Rasputin Manifesto

As Hii says in his liner notes, it's hard to imagine piano music more fit for the intimate nature of the guitar. When you stop and think about it, you ought to think that these pieces would have been standard repertory for the last century. But you would be wrong. However, listening to Hii play them, it's impossible not to be seduced.

Whereas usually getting new repertoire of late seems to mean very modern music, this is a case where you can wallow in the unabashed romanticism. Do you want music for your next rendezvous, for your wedding proposal etc. this is it without a doubt and without a touch of cheesiness. This disc is a class act all the way through, done for the love of the music rather than the marketing potential (kudos to GSP's Dean Kamei for another job well done). From the muted tones of the artwork to the warmth and depth of the recorded guitar tone, this disc is very well put together. ...it's likely that most people will recognize every single one of the pieces, even if you don't think you've heard the Nocturnes before.

So, if we've all heard these a thousand times, why should hearing them on guitar be any different? The answer is Hii's playing, as well as the sonority of the guitar. He has an exceptional feel for the romantic style, and his playing will win over the hardest of hearts. He gets inside the music, at once making you feel that he is speaking from his heart and that this music was written expressly for the guitar. His liberal use of drop D and G tunings adds a lower register that emphasizes the darkness of tone, and his decision to eschew his own editorial decisions in favor of fidelity to the piano score makes for a simple, direct musical experience.

It's so nice to have a new disc of guitar music that is so immensely listenable. Anybody would like this. It's a wonderful disc.

© Tom Chandler