Two artists of stature, a mix of the contemporary modern and the classic, that is what goes into Boyd Meets Girl. It is a sort of cute, flip title that presaged to me something light. However, the music is delightfully presented, much more than a bonbon between meals. (Not that anyone I know eats bonbons. Yet get the point.) It is weighty without being insistently so. This way it can provide an atmosphere or a good deal more if you listen seriously.
The Boyd is classical guitarist Rupert Boyd. The "Girl" is cellist Laura Metcalf. Both have a beautiful sound and the technique to match. And the blend of the two makes for a special confluence.
It is the brightly variegated repertoire that helps make the program especially pleasurable. We have more or less lesser-known contemporary works in Jaime Zenamon's "Reflexoes No. 6," Ross Edwards' "Arafura Arioso," Radames Gnattali's "Allegretto Comodo." Then there are the more familiar Astor Piazzolla "Cafe 1930: and Arvo Part's "Spiegel im Spiegel."
And then for the more venerable classic side, we have four of Bach's "Two-Part Inventions," Faure's "Pavanne, Op. 50," de Falla's "Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas." And to cap it all off there is an arrangement of Michael Jackson's song "Human Nature."
It is the artistry of the two that ultimately makes this program stand out, that and the Boyd-Metcalfe arrangements for guitar and cello (as applicable) and the open-ended adventure of the program itself.
If you have expectations about the wonderful sound of the cello and classical guitar together, they are met with absolute style and grace in the twin sonorities of Boyd and Metcalfe. More than met, really. Boyd Meets Girl is one of those fortunate intersections where we hear bells as much as they do.
A program that will appeal to a wide swath of listeners. It will do so with artistry at the highest levels.
This Is Classical Guitar
Rupert Boyd & Laura Metcalf have been featured on the site a number of times to great reception and they have a new album soon to be released. From what I’ve heard so far Boyd Meets Girl features stunningly beautiful arrangements and exceptional performances by one of my favorite combinations of instruments.
Boyd Meets Girl comprises the Australian guitarist Rupert Boyd and the American cellist Laura Metcalf. A self-labeled ‘happily married couple’, they play like one, with a harmony of purpose as sure as their intonation. Boyd is a fine guitarist; if he’s new to these pages, Laura Metcalf is no stranger to them, her ‘suave, experienced bow arm’ having gained Jed Distler’s approval last year. That right arm is the motor for a gloriously warm and rich tone, well suited to the repertoire on this superbly engineered debut album for the duo.
The bulk of the programme is made up of arrangements, all by Boyd and Metcalf themselves, some more intrusive to the originals – the Falla songs, which actually brush up rather nicely, and Fauré’s ubiquitous Pavane – than others. Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel acquires a greater warmth than usual from the duo and the four Bach Inventions work neatly as an impromptu suite. Piazzolla’s Café 1930 showcases their virtuosity in a different way, making a fine standalone tone poem, the cello’s darker coloring (the original is for flute) more atmospheric and contrasting the better with the guitar.
Ross Edward’s Arafura Arioso, the composer’s arrangement of the slow movement of his Guitar Concerto Arafura Dances (1994?95), is a beautiful depiction of Australia’s northern sea. Bolivian-born Jaime Mirtenbaum Zenamon’s Reflexões No 6 (1988) is unobjectionable, its Vivacissimo finale unexpectedly dashing along in Villa-Lobos mode.
Prairie Audio Man Cave for Usher Technology
The Dancers underscore the contrast of the deft, lighter arpeggio of Boyd’s classical guitar swirling around Metcalf’s broader and deeper cello in three dimensions. Again, the sense of space, along with the timbre and virtuosity of these two brilliant artists -- hers more darkly emotive and his, consoling and entreating her to an intimate dance -- are at once very palpable, real and magical.
A speaker builder warned me that metal tweeters, such as Beryllium, sound too sharp, but that’s not the case here. Using he Diamond DMD tweeter and the Usher Technology 8948A woofers in the D'Appolito Array is magical. No wonder Do-It-Yourselfers loved the 8948A when Parts Express carried them. They channel Rupert Boyd and Laura Metcalf to the front of my room!
Prairie Audio Man Cave for BHK Signature
Boyd, Rupert and Laura Metcalf. “Reflexoes No. 6 for Cello and Guitar.” Boyd Meets Girl. DSD128. Native DSD download. Sono Luminus. 28 July 2017.
The virtuosity of Laura Metcalf’s cello and Rupert Boyd’s classical guitar are wondrously conveyed in great acoustic detail. Although I am not a classic lover, I find their collaboration -- and especially Metcalf’s full bodied cello -- highly emotionally evocative. Her cello’s mournful, expressive and expansive range strikes a note in my heart, while Boyd’s acoustic guitar undergirds and supports her with understated elegance. The instruments ring true and the echo and delay in the background gives a real sense of the recording space they are in. With the BHK Signature, there is no smearing, smudging or syruppy affectation; it simply delivers the magic of the moment and gets out of the way.
Rafaels Music Notes
"On their latest album, Rupert Boyd pairs up his guitar to the cello of Laura Metcalf. It is a musical match made in Heaven.
As I listened to Boyd and Metcalf, I was won over by their way with the music.
The album has been neatly packaged, accompanied by insightful notes by both the artists, and flawlessly engineered by Daniel Shores."