Matthew McAllister

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Recital is a CD where two musicians, Matthew McAllister (guitar) and Aisling Agnew (flute) play a very wide variety of music, from Bach (his sonata BWV1034) to very modern works by Dave Heath, Greg Caffrey and David Fennessy – with plenty of works in between! I found the whole CD quite enthralling, wonderful individual musicianship and yet quite obvious “togetherness”. It was simply amazing how much just these two instruments could achieve, and how much they could put over to the listener. To say it is worth listening to is putting it very mildly! Whether it is the variety of flute-playing demonstrated, or the continuo of the guitar (in the Bach sonata particularly), every note is well worth repeated playing!

I had never heard some of the modern works, but their impact is tremendous, whether it is the power of “Pluck, Blow” (Greg Caffrey) or the mystery of “Continuity Error “ (David Fennessy), and one can easily listen to “Gentle Dreams” (Dave Heath) again and again. These three form the middle part of the whole performance, after that we are back to more well-known music, a 
wonderful arrangement of “Carmen Fantasie” by Francois Bome, followed by Poulenc’s “Mouvements Perpetuels” and finally Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante defunte”. All in all a delightful programme, quite superbly played.

For an introduction to the wide variety of music played by just these two instruments, this CD is excellent in every aspect – thoroughly recommended.”

H L Foxworthy (President of the Forfar Arts Guild)

"Last night saw the final concert in the latest season of University evening concerts, presented by flautist Aisling Agnew and guitarist Matthew McAllister, a combination that never disappoint. Although their programme consisted of only four items, there was never any hint of the audience being short-changed. The content and diversity of each, and the style of performance, was extremely satisfying.

J.S.Bach flute sonatas, adapted for guitar accompaniment, are works that make the perfect entree to any concert. The sonata in E is fairly typical example, but its Andante stands out as a particularly beautiful movement, with a following Allegro that needed both players to be on their toes.
Aisling took the larger share of the technical challenges in Francoise Borne’s Carmen Fantasie, particularly the variations of the Habanera. This work is the perfect vehicle for a flautist of her stature, and although I had heard her perform it before, it was still as captivating.

An interesting contemporary work by Greg Caffrey, an Irish composer known to both players, started the second half of the programme. Pluck Blow demonstrates the extremes each instrument can achieve, at the same time giving each player a thorough examination, a test both emerged from with flying colours.

Astor Piazzolla’s works are becoming increasingly popular in concert programmes. I have heard some of his Histoire du Tango before but the work as a whole is superb. The composer’s metamorphosis of the tango from its early roots to its modern popularity is beautifully constructed and last night’s performance by the Agnew / McAllister duo was equally excellent.

The Chaplaincy Centre has had more than its fair share of excellent performances. This was another to add to the list, and it made a fine ending to an excellent series of concerts.”

Gary Fraser The Courier