Market Drayton Festival Centre, 2 December 2018
Classical guitarist Laura Snowden brought star quality and a sustained ‘wow’ factor to the inaugural concert of a new classical music series at the Festival Centre.
I have rarely heard the guitar played with such a powerful blend of sensitivity and bravura. She held her audience as if spellbound.
Laura opened her recital with A Fancy by the English Renaissance composer Dowland, playing with an exquisite light touch that captured the charm of the lute, for which it was written. Then straight into five Preludes written in the mid twentieth century by Brazilian Villa Lobos. It was bold programming that swept the audience into the emotionally intense world of the Rio barrios and she kept us with her every step of the way.
Laura’s second major piece — Bach’s Cello Suite number 3 – she had learned from a handwritten adaptation given to her by Julian Bream. With each movement reflecting a dance of the period, there was a spirited playfulness to Laura’s hugely enjoyable interpretation.
Amidst pieces by Sor, Barrios and Regondi, Laura also played two of her own compositions: L’Etoile et la Rose, inspired by the story of The Little Prince, and Anpao – named after the Sioux God of the Dawn. Both had an ethereal quality to them: intriguing, mysterious, and hauntingly beautiful. With moments of subtle humming, which blended with the guitar’s harmonics and then appeared to ‘bend’ them, it truly seemed that the guitar sang. I could say the same for the entire recital.