Joseph Chester – Lucia – Album Review

Joseph Chester – Lucia – Album Review
by Killian Laher

After his Carolan/Cage EP a few years ago, Joseph Chester has continued down a similar path.  None of the jangly guitars of old, this is a full-on suite of classical guitar-based tracks based on the life of James Joyce’s daughter Lucia.  Much of Lucia’s life and history has been erased/forgotten, and here Chester attempts to address that.

There’s some quite incredible guitar playing from Chester on this album, right from the opener Northampton, which has a ‘high lonesome’ sound.  Anyone familiar with the work of Andrés Segovia will find much to enjoy in the intricate guitar patterns of The LIttle Match Girl, accompanied by strings.  It’s very moody, evocative music.  There are some downright gorgeous tracks, such as La Princesse Primitive, which evokes John Williams’ Cavatina, and the pensive, string-enhanced Beckett.  Others meander along pleasantly such as Nuvoluccia in her Lightdress, Candlemas 1932 features a fuller sound with strummed guitars, while Asylum has no guitar at all, purely strings.  It’s all very easy on the ear, there’s nothing jarring here.

It’s tempting when listening to this kind of music to lapse into superlatives which compare the sound of the music to spectacular scenery, but rather than do that, suffice to say anyone who enjoys solo, classical guitar will love this.  It won’t appeal to everyone, and some fans of his older work might miss his more song-based output.  But by any standards this is an extraordinary piece of work – great compositions, beautifully played.

The Little Match Girl:

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