Michael Partington Sunday 27th November 2005

Michael Partington Nov 2005

The Richmond Guitar Society presented a concert by Michael Partington at the Grove Garden Chapel Richmond on Sunday evening.

The concert began with a superb rendering of Manuel Ponce’s Sonata Mendionel. The subtle use of tone colour throughout gave us a foresight into the rest of the evening.

A complete change of mood as Michael introduced a piece written for him by a fellow native of Seattle. The fourth Stream was a suite of three movements based around the Jazz area of Seattle – Jackson Street. There was a definite hint of minimalism with a repeated pattern in the style of Philip Glass with a developing bass tune underneath. We were treated to some falling chords followed by a repeat of the minimalist theme before breaking into a jazzy solo that became more and more blues like as it developed.

Back to more recognisable ground in the next piece Nocturnal after John Dowland written by Benjamin Britten for Julian Bream is one of the more difficult well known guitar pieces of the twentieth century. The jerky fragmented phrases of the middle movements had us all on the edge of our seats until the welcome relief of Dowland’s tune arrived in the sixth movement to bring us all down to earth before the interval.

Piazolla’s four seasons followed with its echo’s of Buenos Aires in its different disguises and Michael’s playing certainly caught the spirit well.

Rodrigo’s dance suite written for Segovia would have been a fine ending to the evening’s concert with its echoes of Andalusia in the central Passacaglia.

But we were treated to an Encore in memory of Jimi Hendrix who, like Michael, spent his early life in Seattle and Sunday would have been his birthday. This was a piece written to suggest what Hendrix would have done with the classical guitar and as a real Hendrix fan I was happy just to enjoy the Experience.