Roland Dyens is an original among musician-composers. Few would dare to open a program with an improvisation never before heard by an audience much less the performer himself. But, in the world of guitar playing, one dares to be different. This is how the opening concert of The John E. Marlow Guitar Series on October 20 got off to its 2012-2103 season start. On a wing and a secular prayer, Mr. Dyens amused Marlow listeners with his charm and, sometimes, witty playing.
Programs are generally the norm for performers, but Roland prefers spontaneity to formal program structure. Every piece, then, was a surprise and over half the repertoire was pulled directly from the performer’s own arsenal of uniquely original compositions and arrangements. We strolled with him through his musical wanderings from the opening improvisation, original works and adaptations, which included a sensitive rendering of that “more French than Polish” master Frederic Chopin’s Waltz no. 2, Op. 69, through Fernando Sor’s, Le Calme, to, again, his own piece aptly entitled The Delights of Jetlag, and ending on an encore, yet again his own, Comme Le Jour which touched the assembled souls and brought the house to its feet.
Mr. Dyens is a guitar’s musician too. He explores his instrument with casual familiarity, sometimes moving it gently to extend the after tones of pieces which allows final notes and chords to hum themselves under a sort of extended fermata-esque end. We thoroughly enjoyed having Roland back for a visit this year, and, with a nearly sold out attendance, he got our season series off to an exciting start.
Please join us again, on November 10, when Marco Socias of Spain promises to demonstrate just how indispensable this series has become to our area’s guitar devotees. Look forward to seeing you there.
Silver Spring, MD