The Press, Christchurch, Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Echoes of Spain : Bruce Paine (guitar) and artwork by Josie Martin

February 9, The Giant's House ("Linton"), Akaroa

Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd

"Guitarist Paine a name to watch"

Josie Martin's art and music soirees never fail to please, and for those who have not yet made the trip over the hill a treat awaits. A convivial atmosphere among Martin's extraordinarily vibrant paintings, sculptures and mosaics (there are new delights with every visit) showcased the talent of young Auckland guitarist Bruce Paine in a programme featuring Spanish, or Spanish influenced music.

This was the first South Island venue for his short New Zealand tour, and for those in Timaru, Oamaru, and Dunedin, I strongly urge you to treat yourself and go along when he comes to town, starting with Timaru next Sunday. His informal and interesting links and engaging manner gave the audience a good feel for the music, and his playing backed it up.

Paine delivered the entire programme from memory, with the dedication and love for the instrument one rarely sees in instrumentalists other than pianists or solo violinists. His programme contained a good mix of material across the genre, from the lyrical transcriptions of Granados and Albeniz, concluding the programme, to the more progressive harmonies of Rodrigo's Invocation and Dance (which I adored) and three pastoral songs. Argentinean composer Jose Lois Merlin's Suite del Recuerdo provided the Latin American perspective and Paine injected a fire and unpredictability into his playing which rounded off the first half well.

Czech guitarist and composer Stepan Rak is a name I am unfamiliar with, but I thoroughly enjoyed Paine's rendition of Remembering Prague and a finely wrought tremolo tribute to the poet Lorca, Cry of the Guitar. Paine's handling of the tremolo effects expertly produce the orchestral sound demanded by the composer, other technical feats similarly well managed in the opening Fandanguillo and de Falla's Homenaje. Paine creates a nice sense of space in his playing, is unhurried but intense. Definitely a name to watch.