Six Fish from the Australian guitar quartet Guitar Trek is a completely original, fresh and compelling album. It's on the Tall Poppies record label (also Aussie), coming to us from out of left field (which is our decidedly preferred field here at Expedition Audio).
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, Guitar Trek has dramatically expanded the possibilities of the traditional guitar quartet. They have done this from the beginning with their pioneering guitar family project, which saw the creation of a set of instruments somewhat analogous to the family of classical string instruments comprised of the violin, viola, cello and double bass. In addition to the standard classical guitar, Guitar Trek performs on treble, baritone and bass guitars - all acoustic instruments. They also make use of nylon or metal strings, 12-string instruments and the resonator guitar which is commonly associated with blues and bluegrass. The resulting, already rich palate of possibilities is further expanded by colorful techniques borrowed from flamenco and other guitar performance including string bending, sliding and rasping, and a variety of percussive sounds created by thumping and knocking the bodies of their instruments (if there are some guitarists out there who can correct the terms I've applied here, please leave a comment - for now, I'll have to call it "thumping").
The album takes its name from the set of short pieces, Six Fish by Nigel Westlake which endeavors to evoke in sound, qualities of six aquatic animals. Westlake is Australian, as are all of the composers represented here. The four musicians who make up Guitar Trek are Timothy Kain, Minh Le Hoang, Daniel McKay and Harold Gretton. Give a listen to our sample tracks. This is very interesting, often beautiful and powerful music. It's an absolute must for any player or fan of the acoustic guitar.
Guitar Trek started out in 1987 and broke new ground for the guitar, with their special “family” of standard guitars by Greg Smallman, treble guitars by Eugene Philp and Greg Smallman, and baritone and bass guitars by Graham Caldersmith. Having the range of instruments gives wonderful sonic possibilities. Since the beginning Guitar Trek has not only commissioned Australian luthiers to make these instruments but also commissioned and performed new works by Australian composers. This CD presents works by four composers who have featured in many of their concert programmes. Most works are receiving their world premiere recording on this CD. The production of this CD has been sponsored by the family of Edda Filson.
Australia’s great quartet Guitar Trek has delighted audiences around the world for over 25 years. With an ever- widening range of classical, popular, Spanish, South American and contemporary Australian works, the versatility of the guitar and the group’s unique guitar “family” are showcased to stunning effect in every performance.
Members: Timothy Kain, Minh Le Hoang, Daniel McKay, Harold Gretton
Nigel Westlake’s career in music has spanned more than 3 decades. He studied the clarinet with his father, Donald Westlake (principal clarinettist, Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1961-1979) and subsequently left school early to pursue a performance career in music. His interest in composition dates from the late 1970’s when he formed a classical/jazz-rock/world-music fusion band to play original music.
Originally trained as an artist, Houghton began music studies at the age of 20, receiving advice and encouragement from the late John Champ, one of Australias greatest pianists, music educator and radio broadcaster. Phillip studied classical guitar with Sebastian Jorgensen at the artists colony Montsalvat, in Eltham Victoria where he later lived and worked.
Richard is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading guitarist/composers. Born in the UK in 1955 he has lived in Australia since his parents emigrated in 1962. Largely self taught he initially started writing music to expand his own repertoire, but now his works have been performed and recorded by many leading Australian and international players and feature on more than 25 CDs.
As a composer, Martin Wesley-Smith’s main interests are computer music, audio-visual works and choral music, although he also composes chamber music, orchestral music, children’s songs, music theatre, and music for film, revue etc. He’s an eclectic composer at home in a diverse range of idioms.
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Nigel Westlake's Six Fish - Sling Jaw Wrasse (movement 4)