Review: Carlos Bonell at the Portsmouth Festivities

The audience at the closing concert of the Portsmouth Festivities was treated to an enchanting evening of music performed by the guitarist Carlos Bonell. The 15th Century Square Tower in Old Portsmouth was an ideal venue; the magically atmospheric guitar music and the drink from the bar conjured up memories of perfect summer evenings in sunny Spain.

Bonell played with passion throughout the concert and showed the wide range of different tone colour possible on a guitar in the hands of a skilled performer. He introduced each piece and shared some interesting facts about the historical background of the music.

The famous Adagio from the Concerto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo was performed with great sensitivity and Memories of the Alhambra by Tarrega demonstrated Bonell’s passionately lyrical phrasing.

To counterbalance the traditional guitar repertoire at the start of the concert, the second half demonstrated the crossover appeal of classical guitar.

Bonell’s own arrangements of the Beatles hits, Penny Lane and Here Comes the Sun, demonstrated his original approach. Fans of the TV series Inspector Morse would have been pleased to hear his arrangement of the theme tune for solo guitar. His arrangement of the first movement of Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was less successful, as this music written for bowed string instruments failed to sparkle with the different timbre of a guitar.

Thank you to Carlos for a memorable evening. This was the first time I have been to a guitar recital and I will be back for more!

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