Music / “A Walk in Rio”, Campbell Diamond, guitarist. At Wesley Music Centre, February 28. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY.
AFTER six years away from the Wesley Music Centre, and winning 14 first place music awards, and performing in 25 countries, classical guitarist Campbell Diamond was back in town last night to show just how good he has become.
Now based in Cologne, but also a graduate of the ANU School of Music, Diamond performed a kaleidoscopic program of tunes from Brazil, Hungary, Italy and more.
The first things you notice about Diamond is his confidence and his ability. While someone in the audience who knew Diamond said he was quite anxious about this performance, he never showed it a bit.
Diamond plays without sheet music, and this adds to his aura of confidence. He seamlessly performed harmonics, strong vibrato, slapping the strings and percussion on the body of his guitar through quickly varying dynamics while plucking and strumming, and all this in just one piece. Though the work he opened with felt overly complicated, his execution was astounding.
Not having a program to report from did make it a task for a reviewer, and as the composers and pieces were quickly and quietly mentioned, that didn’t alter the quality of the music performed.
Moving on to an Austro-Hungarian composer of the 19th century, while playing everything from memory, and with such complex music, this showed a dedication and understanding that sees him sit high in the music world.
The contemplative, almost philosophical works he chose for this concert felt like they were selected to challenge himself. His precision and the way he attacks and caresses his guitar say a lot about what he thinks about music and performance values. The multitude of sounds and expressions he is able to draw from his guitar seem endless. Even through the shifting styles, he is able to move with them in attitude and sensibility.
Taking great care to tune his guitar, which was supported by a stand that rests on his leg, highlighted his dedication to producing just the exact sound he demanded.
After the interval, two pieces by Niccolò Paganini, who composed dozens of sonatas for guitar, were performed. This delicious, slow, lyrical music sang out from Diamond’s guitar through a sensitive expression. The second piece danced from his fingers with an evocative Genoese twirl.
Three Brazilian pieces wound up the concert. These sensitive, dreamy and flowing pieces were a perfect match for his talents. The complex music fell with ease from his fingers.
At one stage in the concert, during one of his tunings, he said to the audience: “I tune because I care”. And that sums up this young impressive player. He cares about the music he performs and it shows in so many ways.
While not expecting an encore, he hit the audience with one more exciting, passionate and superbly played piece.