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Richard Durrant - The No 26 Bus to Paraguay (Longman)

Star rating: 
3

This instrumental album release by guitar virtuoso Richard Durrant celebrates the music of Paraguayan composer and guitarist Agustín Barrios Mangoré. With eleven carefully chosen pieces Durrant presents an album of personal favourites from the Barrios canon, each played with astonishing dexterity and virtuosity. Named after the bus that would take the young Durrant to his weekly guitar lessons in Hove, the THE NO 26 BUS TO PARAGUAY provides the soundtrack to those formative years, where Barrios' compositions would be tackled by young fingers eager to explore the dusty end of the fret board, whilst examining old original wax cylinder recordings. Referring to the compositions as 'infectious and charismatic' Durrant plays each of the compositions live, sometimes in front of friends and neighbours. Devoid of any studio trickery, this album comes across as pure as you are likely to get. Highly personal and interpretive, the pieces each bear a significance to the guitarist such as the inclusion of Gavota al Estilo Antiguo, Durrant’s audition piece for the Royal College of Music; Danza Paraguaya, the piece that first introduced the work of this composer to the young Durrant and Un Sueno en la Floresta, which Durrant refers to as 'the most tactile guitar piece I know'. Dedicated to Betty Durrant, the mother from whom the guitarist obtained his first Barrios record, this album not only serves as a fascinating introduction to the work of one of the world's greatest guitar composers but also an intriguing piece of contemporary interpretation of timeless music.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky