More Guitar Reflections of Georges Raillard
Fading Sounds: Guitar Music of Georges Raillard David William Ross, guitar. Navona Records 6426 Total Time: 67:16 Recording: ****/**** Performance: ****/****
Five years ago, guitarist David William Ross put a survey of music by Swiss-born composer George Raillard (Navona 6071). That album featured ten works composed between 1999-2008. The engaging album was a fine introduction to Raillard’s lyrical writing and beautiful harmonic shifts that lay perfectly on the instrument. Those who enjoyed that earlier release will want to also seek out this latest collection which features a set of ten pieces composed over the last decade.
Seven of the pieces here are single-movement works with descriptive titles that provide a connection for the listener. Raillard tends to craft pieces that feel a bit stream-of-conscious that flow out in little episodic moments. That is the case for the opening work, Coastal Rhapsody (2014). He also likes to explore a specific atmospheric quality from time to time. Fading Sounds (2019) does this quite well with a meditation on harmonies that are allowed a natural decay thus using silence as an important compositional device as well. Short works like Cut Flowers (2017) and Lighthouse (2015) equally explore some performance techniques. The circling material of the latter is also a compositional component of Feverish Freezing (2019) with the final Alive (2016) providing some beautiful melodic ideas.
Three works feature multiple movements with the first continuing the naturalistic titles and musical reflections of the pieces here. In the Pine Wood (2012) does this in a more abstract way across five movements of meditative walking through a Mediterranean woods. In November: Winter Threat (2018), Raillard creates two contrasting movements that first focus on alternating harmony and then a sort of variation technique for the second movement. Stray Thoughts (2021), the most recent work on the album, continues this sort of episodic and random though processes that inspire the pieces. The final movement has a slight ethnic feel with slight references to Indian music.
Raillard’s music is cast in accessible musical language that invites the listener in with its welcoming harmonies. The episodic nature can also help to follow his reflections as the mind wanders along with his musical thoughts. Again, David William Ross proves a more than capable interpreter of these pieces which here feel a bit more diverse than the earlier album. Any of these would work on a program of other contemporary guitar works. The recording is gorgeous as well which highlights Ross’s performance and the communicability of this music. Fading Sounds is another fine release of Raillard’s guitar music worth tracking down. The album is available in a physical and downloadable format.