"Gerard Cousins is a rare guitar player. A master of the classical idiom and the range of techniques which it demands. On The First Beat is the Last Sound, his fourth album since 2005, Cousins has reached a rarefied point where his stunning playing is matched by his artistic vision."
"Beautiful playing and subtle phrasing"
"Gerard Cousins displays his acute artistic and technical prowess...passionate, profound...with a great range of tone from his instrument"
"Thank you for such a fine, three-dimensional performance of the PAVAN -- all the lines and colours and passion. What a welcome opening into its performance history!"
Hilary Tann (Composer of "A Sad Pavan Fourbidding Mourning" from the CD Hiraeth)
"Wonderfully atmospheric and expressive playing - and a superbly idiomatic arrangement."
Gareth Glyn (Composer of "Olwyn Ddwr" from the CD Hiraeth)
"Gerard delivered a show that was not only emotionally touching but that also showed the amazing talent of this guitarist...This concert was definitely one of the highlights of this years Cornerstone Arts Festival."
Michael Veit Liverpool Hope University
"We congratulate you on your performances. I appreciate your
kind words about my father's music and wish you continued success with his
works. We will be sure to follow your career with great interest."
Cecilia Rodrigo - Daughter of composer Joaquin Rodrigo
"One of Wales's leading classical guitarists"
"From the opening notes it was obvious this concert was going to be special. The pure sounds of the unamplified guitar reverberated around the room. As Gerard demonstrated his considerable technique..."
Brecon and Radnor Express
"What is immediately noticeable...is how Gerard lets the phrases really "breathe"- a testament to his musical and technical ability...to realise a great array of expressive and dynamic range within his playing...it's these features which really characterise his playing throughout this release."
"Guitar magic...he has a beautiful touch"
Frank Hennesey, BBC Radio Wales
"you achieve really beautiful sonorities, a rare thing in itself and most distinctive. Such virtuosic items as the Rodrigo, Jose and
Torroba, show tremendous technical accomplishment and assurance. "
El Peruano (Lima, Peru)
"Gerard Cousins...Star of the Six Strings."
Music Web International review of the CDs 'Hiraeth' and 'A Gift':
Tros y Garreg instantly engages with the listener in
its melancholy slow beauty. Similarly winning, with its pensive
progress, is Gwahoddiad. In both pieces it may be my
failure of imagination but the music shifts in flavour between
Cambrian harp evocation and in-character Iberia. The music is
restful without being bland. I loved the rustle and breeze shiver
of the start of the Fantasia on Ar Lan y Mor. There is
more tremble and hush in this work than the other two. At times
this Fantasia is not that distant from Myers’ Deerhunter
music. David of the White Rock is heard in a virtuosic
arrangement. Grace Williams’ plangent and subtly-toned Hiraeth
has been arranged from its harp original. It is memorable for
its inconstant shifting motion: subtle and lissom. Amanda's
Delight pleasingly fuses elements of baroque and cool jazz.
Tomkins' short verse ‘drips’ slowly. Hilary Tann has taken quotes
from Tomkins' A Sad Pavan for these Distracted Tymes and
woven three extracts from it into her A Sad Pavan. There
is, about this, a forbidding sense of mourning in which the
intervening gaps between notes are beautifully calculated to
allow the guitar sound to decay and fall. Gareth Glynn's orchestral
works have appeared on various light music collections over
the years. His Olwyn Ddwyr is from his suite for solo
harp, Child's Play. It is angular and spare - more objective
than its disc companions here. It is not lured by the sentiment
of the other tracks. The piece by Cardiff-based Simon Thorne
weaves silence and sometimes dry sounds to make this the most
unusual of the works here as well as almost the longest original
composition featured. Written originally for cello it is obsessive,
chiming with muted resonance. The nagging Teifi's Dream
is not self-indulgent but is delicate and elusive,. It ends
52 minutes of the most beautiful playing.
There is a reviving freshness about these arrangements and it's
far distant from the Welsh equivalent of tartanry.
The other disc - A Gift - alights on various compositions
for guitar from the widest international span. Yoshimatsu might
be known to you from his various orchestral discs issued by
Chandos. Wind Color Vector is restful and betokens calm
through the carillon clarity of the guitar. It's a lovely piece
and part of a larger sonata (Wind, Water and Sky). Canticle
is in much the same pulse-stilling vein.
The guitarist’s own Elystan or Noblestone relates
to the image of an ancient lone stone which has seen so much
down the ages but which cannot recount what it has witnessed.
It reminded me at times of the equally compelling and attractive
Fantasia on Alan y Mor on the Hiraeth disc.
Cousins’ July 18 is a study of odd time-groupings - very
sparse and quiet and ruffled with flurries of sound. A Gift
by Robert Jacob was salved by Cousins from Jacob's computer
after the composer’s untimely death in 2005. Silence, calm and
internal peace are the order of the day. Tavener's Chant
is simple and repetitive, leaving the player scope to explore
and voice the melody. Brouwer’s Hika in Memoriam Takemitsu
and the Turnage piece are more angular and testing.
Two discs here from the guitarist Gerard Cousins: one with a
restful Wales as its focus and the other a tangy and provocative
mix of contemporary pieces.