“Having a field day” - Esoteric Records’ reissue of Anthony Phillips’ Field Day album reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

Ant is renowned as an exponent of guitar music, predominantly of the twelve stringed variety but he is also master of a whole variety of other stringed instruments - including the piano (yes folks, the piano IS a stringed instrument!). In fact, over recent years, it is his keyboard work which has been his mainstay as Ant has increasingly focused on that in his work for library companies etc.

The same was the case in the early 2000’s when the idea for this album came to the fore. Ant acknowledges in the excellent essay which accompanies this reissue that his guitar work had been falling behind, hence his decision to place the emphasis for this album entirely on his growing multitude of stringed instruments. Amazingly the end result was an extended double album featuring SIXTY ONE pieces of music! A hell of a lot to compose and perform and a LOT to review as well!

Here, we have Anthony in his element, flitting from English and Greek Bouzoukis, to Charangos and Parlour/Classical Guitars of varying string numbers. The result, as you might expect, is a selection of uniformly excellent and well crafted music in a variety of styles. We also have a few old friends here too as both Nocturne and Traces are revisted here and emerge as sprightly as ever from the experience.

From my point of view, this album would, on its own make for an entire evening’s concert should |Ant ever decide to tread the boards again and there is easily a sufficiency of variety and styles within these tracks to keep our attention rapt throughout. The end result is another album of beautiful music from a musician whose work is a by word for good taste

If you haven’t already explored the aural delights of this album, then I cannot recommend it highly enough to you. Those of us already familiar with its delights will, I am sure revisit with the same joy as seeing an old friend. Either way, the result will be nothing more than an extremely pleasurable experience.

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Anthony Phillips: Field Day. Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 32648.