Dreams & Fancies – English music for solo guitar

Reviewed on Fri 11 Aug, 2017

Works commissioned by Julian Bream constitute the greater part of the disc, the association with the 84-year-old virtuoso wholly flattering to the 25-year-old Sean Shibe, who reveals himself here as a musician of considerable intelligence possessed of impressive technical resources.

Dreams & Fancies, the solo debut on disc by young Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe, announces an exciting new talent. At its heart are a trio of lute miniatures by John Dowland treated to playing of poise, precision and poetry; Praeludium achingly poignant, Forlorn Hope Fancy a deft exercise in sinewy chromaticism and measured melancholy, Fantasia full of finessed variety. Works commissioned by Julian Bream constitute the greater part of the disc, the association with the 84-year-old virtuoso wholly flattering to the 25-year-old Shibe, who reveals himself here as a musician of considerable intelligence possessed of impressive technical resources. He proves himself nimble and well-proportioned in William Walton’s Five Bagatelles, their dedicatee, Malcolm Arnold’s Fantasy for Guitar adroitly pirouetting around a dancing Fughetta, Lennox Berkeley’s Sonatina richly mined for all its restrained expressiveness. Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal after John Dowland brims with character and lightly-worn technique. Excellent sound, focused and atmospheric, enhances the pleasure of an impressive debut.
–Michael Quinn