Guitarist Gerard Cousins has just released his 4th solo CD
“With The First Beat is the Last Sound, classically trained guitarist Gerard Cousins has taken inspiration from a huge range of influences both reflecting his homeland (Wales) with his love of Jazz, Indian classical music, and the compositional processes of the American minimalist composers Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley. Gerard demonstrates a new style for the nylon-strung guitar, instantly likeable but not shallow, reflecting a 21st century approach to writing which bonds different worlds of music not as gimmickry but as an authentic expression of a guitarist who has toured the world geographically as well as musically and wants to take his listeners on a journey with him exploring new sonic territories.” Acoustic magazine Feb 2015
The CD features all original compositions by Gerard Cousins and the first official transcription of a work by the American Grammy award winning composer Eric Whitacre. Gerard first heard the work sung as a surprise gift at his own wedding and was so moved by it that he set about transcribing the 4 part choral work for solo guitar. After recording the song and making a youtube video Gerard got in contact with Eric via social media and soon won his approval and further commissions to transcribe more pieces due for publication with Chester Music.
Gerard’s own works reflect his wide range of influences and his wish to widen the classical guitar repertoire with music which encompasses not only his formal classical training but also his other loves which include the minimalist composers Reich, Glass and Arvo Part, Cuban contemporary composer Leo Brouwer, jazz virtuoso John McLaughlin and the folk songs of his Welsh homeland.
In a continuation from Gerard’s last CD ‘Hiraeth’ which explored the music of Wales, the CD features 2 imaginative arrangements of traditional Welsh Songs. Lisa Lan is a heart rending melody given an optimistic treatment and Suo Gan is the famous tune featured in the film ‘The Last Emperor’. Gerard’s treatment of the theme is an expansive reworking of the simple melody with a novel retuning of the bass E string up to F# which Gerard exploits for new harmonies and natural harmonics.
In a recent article (Jan 2015) in Acoustic magazine Gerard Cousins was described as a ‘rare guitar player. A master of the classical idiom and the range of techniques which it demands...Cousins has reached a rarefied point where his stunning playing is matched by his artistic vision”