MUSIC ON SUNDAYS - SEPTEMBER 25th, 2011 at CHRIST CHURCH, CHICHESTER

A Recital by Students and Members of the WEST SUSSEX GUITAR CLUB presented by Alexander Levtov

This recital was a great advertisement for the healthy state of the West Sussex Guitar Club, which will shortly celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Performances by eight current students, and by tutors and experienced players, bore witness not only to excellent teaching standards, but also, judging by the atmosphere of this recital, to the obvious pleasure taken in being members of the club.

A commendable feature of the programme, which was entertainingly and (where required) sensitively compered by club director Sasha Levtov, was its great variety - with everything from Bach to Boulch to the Wizard of Oz! The high standards attained by students as young as twelve were in evidence from the start, as Emily Spirit gave a poetic account of a Gary Ryan piece. Each youngster performed well, particular highlights being the guitar AND flute playing of Zoe Barnett, and the well-known Villa Lobos E minor Prelude in which Patrick Sowden’s phrasing and tempo variations displayed a real feeling for the genre.

After the interval members and tutors gave us, if anything, even greater variety, with contributions from the Gala Guitar Quartet, a Bach solo prelude, and a self-accompanied Smuggler’s Song from Robin Smith. Particularly appealing among a raft of South American classics were pieces by Reis and Mochado, stylishly played by Camilla Hessenburg and Jeney Craven, and a difficult Barrios number, negotiated impressively by Linda Kelsall-Barnett.

PHIL JENKINS