Review of The First Beat Is The Last Sound Gerard Cousins, Wales Music, 2014
I like very much the title of this latest work by Gerard Cousins and even better is its content, including all tracks (with the exception of This Marriage, made by the American composer Eric Whitacre, which closes the cd) were composed by the same Cousins, creating what, in a sense, could be defined as the work of his maturity.
The CD contains twelve passages, many of which are tributes to other guitarists and composers and recall precise elements of their style, in particular I very much appreciated “White Clud Sky Blues” dedicated to John Mclaughlin, with its quotations from Zakir and In a Silent way and the two tributes to Steve Reich, the first zen-like titled “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” and the second “Minimum” for two guitars, both characterized by geometric elements that recall the works and the musical organization of the American composer.
Other tributes concern Philip Glass with “In the Grip 1 & 2”, Avro Part with “Cantus Tintinnabulous” and the Variazione and Toccata in traditional Welsh music “Suo Gan”.
This record, however, seems built to lay greater emphasis on Cousins’s technical qualities: the score that starts the CD, “Assyrian Game”, seems really complex and technically demanding and in general all of the songs show a remarkable technical skills.
A great job, with a really excellent quality recording