Award-winning classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić’s personal fairytale comes true in the form of his forthcoming album, The Moon & The Forest, writes Nick Benson.
Montenegrin classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić is set to cement his place as a pioneer and innovator with the much-anticipated release of his latest work.
The Moon & The Forest features two outstanding original concertos, both specially-commissioned for the star musician.
The album is a testament to Miloš’ outstanding musicianship and pioneering spirit, showcasing his new guitar repertoire on the world stage.
It features works for guitar and orchestra by award-winning composers Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings, The Departed) and Joby Talbot (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Winter’s Tale). Inspired by his now legendary artistry and unique personal heritage, both Shore and Talbot worked closely with Miloš in order to create two distinctive, groundbreaking scores.
“It has long been my wish to challenge composers to write for the classical guitar, particularly with regards to the concerto repertoire,” said Miloš.
“For centuries, this instrument has touched many people around the world and yet its repertoire remains very much underrepresented in the classical mainstream.
“It is exactly this that inspired me to seek new ideas and approach Joby and Howard in the first place. The Moon & the Forest, with two brand new concertos that I adore and can humbly call my own, is my personal fairytale come true.”
Best known for his epic scores to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, Shore’s guitar concerto The Forest partially deviates from his works on the screen, drawing instead from the symbiotic relationship between people and the earth. Montenegro and its dark forests have been an inspiration to Howard and Miloš from the beginning, when the work was first commissioned by Canada’s National Arts Centre.
Shore said: “I too live in a place where I am encompassed by things that grow and bloom and fade. It is everchanging. It is always striving for equilibrium and harmony. I find this interconnectedness and interdependency inspiring. These are ideas I carry with me and are often the source from which I express my musical ideas.”
Recalling the first time he heard the piece, Miloš said: “I was moved by the honest simplicity of its harmonies, idiomatic writing and incredibly programmatic nature that makes you instantly dream up so many colours and sceneries in your head. The work is magical, just like the enchanted forest Howard wanted to paint with his unique musical brushstrokes.”
Meanwhile, Talbot’s Ink Dark Moon received its world premiere at the 2018 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Its dramatic orchestration and guitar writing aim to challenge the perceived notion of what a guitar concerto can and should be. The piece showcases a wealth of influences, shared between gentle, minimalist harmonies, edgy Balkan-inspired dance themes and Talbot’s own characteristically relentless rhythmic propulsions.
Taking its title from a collection of Japanese love poetry, the concerto very much places the guitar – and its soloist – at the very centre of proceedings. Cast in three movements that flow into one another, changes in mood and atmospheric timbre permeate the work, exploring sonorous landscapes that bring the vivid imagery to life.
“Ink Dark Moon is like a perfect symphony – there is no element of delicacy or virtuosity left untouched,” said Miloš. “Joby loves the guitar – he celebrates it and envelops its delicate voice with veils of sound and colour. The full power of the orchestration and guitar writing in the third movement breaks the glass ceiling of possibilities.”
The album also includes innovative new arrangements for solo guitar of Ludovico Einaudi’s Full Moon and Robert Schumann’s Träumerei – two moving pieces from the Romantic and Modern classical repertoire. Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra feature on the recording, conducted by Alexander Shelley and Ben Gernon respectively.
The Moon & The Forest marks a decade of incredible music-making with Universal Music for Miloš. It also cements his position as a pioneer and innovator of contemporary guitar repertoire for the ages.
The Moon & The Forest by Miloš is out on Decca Classics on 30th April 2021.
Picture: Miloš. (Esther Haase).