Matthew McAllister

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"Unusual for early October, the weather was very hot with daytime temperatures well into the mid 20s and very warm nights. On such an evening many turned out to see the first concert of the season given by Matthew McAllister. We have had performers from all over the world come to play for the club, but this is probably the first time we have a Scot come to play. Matthew travelled down from Glasgow to play for us.

Matthew’s easy going and friendly manner really brought the audience into his music. The first half of the programme was devoted to Baroque music which ranged from Scottish lute music to J.S Bach (a cello suite) and included some Weiss and a lament written by Neil Gow. All of the music was played with great sensitivity and covered a wide dynamic range so that even the guitar whispers of ppp could be heard at the back of the hall. However, conversely, Matthew with his Bert Kwakkel guitar, was capable of producing some very powerful sounds when required.

The second half covered more modern music and included Brouwer’s Suite no.2 which he wrote while still a teenager. This was followed by a most poignant rendition of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Farewell to Stromness with some wonderful ‘Scottish snaps’. We heard a very sensitive rendition of Anon’s Romanza which although played by many aspiring guitarists, never has the feeling that Matthew managed to project. More challenging pieces of Julia Florida by Barrios and Asturias by Albeniz completed the formal part of the programme.

Very enthusiastic applause was rewarded with Matthew showing his versatility by playing US jazz guitarist Ralph Turners version of Always on your Side. This concluded a most enjoyable start to the season.”

Terry Woodgate (Chairman West Sussex Guitar Club)