“A Breath of fresh air and Overnight Snow” - The new album by Nick Fletcher and John Hackett reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

Mr Hackett junior has been a very busy boy recently! Not only has he collaborated with Marco Lo Muscio on the Playing The History album (see review in TWR #84) but here he is again with another collection of music in collaboration with another superb guitarist: Nick Fletcher.

Once again, John has focussed his attentions on material from the Baroque/Classical repertoire and that is not a bad thing in my book.

The album opens with Chanson du Matin by Elgar which I am sure I am not alone in recognising from its use as a TV theme although the exact programme title eludes me. A beautiful opener.

One of the wonders of the orchestral repertoire for me is that even though the music may be hundreds of years old as is certainly the case with much of this album, it is nevertheless brand new to this listener’s ears and as such tracks by such masters as J S Bach and Mozart and a personal hero of mine; W F Handel, are all brought exquisitely to life here by the informed and impeccably tasteful playing of both Nick and John.

To anyone with ears the music of the Baroque and Renaissance which is represented by many of the pieces here was a high water mark in terms of not only musical output but also musical invention. The true origins of what we now know as “progressive” music have their roots in these masterpieces and it is always a delight to have oneself introduced to yet more “new” music and to the existence of composers and musicians whose acquaintance you may not have made. In fact one of the main reasons why an album such as this is a delight to me (apart from the exquisite playing that is!), is the introduction to yet more musical delights from composers who I have more than a passing acquaintance with as well as introducing me to yet more “old friends” whose acquaintance I have yet to make!

What is in evidence throughout this album is the impeccable taste that both protagonists have brought to their versions of these pieces. Craftsmanship and care are the benchmarks in what is a truly delightful album throughout and that extends to the cover artwork too, another wonderful example of the painting skills of Steve and John’s late father Peter.

Fans of John’s earlier work will recognise the re-workings of both Freefall and Overnight Snow which are also a delight to hear in this different arrangement. For fans of John’s big brother Steve, the album concludes with a suite of pieces titled Three Mediterranean Sketches all of which feature the combined musical skills of Nick Fletcher and Steve which will I am sure delight existing fans.

Music of such a high calibre as this deserves a much broader audience and discerning music aficionados will revel in the gems on display here and I simply cannot praise this album highly enough - music that refreshes the heart and soul a rarity these days!

Nick Fletcher/John Hackett - Overnight Snow. Hacktrax Records HTRX007

For more information, the album is available from…

http://www.hacktrax.co.uk and http://hackettsongs.sandbag.uk.com as well as….

http://www.cd-services.com and http://darkpeakproductions.com/

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