CD Review

Music for Extended 7 String Guitar
Matthew Grasso

I met Matthew Grasso at the 1st 10 String Festival back in 2004. I was impressed not only by his command of his chosen instrument, but by his repertoire as well: from orchestral transcriptions to his own interpretation of Indian Classical Music…definitely not your usual classical guitar fare. I was particularly taken by his Ravel transcriptions, so when he mentioned to me that he would be recording them, I told him I would be among the first to buy that CD.

Here is the track listing:

1. Pavane for a Dead Princess – Ravel
2. Adagio in G minor for organ and strings - Albinoni
3. Raguette - Bogdanovic
4. Symphony no.2 (3rd movement) - Rachmaninov
5. Mother Goose Suite - Ravel

Each track is presented beautifully and avoids the usual pitfall when large-scale orchestral works are reduced to a single guitar. There aren’t any constricted-sounding voicings; the music sounds full and complete all throughout. Grasso’s vision for his transcriptions is well-served by his excellent technique: each note is well-shaped and well-thought out in timbre, dynamics and quality. While Grasso’s technique does not overshadow his musicality for the recording, he does get to stretch out a little bit in Bogdanovic’s “Raguette”.

The recording sound is very clean, up-close and present, giving the listener the impression that they’re in the same room Grasso is in as he plays his wonderful program. His guitars, 2 extended 7-strings (1 cedar, 1 spruce) built by Willits, CA luthier Greg Byers, sound magnificent with the whole range well-represented from the low G1 until the highest frets of the treble strings.

I highly recommend this CD for those looking to expand their tastes beyond the standard Classical Guitar repertoire. Matthew Grasso’s artistry is impeccable and this recording is a confirmation of that fact.

Hope you enjoyed this review!

Perf De Castro
10-string guitarist