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October, 1997
Featured Artist

Allan Neave

"...the isle is full of noises..." ... NEW SCOTTISH MUSIC FOR THE GUITAR
...the isle is full of noises... "musicians such as Allan Neave have without a doubt ensured the future of the classical guitar"

"his sensitivity and fluency together with his seemingly innate musicality could not fail to make a lasting impression"

"simple and captivating lyricism"


    Edward McGuire
  1. Prelude No.5 9.06

    Alasdair Nicolson
  2. ...the isle is full of noises... 10.49

    Thomas Wilson
    Three pieces
  3. i Allegro molto 1.55
  4. ii Lento con espressione 1.48
  5. iii Moderato poco rubato 2.26

    Gordon McPherson
  6. Uncanny Valley 20.46

    Edward McGuire
  7. Homage to Rodrigo 7.00

    Peter Maxwell-Davies Two Pieces
  8. Yesnaby Ground 2.48 with Tom Kerstens, guitar
  9. Farewell to Stromness 4.40

Tom Kerstens
John Taylor

John Taylor

Executive Producers
Philip Castang
Tom Kerstens

Recording Dates
8-9 January and 13 May 1997
in the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, Weston, Herts.

Photography and Cover Design
Clare Skeats
Rachel Godfrey
Bath Spa University College

State of the Art Productions, London

Translations - [available on the liner notes] Anya Bourke (Italian & French)
John Harrison (German)
Lady Anna Maria Carroll (Spanish)

With the financial assistance of:


Allan Neave

Thomas Wilson (b.1927) ---
Three Pieces for Guitar (1961)

These pieces are Wilson's 1st works for guitar. Originally they were better known on the continent than here, having been published and frequently performed there, but in more recent years they have become widely known here.

Musically, the Three Pieces are short, but serious in intention. The first (Allegro molto), is a moto perpetuo in which an overall scherzo character occasionally erupts into moments of aggression. Gradually, however, the momentum of the music loses it's edge, and the piece ends quietly and rather enigmatically. The second piece, (Lento, con espressione) is more Iyrical and song-like, while the third, (Moderato, poco vibrato), uses a freely poetic almost recitative style.
© Tom Wilson, 1997

Gordon McPherson (b. 1965) ---
Uncanny Valley (1995)

The original starting point for this solo guitar work began whilst discussing with a friend my rather strange phobia. The term phobia is perhaps rather strong, but it goes a long way to describe the uneasiness I feel when confronted with certain types of animation - stop frame animation being a particularly disturbing example.

My friend went on to explain the fascinating research done by a certain Professor Masahiro Mori at the Tokyo Institute of Technology which suggested that this uncomfortable concern was not entirely personal. His research discovered that, when confronted with images varying from basic shapes/inanimate objects to more lifelike/ advanced prosthetics, a subjects graphically displayed responses showed that the more lifelike the image the greater the subjects acceptance of it, until however the point where the image could no longer be distinguished between real and simulation. At this strange juncture of perception the graph would suddenly dip. In the typically beautiful way that Japanese sometimes translates, this dip was called "The Uncanny Valley" - the point where the mind will not accept an image that seems so confusingly real.

Although this work is not an attempt to transcribe this into a direct musical form, this way of thinking colours the whole reasoning of the piece, as by way of writing, it evolves in a manner which suggests an inanimate object, say a guitar, "becoming aware", from simple harmonic passages to outlandish virtuosity.
© Gordon McPherson 1995.

"Uncanny Valley" was commissioned by the Dundee Guitar Festival Society, with a financial subsidy from the Scottish Arts Council, and is dedicated with thanks, to Allan Neave.

Alasdair Nicolson (b.1961) ---
...the isle is full of noises...

This work was written during the Summer of 1996 and completed whilst I was teaching on the Young Composers Course on the island of Hoy, Orkney. To some extent, being on the island brought together a lot of musical ideas with which I'd been toying and, indeed, allowed me to distil and purify some others. Hoy is a strangely haunting place and I was able to experience moments of intense stillness and silence alongside tempestuous weather with wild wind and rain and even the shipwreck of my host's boat. All this pointed towards the quote, which I have used as the title, which comes from Shakespeare's play The Tempest. The piece has the feeling of a lullaby albeit that there is a fantastical faster section in the middle. I was keen to explore the idea of single lines on the guitar and to activate natural aural resonances and therefore to imply harmony rather than to create dense chords.

"Be not afeared: the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand "wangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak'd
I cried to dream again."
Alasdair Nicolson 1996.
Commissioned by Allan Neave with subsidy from the Scottish Arts Council.

Peter Maxwell-Davies ---
Yesnaby Ground and Farewell to Stromness

Farewell to Stromness and Yesnaby Ground are both short pieces from The Yellow Cake Review, a sequence of cabaret-style numbers protesting against uranium mining in the Orkney islands. The Revue was first performed at the St. Magnus Festival, Orkney, by Eleanor Bron, with the composer at the piano, in June 1980.

Edward McGuire (b. 1946) ---
Prelude 5 (1981) and Homage to Rodrigo (1996)

Written in 1981 Prelude 5 represents Edward McGuire's first piece for the guitar. The work was commissioned by Scottish guitarist Philip Thorne and is part of a series of short characteristic pieces for various instruments. (To date the composer has written 17 such preludes, the most recent being for French Horn.) The guitar prelude has strong tonal and minimalist influences, exploiting gradually changing note-clusters against more dramatic passages, together with hints of Gaelic and popular music.

The work was awarded a medal from the Concours de la Guitare, Paris in 1982.
Note by Allan Neave.

Homage to Joaquín Rodrigo - Edward McGuire (commissioned 1996) by The Bath International Guitar Festival. The music of my 'Homage' conveys a warm tribute to the long creative life of a master. It celebrates his style and while not quoting any of his music, hopefully carries the vivacity of his spins. As a flute player, I admire his flute concerto so not only guitar music has inspired my new piece. Celtic and Iberian rhythms and motifs are wedded here - they were never far apart anyway!

© Edward McGuire 1996

The assistance of the Scottish Arts Coucil is gratefully acknowledged for "Homage to Rodrigo" and McGuire's other commissioned works.

Thomas Wilson was born in America, but settled in Scotland at an early age. A graduate of Glasgow University, he taught there and was given a personal Chair in 1977. He has held executive positions with many organizations, including the Arts Council and the Composers Guild of Great Britain, and is a founder member of the Scottish Society of Composers. His huge list of works have been performed throughout the world, including a recently completed Guitar Concerto, and in 1990 he was awarded a CBE.

Glasgow born
Edward McGuire studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music and with Swedish composer Ingvar Lidholm in Stockholm. His violin piece Rant won a competition to find a test piece for the 1978 Carl Flesch International Violin Competition. Recent works include the highly acclaimed Peter Pan for Scottish Ballet and A Glasgow Symphony for the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. He has been a featured composer at many festivals, including the International Guitar Festival at Bath in 1996, and is also renowned as a flutist with the successful folk group The Whistlebinkies.

Gordon McPherson was born in Dundee and is a leading figure in the younger generation of Scottish composers. He studied at the Music Department at the University of York returning there to complete his Doctorate. His music has won awards and been frequently performed and broadcast in the UK and abroad. Recent works include On E (1994) commissioned by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the large scale Handguns: A Suite (1995) and a new study test piece for the 1997 International Guitar Festival at Bath. He has recently become associated with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he teaches composition.

Alasdair Nicolson was born in 1961 in Inverness and brought up on the Isle of Skye and the Black Isle He studied music at Edinburgh University and later became Shaw McFie Lang Fellow there working in composition and music theatre. He has written music for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Platform Ensemble, Joanna MacGregor and Oystein Birkeland amongst others. In 1993 he was awarded the IBM Composer's Prize for his work The Tree of Strings. In 1996 there are premieres of new works for the BBC SSO, the Emperor String Quartet and the St Magnus Festival. Nicolson has a strong commitment to promoting new music and co-founded Platform Festival in London in 1991. He is currently writing an opera for Opera Circus.

Allan Neave is one of Britain's outstanding young guitarists. After studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music, he has achieved great renown and critical acclaim as both performer and educator. He is presently on the teaching staff at the RSAMD, a visiting artist at the Birmingham Conservatoire and is invited regularly to all the leading teaching schools throughout Europe.

A prizewinner at major international competitions, he performs at many of the world's leading festivals, having recently given a Royal Gala Performance, and hugely successful debuts at the Tychy Guitar Festival, Poland, the International Artists Series, Holland and the Bath International Guitar Festival. With a growing reputation as a champion of contemporary music, which has created significant interest and an enthusiastic following, he has commissioned and premiered works by composers such as Stephen Dodgson, Alasdair Nicolson, Edward McGuire and Gordon McPherson.

Alongside Radio France and Classic FM, Allan broadcasts regularly for the BBC, and is a recording artist for BGS records.

To obtain a copy of "...the isle is full of noises..." please contact
Soundworld Distribution
10 Baddow Road
tel 01245 353878
Fax 01245 352490
The CD sells for £14.95 sterling and in the USA about $20

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