Last Saturday May 11th 2013 I found myself in that very situation when fellow New Zealand guitarist John Couch, now based in Canberra, Australia, played my composition Finchdean as the encore to his Auckland concert. Knowing the music intimately, the feeling was akin to being on stage playing, anticipating the various phrases, section changes, control of dynamics, tone colour, and coping with challenging moments. I felt nervous even though I had no reason to be with such a confident player in control of the performance.
John plays a highly sought after Greg Smallman guitar and this was somewhat a revelation to me as the notes of Finchdean burst forth with surprising vitality bringing out textures I'd not previously noticed. Although for a while I have preferred a more traditional guitar sound, the Smallman has a vitality and what might be described as it's own 'inbuilt reverb' that adds a pleasing singing quality to the treble notes. I could not help but be impressed on this occasion. While quite different, the guitar I used when composing and making the first recording of Finchdean - a beautiful cedar and Solomon Islands rosewood guitar by Auckland maker Rod Capper - has its own strengths and attractive tonal qualities.
I'm told that Finchdean is to be played by John Couch when he visits the main centres of New Zealand and two concert venues in Mexico this month (May 2013.) The Auckland concert featured a good mix of familiar and exciting new guitar works and, judging by the quality of the performance, the remaining concerts will be well worth hearing.
You can check out details of the tour via John''s web site by Googling ''John Couch''.