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Guitarist Rupert Boyd at Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ

Sunday, January 31, 2010; 11:37 PM

Remember the name Rupert Boyd. While there may never be another classical guitarist like Segovia, this young Australian left his Marlow Guitar Series audience with the impression that someday there may not be the likes of him again, either.

Playing for a clearly knowledgeable audience Saturday at Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ, Boyd took on a program prodigious in both scale and intensity. Many of the works were intimately known by his audience with the exception of his openers, two highly imaginative compositions by fellow Australian Phillip Houghton, which Boyd interpreted deftly in the style of tone poems, only more indigenous.

Boyd's hour-plus program included works by Ponce, Llobet, Albéniz, J.S. Bach and Granados, which he played with remarkable versatility and an almost preternatural use of color and tone, notably on Llobet's "El Noi de la Mare."

Throughout his program, Boyd's precision yielded the effect of more than one instrument, especially on fugal sections and specifically in Bach's Suite in A Minor, the sarabande movement of which was a textbook example of how to keep playing in spite of an unexpected lapse or two. Boyd rebounded with dispatch in the gigue movement, which he laced with energy and dance.

Overriding incipient fatigue, Boyd concluded with his arrangement of Enrique Granados's "Valses Poéticos" punctuated with a stunning fade-to-black decrescendo and truly evocative playing in the closing movement, "Melódico."

Presented by the International Conservatory of Music, the next Marlow Series program will be Feb. 27 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

-- Alfred Thigpen

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