Classical Guitar Magazine December 2003

From the review by Steve Marsh of Dorset and Derby Guitar Societies concert with John Mills, on October 4th 2003.

The evening concluded with, what was for me, the highlight of the evening and this was Concerto 2 by Stephen Kenyon, written in 1994, where once again the composer conducted the whole ensemble with John Mills as soloist. This is a work if immediate appeal and the attractiveness continues to the very last bar. Very briefly, the first movement proceeds in sonata form, Kenyon paying tribute in the opening statement to Schubert, (one of the few major composers to take any interest in the guitar); the beautiful second movement is based on two traditional folksongs I Live Not Where I Love and Bushes and Briars and the piece finalises with the third movement being in the form of two reels and concluding in grand style. This is a major work for this format, full of lyricism, nice rhythms, beautiful harmonies and one for the soloist to their teeth (fingernails?) into, for it is no easy ride. This is certainly a piece which deserves many more outings and if the other concertos (there are three to date) are anywhere near this standard then I look forward to attending performances of these as well.

This was an excellent evening all round, with good and entertaining music, and the soloist and both societies should be very pleased with their performances and from the audience reaction this thought was shared by all.

Steve Marsh


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