Redmond O’Toole, the guitarist with the unusual 8 string Brahm’s Guitar, adapted by Paul Galbraith, direct from his recent success, was an excellent substitute at Christ Church Cathedral, due to the cancellation of their organ recitals.
O’Toole has toured with The Chieftains, as well as maintaining a full classical programme. He took to the restored stage at the Cathedral full of confidence and his introductions were erudite and entertaining.
He uses a basic amp system to amplify the sound, not to enhance the style and his use of the cello position adds another touch to confident playing. Opening with some lute tunes transposed for this guitar, a Dowland Lachrimae Pavanne – a sad but stately dance and a fine J. S. Bach Sonata in four short but expressive movements.
Research into the work of the 1890s operativ guitarist, Mauro Giuliani, led O’Toole to discover and revive interest in a series of Irish Airs. Robin Adair moved into the well-known Garryowen (featured in lots of Cavalry movies as well as Night In A Museum 2, and Spielberg’s, Always).
But it was in the Spanish selection that he featured before at this venue, that O’Toole shone. Suite Castillana from Torroba, had a passionate Fandanguillo, a sustained and beautiful Arada (reminded me of Cavatina) and a call, echo, recall with Danza.
His mastery of Albeniz’s Asturias, from Suite Espagnola, was a dramatic closer with a wonderful under current of hypnotic music.
O’Toole is working on a three-year development bursary from the Arts Council to arrange and perform six J. S. Bach pieces. Here’s hoping he includes Waterford on that tour.