Guitar recital by John Williams Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Last night only Can a John Williams guitar recital ever let one down? It seems impossible, as his performance last night at the Culture Centre demonstrated. He may be 62, but his technique is still near impeccable, and his musical sense still merits superlatives. There is such an effortless poetry in his playing, in which melodies of silken grace soar out from between or above pearly harmonic figurations, which can turn a lone man with a guitar on a vast stage into the transfixing emotional centre of a filled concert hall. Williams started his recital with Bach's Lute Suite No 4 in E, which he played with delicate attention to the counterpoint and an acute sense of the rhythms of the various baroque dances. A few instances of stumbling over notes did not undermine the overall beauty of the playing. Next came Australian composer Peter Sulthorpe's Djilile, an elaboration of an Aboriginal melody that exists in different versions. Williams limpidly plucked out the plaintive melody at the beginning, and gradually enriched it with harmonies to present a mysterious, lamenting atmosphere. Granados' Valses Poeticos followed; Williams' tonal palette remained very rich, and he applied subtle colourings to the different waltzes, be they lively or melancholic. The second half of the recital began with Malinke Guitars, Williams' own composition based on a traditional West African song. This and the following Venezuelan guitar music - much of which was bittersweet waltz-like dances - by Canonico, Carillo, Lauro, Lopez, Sojo, Borges, Figueredo, Fernandez and Riera - were all played with idiomatic flavour and deeply felt musical understanding. They never sounded artificial. William's breezy, fluent and yet subtle and insightful treatment of the music again revealed the consummate artistry of this great guitarist.