The Soldier's Return: Guitar works inspired by Scotland

Reviewed on Wed 10 Aug, 2016

James Akers plays period 'Romantic' guitars – one original from 1820 and two modern copies – skinnier in body with a slightly shorter scale length and lower string height than the familiar Spanish guitar.

For this recital of works by guitar composers of the early 19th century (Sor, Guiliani, Mertz and Legnani) James Akers plays period 'Romantic' guitars – one original from 1820 and two modern copies – skinnier in body with a slightly shorter scale length and lower string height than the familiar Spanish guitar. The bass strings are slightly less strongly defined, the resulting sound mellower than that of the modern instrument, appropriate for these mostly folk music-inspired tunes and variations. Although none of the composers appear actually to have ever visited Scotland, all things Scottish were then the rage: hence German Mertz (like Mendelssohn) gives us a fantasy on Fingal’s Cave, while Italian Giuliani sets various Scottish ballads, and Legnani (slightly more tenuously) offers inventive variations on arias from Rossini’s Walter Scott-inspired La donna del lago. Akers elicits a consistently beautiful tone from his guitars, closely but warmly and sympathetically captured by the Resonus recording.
–Mark Walker