Posted on 6 February 2023
What is it that makes a virtuoso? I think for most of us we tend to think of those musicians who can play inhumanly fast passages of the most difficult pieces ever composed. I heard Issak Stern say that a virtuoso was someone who could “do anything.” I really liked that definition – but it begs the question: just because you can do anything, does that mean you should?
And that leads me to Florian Hamela, a gifted guitarist who is, for my money, every bit a virtuoso even though his piece “Ebb and Flow” has a more relaxed and melodic vibe dispensing with flashy overly complex acrobatics that is the hallmark of so much electric guitar music. “Ebb and Flow” rather, has a deep cinematic feel – there is a vastness to the work that makes it sound “big” but elegantly simple at the same time. The piece itself uses a slightly distorted tone on the instrument (opening with a clean sounding arpeggio), once the theme lands we’re treated to a Major-One/Minor-Four pattern which is always satisfying.
Another thing I admire about Hamela is his sense of humour. His Instagram moniker is “youraverageguitarist” giving us the feeling that he doesn’t think he’s anything special. Here you can see images of him in the studio and on stage – it seems he is quite the active performer. All humbleness aside, I can say wholeheartedly that “Ebb and Flow” is anything but average and well worth the listen.