Jorge Morel’s stellar arrangements of three songs from West Side Story really capture every aspect of the original to the extent that one very kind gentleman on hearing the three performed in concert stated that I sounded like an orchestra. Jorge’s original composition Danza Brasilera is a testament to everything I love about South American guitar music; the passion, the rhythms, the delight in the making of music.
Remarkably each piece Ben writes is different from the last. He is always seeking a new and fresh way to look at the guitar and the four pieces collected here are no exception.
Prelude and Wedding Dance is especially extraordinary; the tuning alone means you have to relearn the instruments fingerboard before you can start practising the fiendishly hard scale passages. But this dedication is rewarded as every bar of the piece is overflowing with the exuberance and love Ben has for the guitar and his wife. It is my favourite track on the CD and a real joy to perform.
I first met Ben Verdery at a master class in 2000. He invited me to Maui the following year and I had the time of my life. I started work on three pieces from his “Some Towns and Cities” and then subsequently Prelude & Wedding Dance. Ben dedicated the piece to his wife Rie and amongst the juxtaposition rhythms you can hear scenes from their wedding.