORY'S WHEEL (2020): Music in the time of solitude

About 140 years ago when Thomas Edison made a machine which captured sound he initially thought it could preserve the grand statements and speeches of great men. But he quickly realised –... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN on the bard of the public bar

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN on the bard of the public bar

“The stage is good . . . it’s part of my page”. Somewhere, in one of the many clips of Sam Hunt coming off stage that flicker through the DVD The Purple Balloon And Other... > Read more