Tony McManus,
Mysterious Boundaries
(Greentrax, 2013)

Anyone with the slightest interest in hearing good music will love this album. Seldom have hands, strings and wood come together to produce such a wonderful melodious and enchanting 46 minutes of sound.

Tony McManus is best known for his interpretation of Celtic music on the guitar, and he has an enviable pedigree in this field. Not one to rest on those well-deserved laurels, he has sought new musical challenges -- Mysterious Boundaries is the result.

Having heard a piece by Bach played on a mandolin, McManus was intrigued and wondered how classical pieces might translate to guitar. His opening piece, "Les Barricades Mysterieuses," was originally written for harpsichord; it's a wonderful introduction, and he uses the same piece to close the album, this time on baritone guitar.

In between he takes on pieces by Bach, Monteverdi and others, and he shows us in no uncertain terms that the guitar is an instrument well suited to produce any composition -- in the right hands of course. Titles such as "Goldberg," "Nigra Sum" and "Chaconne" will probably be more familiar to classical music enthusiasts, but that must not deter you from giving this collection a close listen. You will be rewarded. Likewise the coterie of classical buffs could do very well to seek out this album to hear beautifully rendered fresh interpretations of tunes that may have grown a little too familiar.

This is an unusual crossover album that delivers.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

17 August 2013

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