Richard Charlton


"The opening work on CD no. 1, Richard Charlton's Shorelines, takes Needham's work as a starting point. Charlton is a fine guitarist and APRA/AMC award-winning composer whose music features on some 30 CDs. The guitar and string quartet might seem like unlikely bedfellows. In fact, the resonant plucked sounds of the guitar, whether single notes or chords - nestle beautifully amongst burnished, bowed strings. The interweaving solos by Withers and quartet members are superbly executed in Shorelines. This is an accomplished, lyrical work that deserves to take a place in the growing guitar quintet repertoire". Reviewed by Philip Pogson - Imaginations, Matt Withers and the Acacia Quartet, Published June 29, 2020. ABC Classics 4817895 (2CD)

"Rarely played, Richard Charlton's Cloudforms is a popular work. There was plenty of sunshine in the syncopated accompaniment and lightly Latin style of Cumulus Dance. Silver Stratus was more impressionistic with deeper colours and floating harmonics, motifs highly reminiscent in shape and style of Debussy's Reverie. Experimental sound evoked searching in Ring Around the Moon, and Cloudburst brought finality with a more incisive tone, virtuosic runs and intense percussive chords."
Julie McErlain - a review of Harold Gretton's Live-Streamed concert for the Melbourne Guitar Festival 2020 - Classic Melbourne 29 July 2020

"The writing is assured and thoughful as is Kain's interpretation. There is a mastery of tone colour and voicing which is particularly evident in the third movement . . .  Charlton rarely strays from fairly conventional diatonic harmonies, but his carefully honed craftsmanship and attention to detail should not be underestimated. His compositions have delighted guitarists and audiences around the world for some four decades."
Philip Pogson, Music Trust E-Zine - Review of Forgotten Dreams, Tim Kain solo CD on Naxos - 28 September 2020

"The first disc opens with Richard Charlton's Shorelines, a three-movement work inspired by Needham's Stormy Seashore trilogy. Brooding strings laced with pointillist pizzicato effects support a series of lyrical evocations on guitar full of rhythmic verve and dynamic contrasts."
Clive Paget - Limelight review of Imaginations double CD, April 18 2019

"Over the three parts
(movements), the music just got better and better. Charlton's clear, effective and beautiful tonal writing shows just how much Australian music has moved on from atonalism and serialism, and how much more accessible it is because of that. This was the most lyrical and interesting piece of the night."
Rob Kennedy,  - review of Imaginations concert, Matt Withers & Acacia Quartet. 18 August 2018, Margaret Whitlam Pavillion, National Arboretum, Canberra.

"The other voice from the present, Charlton's, came in the form of Refractions, Spiral Ellipse and later, in a generous three-item encore, his very appealing Romanza. Charlton's music has been called accessible, which, while true, does not really reflect his range of creativity and the demands placed on the skills of its performers."
Heather Leviston, Classic Melbourne - 28th February 2018. As part of the series Australian Impressions, Ziggy and Miles Johnston at the Melbourne Recital Centre Salon.

"Richard Charlton's Four Duos, which opened the concert, were gently evocative, and incorporated some judicious use of percussive techniques. The guitarists drew the listeners in with their intensely soft playing, proving that the quietest music can be just as exciting as the loudest."

Melanie Walters The Advertiser, Lee Song-Ou and Oliver Fartach-Naini: Guitar Duo at Elder Hall, Adelaide 2016

"The composition was passionately expressive, intrinsically beautiful and the musicians playing perceptively and methodically embraced its distinctively Australian characteristics"
Rose Niland on Distant Shores, as performed by Claire Edwardes and Karin Schaupp. (A Little Lunch Music at City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney) Dec 2015.

"Richard Charlton's Lauro-inspired Vals by Moonlight from the Suite Latina and Douglas Lora's Northeastern Lullaby are also worth a mention, with the former creating somewhat of an earworm for me. I want to play it for myself now . . ."

Nicole Neal, blog review of "Premieres" CD by Canadian guitarist Hilary Field - Classical Guitar n stuff, Nov 2015

"Geebung, on the other hand, was a far more integrated piece that conveyed the rambunctiousness of the tale and, again, gave O'Donoghue a chance to shine. The final piece brought it all home, with some fun accompaniments to Milligan's poems. This could be seen to connect with everybody, and the laughter and applause rewarded the group's winning decision to try something different in this blend of comedy and great guitar playing."
Barry Lenny, BWW Review of "Geebung & Spike", in the Sydney Guitar Trio's Adelaide Guitar Festival Concert - July 2014

"this is great...hard to avoid the Spanish associations with classical guitar, but they seem integral and unexpected by me...that is, the verse melody seems to be completely suited to the playing in a way I would never have anticipated....I'm flattered and pleased".
From Tim Finn about my arrangement of his song - "I Hope I Never" - July 2013

Charlton's Capricorn Skies is "an attempt to capture in sound the mood or resonance of a variety of Australian skies and landscapes". It's a tour-de-force of sound-painting that finds Guitar Trek at its most dramatically expansive.
From the January 2013 issue of ABC arts magazine Limelight, a review of the Guitar Trek CD "Six Fish" (Tall Poppies TP221)

Equally impressive is Richard Charlton's Capricorn Skies, a work in five movements originally commissioned by Guitar Trek in 1996. Charlton, as well as being one of our most respected contemporary composers, is a guitarist and this work exploits the instrument's versatility from the ominous Ashen Sky With Darkened Sun - a reference to the Sydney bushfires - to the melodious serenity of A Sky For Dreaming.
Steve Moffatt, Manly Daily, September 2012

"Two Guitars Dine Out is unashamedly pastichy, but full of humour, built for fun, and written with confident insight as to what works on guitars. This would be a great crowd-pleaser and deserves to spread fast through the guitar-duo world."
A review for MusicForum Magazine, 2011 of the CD 'Landscape' (Australian Guitar Duets) by the Brew Duo.

"Using lush and lyrical melodies and judicious use of sound effects, he created a perfect marriage of words and music"
A review of the choral cycle, Blakesongs, from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette USA (June 4, 2011) reviewed by Joyce Tamer.

"Two Guitars Dine Out: a musical degustation, is a witty suite by Richard Charlton. Following an opening quotation from Mussorgsky's Promenade, Charlton's menu consists of clever pastiches of Satie, Rossini and others. I love how he reveals the hidden tango quality of the Barber of Seville!"
from the March edition of the ABC Arts Magazine "Limelight" (2011) reviewed by Phillip Scott.

"Sonata (for flute & guitar) by Australian, Richard Charlton is a three movement work mostly in sonata structure but with the composer's own innovations apparent. Great tunes and interesting rhythmic writing make this piece both a joy to hear and to play."
from the Guitar Foundation of America website (2008) -

"Among the videos, the standout for me is Echoes of the Dunbar by Australian guitarist/composer Richard Charlton. Both the accompanying music and video for this 2006 work are by Charlton. The straightforwardly eloquent images evoke the wreck of the clipper ship 'Dunbar' that foundered below Macquarie Lighthouse in Sydney, Australia in 1857. This wonderful new release is highly recommended!"
A review of the Bosgraaf/Elias disc "Big Eye" by Tim Broege in "American Recorder" (Sept 2007)

"Richard Charlton is producing some of the most inspired and accessible guitar works of the present era."
Paul Fowles - review of Alan Banks' performance of "Turlough's Ghosts" - Classical Guitar Magazine UK. (March 2005)

"The real gem however, is Richard Charlton's Figure Eight, performed by the Wellington Guitar Quartet. To say Charlton has been on a creative roll in recent years is surely an understatement, his ever growing catalogue of colourful and accessible ensemble works finding a permanent outlet in the repertoire of Australia's and New Zealand's finest."
Review of Owen Moriarty's CD in Classical Guitar Magazine UK. (Jan 2005)

". . . a sombre homage to technology in Australian composer Richard Charlton's Threnody for Chernobyl, a work of spine-chilling drama. She also included Charlton's Kingfisher dances, a joyous distillation of the bush featuring bird calls, frog sounds and all manner of unexpected effects".
Karin Schaupp, Subiaco Theatre Centre, reviewed in the West Australian Today- September 2004

"Richard Charlton's "Surface Tension" is another highly effective piece by one of Australia's most accomplished composers of guitar music. Charlton's use of linking thematic ideas creates a satisfying musical whole . . . . "
Adrian Walter - review of Tim Kain's CD 'Mirrors of Fire' in Sounds Australian, the AMC Journal. (No.63 - 2004)

"The quartet's first commission, Richard Charlton's "Stoneworks", produced the impression of one dazzling instrument, so well are the parts integrated, with sonorous harmonies and ravishing unisons"
John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald, review of "Saffire" concert at the Seymour Centre, Sydney. (July 2, 2003)

The Divine Guitar - "It is one of the most atmospheric pieces for guitar ensemble I have heard in a long time. It is vivid music bristling with ideas and moods...."
Tim Panting (Sydney Guitar Trio recital, Hinde Street Church, London 5th Oct 2001) Classical Guitar Magazine UK December 2001

"One of the most absorbing items on the program was a work by Australian Richard Charlton, "Threnody for Chernobyl" a lovely, elegiac 12 tone piece."
Sarah Bryan Miller (K. Shaupp recital) - St. Louis Post Dispatch, November 1, 2000

"These are just the sort of pieces that make the players say, 'can we do it just once more?' I for one echo that and say, 'please can we have some more?"
John Arran (reviewing "Merengue & Livewire") - Classical Guitar Magazine UK, 2000

"Threnody for Chernobyl by the Australian composer Richard Charlton was a wonderful discovery! . . . It's a probing, emotional composition."
Olin Chism (K. Schaupp recital) - The Dallas Morning News, November 15, 2000

"Undoubtedly the highlight of the book (Australian Guitar Solos) is Threnody for Chernobyl by Richard Charlton. This is an outstanding work. . . . . . .Depending on the price, this piece alone would warrant purchasing the anthology"
Garth Baxter, Guitar Foundation of America "Soundboard" (Winter ed. 1995)

"Three Sentimental Scenes is a work whose title says it all - gently seductive melodies set against a rich and often poignant harmonic backdrop"
Paul Fowles - Classical Guitar Magazine UK, January 1998

"Dust on a Butterfly's Wing, a song cycle from Down Under was also winningly presented, and charms with warm delicate writing"
Manchester Evening News - Craig Ogden and Claire Bradshaw at the Chester Festival, UK 1998

"Richard Charlton's 'Dances for the Rainbow Serpent', is a pictorial and at times cinematic description of a mythical landscape, with swirling harplike sounds and an arpeggiated rainstorm ."
Allan Kozinn - The New York Times, Feb 16, 1993

"Dances for the Rainbow Serpent by Richard Charlton uses harmony imaginatively to entice ear as well as intellect."
Fred Blanks - Northern Sydney Morning Herald, October 10, 1992