Classical Guitar - Jonathan Prag

Combining an interesting program with an intimate setting and impressive technique, this concert of classical guitar music will be of interest to specialists and those who will enjoy a quiet church setting to encounter some intriguing pieces in the often under-appreciated repertoire of the classical guitar.

Prag and his instrument deserve your patronage.

Beginning with some Irish songs, arranged by fellow guitarist Steve Marsh, Jonathan Prag introduces himself with a demonstration of the lyricism and occasional beauty of this rich musical tradition.

According to Prag it was Bach, who, as with many guitarists, started it all for him, and the choice of the Prelude from the A minor Suite for solo lute is an excellent demonstration of why this is so often the case. Rearranged from the fifth cello suite by Bach himself, quasi-rubato explorations of elegant yet dissonant chord sequences develop into tricky, intricate runs. They are well supported with a seemingly impossible-to-maintain (with only that many fingers) bassline. It’s one of my favourite pieces and sits extremely well amongst the less conventional choices on the program.

Next up, a trio of Cuban boleros by noted ‘trovador’ Sindo Garay. There seemed to be a slight tuning issue in this piece – but playing in drop D in a slightly chilly church will always create problems in this department. It was otherwise a wonderfully textured and expressive choice and Prag’s technique is close to flawless.

The following piece was the highlight of the program. Nikita Koshkin’s Usher-Waltz is a staple of 20th Century repertoire; its catalogue of extended techniques signalling a redefinition of the kinds of expression possible on the nylon string guitar. It’s a piece inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe story The Fall of the House of Usher. In the piece, an increasingly demented A minor harmonic progression breaks down into chords pounded with the palm of the hand, with ghostly, beautiful harmonics, and various kinds of twangings and joltings not normally expected from a classical guitarist. It’s an incredible piece, and a brave one to include on the program.

Prag rounds off with some clever pieces by contemporary composer Matthew Sear, based on impressions of the U.S.A., and a very beautiful Paraguayan piece by Agustin Barrios. The choice of encore, Vincent Lindsey-Clark’s Pulsar, is a final reminder of the depth of Prag’s technique. The repertoire of the classical guitar is a much under-appreciated area of Western classical music. Prag and his instrument deserve your patronage.

Reviews by James Macnamara

Zoo

Government Inspector

★★★★
Stand in the Square

Is Your Marmite Watching You?

★★
The Jazz Bar

Jazz Rite of Spring

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

★★★
C venues - C nova

Cabaret Nova

★★★★
The Edinburgh Academy

West Side Story

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Jonathan arrives fresh from sell-out international shows after his appearances at this year's Adelaide and Toronto Fringe Festivals. Included in the programme this year are Nikita Koshkin's Usher Waltz, pieces by Bach, Barrios and Fauré and the folk melodies of Turlough O'Carolan. Cuban rhythms add a little extra drama along with Pulsar by Vincent Lindsey-Clark. 'Driving bass lines and animated finger work boasted the range of Prag's abilities' (Martin Parker, Scotsman). 'An intimate setting and superb classical guitarist, filling the room with music that at times carried me away - it was bliss' (Kryztoff).

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets