Dance First

Amanda Cook Recital 2020

Read about Amanda Cook's live recital, just before lockdown.

Amanda is a very good friend of the club and no stranger to our stage. She began playing the guitar at the age of seven under the tutelage of Sasha. She continued her studies at the Royal College of Music under Charles Ramirez  and Gary Ryan and later in New York with Ben Verdery. She has given concerts in the USA, South America and throughout Europe. In addition to solo concerts Amanda is a member of the critically acclaimed Vida Guitar Quartet. She has sat on the jury for several International Competitions including the 2015 GFA in Oklahoma. She also kindly adjudicated for our under 18 guitar section at the recent Chichester Festival.

Amanda demonstrated her versatility on the instrument by playing a wide range of music – some unfamiliar but immediately likeable. The concert began with two short early pieces

A Fancy by John Dowland and a Fantasie by Weiss - both superbly executed. This was followed by a Habanera Alba Nera and Songe Capricorne by Roland Dyens. Amanda explained that this was originally written for 100 voices which she had condensed onto the solo guitar. We then heard Lisa Lan by the Welsh composer/guitarist Gerard Cousins. This was based on an old Welsh folk song and we could clearly hear harp like sounds radiating from Amanda’s Bert Kwakkel guitar.  The tempo then changed as we heard Lovelady’s Incantation no.6 – a tribute to African trumpet player Hugh Masekela. The first half finished on more familiar ground with three movements from Torroba’s popular Suite Castellana.

 The second half began with Ananda written by Johannes Moller. The piece means Utter Bliss and the guitar was tuned to sound like a sitar. An unusual but very engaging piece. We then heard two popular melodies from yesteryear – Dyen’s arrangements of Over the Rainbow and All of Me. Amanda explained that Over the Rainbow had many instructions on precisely how to play the piece. It was transcribed to Eb (quite a challenging key to play on a guitar!) All of Me was a very enjoyable up-beat bouncy arrangement of this usually slower romantic piece. We then heard some exciting Latin American pieces beginning with Baden Powell’s Valsa Sem Nom (Waltz with no Name) and Samba em Preludio. Amanda then

played what must be the definitive version of VillaLobos’s Prelude No.2 and an Argentine tango Gallo Ciego by Agustin Bardi. Enthusiastic applause was rewarded with a wonderful encore Capitola by Ben Verdery. Capitola is a town in California and a ’cowboy’ lilt definitely featured in the piece. 

 Many thanks to Amanda for such a wonderful concert. We were not fully aware of the full ramifications of Coronavirus at the time of the concert. So this was to be the last live concert we will see for some considerable time. We will all retain a lasting memory of it.  Please take care and take no risks whatsoever and we all look forward to the time when we can meet up again as before.

Terry Woodgate

 The theme for the party is LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVES, so if we can practice nautical- themed pieces, including pieces relating to lakes, rivers and so forth, they can be sent to Sasha by electronic means as before. He also asks for an appropriate photo or

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