Published: 8 April 2010
by SEBASTIAN TAYLOR
THE ground-breaking “cello-guitar” is to be played at Lauderdale House, Highgate, this Sunday evening, as part of a special recital for guitar enthusiasts by award-winning Irish duo, guitarist Redmond O’Toole and violinist Elizabeth Cooney
Their programme of music by Dowland, Bach, Paganini, and De Falla will help to display the attributes of the “Brahms guitar,” as the new classical guitar instrument is known.
The Brahms Guitar was invented in the 1990s by Scots classical guitarist Paul Galbraith in order to play Johannes Brahms’ Theme and Variations Opus 21a. The instrument has eight strings, adding both a high and low string to the conventional six string guitar. Tuning continues in fourths and frets are splayed to accommodate the different string lengths.
Additional strings expand the repertoire of guitarists as they can play chords that are not possible on standard guitars.
Redmond O’Toole’s method is to play the Brahms Guitar in the cello position thereby adding greater freedom for both hands and incorporating a resonating box. O’Toole has been at the forefront of popularising the instrument among classical, world and jazz musicians.
Indeed, although most of his performances involve baroque and classical music, he plays regularly with The Chieftains, a traditional Irish music group.
His partnership with Irish violinist Elizabeth Cooney has been acclaimed at performances in Ireland and elsewhere.
Sunday evening’s recital is supported by the Lauderdale House Guitar Society
• Redmond O’Toole (guitar) and Elizabeth Cooney (violin) play at Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, N6, April 11,
020 8348 8716, 7.30pm, £10/con £8