Triple Canada! Canadian guitarist Jeffrey McFadden plays Cancion del fuego fatuo from El Amor Brujo by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) arranged by Emilio Pujol (1886–1980). Recorded by Canadian guitarist/producer Drew Henderson. This comes via McFadden’s great YouTube Channel. Possibly Canada’s top guitarist, recording artist, and educator, McFadden’s playing is filled with musicality and virtuosity, always a joy to hear. You can check out his Naxos recordings which are excellent. A nice heads up to Victoria, Canada luthier Marcus Dominelli for the nice guitar as well.
Sheet Music via Amazon: Two pieces by De Falla, trans. Pujol.
Lorenzo Bernardi Plays Confesiòn by Paraguayan guitarist and composer, Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1885–1944). This comes via Bernardi’s Youtube Channel. Guitar made by Philip Woodfield. Some nice musical playing by this young Italian guitarist. “Also known as Confesión de Amor (Confession of Love), Confesión is an example of the genre known as romanza, a slow, melodic piece in duple metre expressive of romantic feeling. Barrios wrote this work in 1923 and recorded it on 21st June, 1928. Here he places the melody in the bass register with the harmonic accompaniment in the upper voices. A profound knowledge of the instrument is necessary to achieve this type of textural writing, and Confesión, together with his Romanza en Imitación al Violoncello, is a masterful display of virtuosity and skill. (Naxos – Rico Stover)”
Sheet Music via Amazon: Complete Barrios Vol. 1
Vickers Bovey Guitar Duo (Julian Vickers & Daniel Bovey) play Prelude and Fugue in F# Minor from Les Guitares bien tempérées (The Well-Tempered Guitars), Op. 199 (24 preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, 1962) by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968). Filmed at Fitzrovia Chapel by A Fly On The Wall Productions. This comes via Bovey’s YouTube Channel. Some great playing by this young duo (both masters graduates from Royal Academy, London) with excellent matched phrasing and accents. As I’ve said a few times before, the duos in this collection are one of the true gifts we have from a reputable composer of the 20th Century so explore them in full!
You can find the sheet music via Strings by Mail: Tedesco Op. 199
Alman by Robert Johnson (c.1583–1633)
Free PDF Sheet Music for Classical Guitar
Intermediate Level (Grade 6)
Free Notation Edition & TAB Edition
Video Lesson Link (4K) on YouTube
This edition of Alman (Allmayne) by Robert Johnson (c.1583–1633) is an arrangement of the original lute work. It was one of my favourite works to play on guitar when I was growing up. Once you learn the fingering and the later-half web of motives the piece is not very difficult. It might take some time to smooth out the changes but it’s well worth the effort. Join the Email Newsletter to get music updates or visit the sheet music page regularly. Please consider donating to the site to keep the free sheet music coming.
Free Notation Edition (PDF):
- Alman by Robert Johnson for Guitar [free PDF]
TAB + Notation Edition (PDF Download): $3.99
Canadian guitarist Drew Henderson plays Caprice no. 6 from 24 Caprices for solo violin, Op. 1 by Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840). This comes via Henderson’s excellent YouTube channel. He has a large write-up on his YouTube about his personal experience with the piece (read it), here’s an excerpt about his arrangement: “In arranging this piece, I consulted the original violin music and Franz Liszt’s version for piano (Grandes Études de Paganini no. 1). I decided to keep the melody singing on top for the first portion of the piece (like Liszt’s version), only migrating the tremolo between the registers later on. Near the end, at the recapitulation up the octave, I move the tremolo to the top two notes, while using a harmonic in the lower voice. I think it sounds great on the guitar, and it makes this section much more idiomatic and fluid.”
Lesson of the Week for Classical Guitar
Leo Brouwer’s Etude No. 15 from Estudios Sencillos
YouTube Video Link (4k Quality)
Sheet Music (complete etudes in one book) via amazon: Leo Brouwer Guitar Works
Cuban composer Leo Brouwer’s Etude No. 15 from Estudios Sencillos. I play the study and then give a lesson on musical and guitar related ideas. You can see more lesson videos at the lesson archive page or browse free sheet music. For more free weekly lessons join the Email Newsletter for updates and please consider donating to the site or sharing this post to support.
Sanel Redžić plays Tango en Skaï by Roland Dyens (1955–2016). This comes via the Paris Guitar Foundation and their YouTube channel. The PGF Series, directed by Augustin Pesnon, showcases guitarists with quality videos. For this one, Redžić recorded and mastered the audio himself. Cool shots of Paris too! Always love hearing Redžić play with his nice mix of musical but direct style.
Sheet Music via Amazon: Tango and Skai by Dyens
Romain Bockler (baritone) & Bor Zuljan (lute) perform the chanson from Dulces Exuviae – “Douleur me bat” by Josquin des Prez (1450/1455–1521). This comes via Zuljan’s Youtube channel. Video by the amazing Uros Baric and Marie Delorme Zuljan (audio) with lute built by Philippe Mottet Rio. I also posted their other video for Nimphes nappes here. I love this stuff and just happen to be working on some period intabulations of motets by des Prez for two lutes right now. There are tons of intabulations of vocal works out there as well as chansons that fall beautifully on the lute or guitar. Can’t get enough of it.
Lyrics via their Youtube
Douleur me bat et tristesse m’afolle,
Amour me nuyt et malheur me consolle,
Vouloir me suit, mais aider ne me peult,
Jouyr ne puis d’ung grant bien qu’on me veult,
De vivre ainsi, pour dieu, qu’on me décolle.
Sadness strikes me and sadness maddens me,
Love harms me and misfortune consoles me
My will follows me but cannot help me,
I cannot enjoy a great good which she wishes me,
To live thus, by God, someone behead me!
This month has many exciting new releases by some of my favourite artists. In particular, Grammy award winning guitarist and producer John Schneider from MicroFest Records let me know about two new releases from his label. The music of Alex Wand is a kaleidoscopic wonderland of sound with various instruments forming beautiful soundscapes paired with curious spoken and sung lyrics. The hypnotic music of Tom Johnson spin fantastic melodies that delightfully arch and turn. Johnson’s music reminds me of some of my favourite Feldman and Fujieda: contradictory in its simplicity, yet complex with rotating motivic development. Other great projects include the large-scale project of Runar Kjeldsberg who has recorded the complete works of Francois de Fossa, one of the great, and often overlooked, 19th century guitar composers. Canadian guitarist Alan Rinehart has a nice album filled with arrangements of Verdi by 19th century guitarist Johann Kaspar Mertz. Just as guitarists of today post video covers of hits on YouTube, pluckers have been playing ‘cover songs’ since the the Renaissance with lute intabulations of popular motets. Last but not least, Yuri Liberzon gives us an exciting album of Piazzolla including the Historie du Tango with flutist Josué Casillas.
The Great Hunt by Alex Wand
The Great Hunt is a song cycle for chamber ensemble composed by Alex Wand. Based on Carl Sandburg poems, the songs confront death from different perspectives – an old man, a lover, Abraham Lincoln, Pocahontas, a galapagos turtle, a lap swimmer, and more. The music weaves together folk and classical influences, microtonal guitars, improvisation, and speak-singing recitation. The ensemble includes members of wild Up and Partch: Allison Bjorkedal (harp), Erin Barnes (percussion), Alex Wand (voice, guitar), Laura Jean Anderson (voice), Derek Stein (cello), Archie Carey (bassoon), and Christine Tavolacci (flute).
Buy, listen, or read full liner notes via MicroFest Records, or via Amazon.
Plucking by Tom Johnson
American Minimalist composer Tom Johnson has collected a global village of ethnic pluckery to perform his latest composition PLUCKING for nine different plucked instruments (2015). Persian tar, African kora, Indian sitar, Arabic oud, and Japanese koto—along with Western bass, guitar, harp & harpsichord—create a glittering masterpiece of interlocking timbres and patterns, after each instrument performs one of his famed Rational Melodies in pure intonation. Grammy nominated Tom Peters succeeds at Failing: a very difficult piece for solo bass, but eventually fails the ultimate challenge of Doublings for Double Bass (it’s OK, he is supposed to: and he lasted longer than anyone else!). Producer, Recording Engineer, Editor — John Schneider. Artists: Ric Alviso (Kora), Alison Bjorkedal (Harp), Ric Ederer(Oud), Paul Livingstone (Sitar), Kozue Matsumoto (Koto), Tom Peters(Bass), Pirayeh Pourafar (Tar), John Schneider (Guitar), Richard Valitutto (Harpsichord) , Samuel Vriezen (composer, pianist, poet, and writer).
Buy, listen, or read full liner notes via MicroFest Records, or via Amazon.
Complete Works of Francois de Fossa by Runar Kjeldsberg
The Francois de Fossa project started in 2012 when Kjeldsberg got a Norwegian government work grant for artists to record the complete known solo works. The project has resulted in three releases where two of them are double albums. All the music is recorded on an original period instrument. Volume 1 and 2 is recorded on a René Lacôte from 1820 owned by Prof. Erik Stenstadvold. And volume 3 is recorded on my own Gennaro Fabricatore from 1830. This is as of today all the known solo works by de Fossa. However, it is likely that we will discover more pieces in the near future, since there are holes in the opus numbers. For example: we have Fantasia 1 and 3, but not 2.
Artist Website | Spotify | iTunes | Tidal | CD Sales on CDON
Verdi’s Guitar by Alan Rinehart
Ravello Records proudly presents VERDI’S GUITAR, an album by guitarist Alan Rinehart made up of six fantasies for solo guitar by 19th-century composer guitarist/composer Josef (Johann) Kaspar Mertz. Each fantasy is based on an opera of the great Giuseppe Verdi, including such famous works as Nabucco, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata.
Artist Website | Ravello Records | Amazon | iTunes
¡Acentuado! by Yuri Liberzon
¡Acentuado!, the second album of classical guitarist Yuri Liberzon, has been released on major digital platforms and the traditional CD format. The ten-track recording features Argentine-born Astor Piazzolla’s six Tango-Études and all four movements of Historie du Tango: Bordel 1900, Café 1930, Nightclub 1960 and Concert d’aujourd’hui. Josué Casillas – Flute.
Artist Website | Bandcamp | Amazon | iTunes
Review: Cordoba C10 Classical Guitar
Cordoba ‘Luthier Series’ Line of Guitars
Solid Spruce top
Solid Indian Rosewood back & sides
650 mm scale length
Price range from around $1100 USD (via Amazon 2017)
Video review link (4k quality): https://youtu.be/SlnPJa0m04g
Bradford’s Opinion at a Glance
- Good balance and volume overall in smaller rooms (I tried it in larger room and it wasn’t as good as my $7000 guitar but great for the price).
- Great tone overall, compared to my guitar it has a bit of a plastic sound on occasion but really nothing I would complain much about and good for the price.
- I wish factory guitars made raised fingerboards on all guitars above a thousand bucks but no one is really doing that until a much bigger price jump.
- You can’t compare it to luthier made guitars in the +$6000 range but for the price I’m impressed and would happily recommend it to my students. I’m teaching on it right now and I’m happy to continue doing so.
Cordoba’s Promotional Blurb:
One of the original models in Cordoba’s Luthier series, the Cordoba C10 is built with the choice of a solid Canadian cedar top or solid European spruce top with solid Indian rosewood back and sides. The C10 features a fan bracing pattern, which gives the center of the soundboard more surface area to vibrate and respond to the tension of the strings. A more responsive soundboard makes the guitar louder, and provides better tone. The C10 is the perfect choice for the serious classical guitarist, or for any player looking to upgrade to a concert-level instrument at an affordable price.
Like every guitar in the Luthier series, the C10 is built with Spanish heel construction, where the top of the guitar is attached to the neck, the sides are added next, and the guitar’s body is sealed by the installation of the back. This construction feature allows the entire instrument to vibrate as one unified piece. The C10 has the neck shape and flat fingerboard characteristic of traditional classical guitars, and includes the added benefit of a two-way truss rod built into the neck. Cordoba recently expanded upon the C10, offering two new options that appeal to guitarists from all backgrounds: the C10 Parlor, which has a 7/8 size body shape and 50mm nut width, and the C10 Crossover, which is a full size guitar with a slim neck profile, radiused fingerboard, and 48mm nut width.
Aesthetic touches like the pearloid weave rosette inspired by a 1920’s Domingo Esteso guitar add a touch of vintage elegance to this best-seller. Other premium features include an ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge, and high gloss finish. The C10 includes Cordoba’s lightweight polyfoam case.
Specs via the Cordoba Website
- Top: Solid European spruce or Canadian cedar
- Back & Sides: Solid Indian rosewood
- Binding/Bridge: Indian rosewood binding/Indian rosewood bridge
- Purfling/Inlay: 6 ply colored wood top purfling, 3 ply maple and ebony back and side purfling
- Rosette: Pearloid “Esteso” weave
- Finish: High Gloss PU
- Neck/Fingerboard: Mahogany neck/Ebony fingerboard/ Traditional (Classical) Style Neck
- Truss Rod: Two-way adjustable, 4mm
- Scale Length: 650mm
- Nut Width: 52mm
- String Spacing at Saddle: 59mm
- Fret Marker Inlays: 5, 7, 9
- Nut/Saddle: Bone
- Number of Frets: 12 to body, 19 total
- Bracing/Build: Spanish heel neck joint, Fan Bracing
- Body Width & Length: 290mm at upper bout, 370mm at lower bout/ 490mm body length
- Overall Length 39″
- Body Depth: 95mm (3.7″) at upper bout, 97mm (3.8″) at lower bout
- Tuning Machines: Cordoba Premium Gold Tuning Machines
Also see my other Cordoba Review:
GFA Education Director, Matthew Denman, has been appointment as Southwestern Division Representative to the NAfME Council for Guitar Education. Mr. Denman will join a fantastic group of guitar educators in leading the direction of guitar education in our country.
Official NAfME Announcement:
"Your nomination for membership on this council was based on your commitment to the inclusive principles that this council was created to further."
The amazing Rafael Aguirre plays Toccata para guitarra by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901–1999). This comes via the Paris Guitar Foundation and their YouTube Channel. “Directed by Augustin Pesnon. A movie shot at Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo’s residencies Madrid and San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Spain), where the Rodrigo family spent summer holidays.” The piece was only recently discovered in the archives of Regino Sainz de la Maza. Written in 1933 for Sainz de la Maza to play on his 1934 South American concert tour it wasn’t played in public until June 2006 by Marcin Dylla, in Madrid.
Sheet Music Plus: Toccata para guitarra by Rodrigo
17-year-old Jennifer Kim playing Variations on a Theme by Sor (the theme precedes Sor La Folia or Les Folies D’Espagne) by Miguel Llobet (1878-1938) on a 1965 Ignacio Fleta classical guitar at the Guitar Salon International showroom in Santa Monica, CA via their great YouTube Channel. With great musicality and virtuosity to match Jennifer Kim is a fantastic young player. Some real focus and efficient left hand shifts too she is clearly not afraid to take risk!
Sheet Music: The old Chanterelle editions seem to be hard to find but this new Japanese edition looks great and has most of his popular solo works, Llobet Guitar Works via Amazon.
Russian guitarist Alexei Khorev plays Hika & Un Dia di November by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (b.1939) at the IV International Festival and Competition Guitar Magic in St. Petersburg. This comes via the festival YouTube Channel. Great playing by Khorev and I always love hearing Hika. Plus, the soundhole on that guitar is so massive I just want to stare at it the whole time. So many great players in Russia these days, would love to learn more about the teaching over there.
Sheet Music: Un Dia de Noviembre via Amazon, Hika seems to be strangely unavailable but many university libraries have it.
Easy Christmas Songs for Guitar – Volume 2
Solo Fingerstyle Arrangements with Lyrics & Chords
Includes Two Editions: Notation & Notation + TAB
YouTube Videos (4k quality): https://youtu.be/gcqH_VgDOA4
Songs: Deck the Hall, God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, I Saw Three Ships, The Holly and the Ivy, Silent Night.
About This Collection
Easy Level: Melody + Bass Notes + Common Chord Shapes
These easy Christmas arrangements are for beginner or intermediate guitarists looking for easy sight-readable songs for the holiday season. I’ve added the lyrics and chords to make them as useful as possible in group or family settings if singing occurs. More advanced guitarists may wish to improvise or work-out intros and extra accompaniment. Otherwise, the arrangements are simple melodies plus bass notes and some filling out of common first position chords. I wanted to create a nice and simple edition to relax over the holidays. Also see: Easy Christmas for Guitar Vol. 1.
Vol. 2 Sample:
Canadian guitarist Adam Batstone plays III. Parati from Three Divertimentos by Sergio Assad (b. 1952) plus Mysterious Habitats & Unconscious in Brazil by Dušan Bogdanović (b.1955). This comes via his YouTube Channel. Guitar by Kamil Jaderny 2015. Video & sound by the amazing producer and guitarist Drew Henderson. Some great playing by Batstone, ranging from virtuosic to beautifully mesmerizing. Love that Assad piece, the other two movements are cool as well. You can find the sheet music for Three Divertimentos on Amazon or Mysterious Habits via SBM…not sure about Unconscious…
The fantastic Croatian guitarist Zoran Dukic plays Invierno Porteño by Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992), arranged by Sergio Assad. This comes via GuitarCoop and their great YouTube Channel. Such fluid and rapid musical lines, a few of them really shocked me! Dukic is unique, tasteful, and fearless. These advanced but high-quality arrangements of the four Estaciones Porteña by Assad are a bit hard to find, they were published in Guitar Review (Summer 1995) long ago and might exist in this new published book via Strings by Mail but I can’t verify that…
Scottish guitarist Matthew McAllister plays Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond (Murray Neil, arr. Russell). This comes via Slovenian guitarist/producer Uros Baric on his YouTube Channel. Beautiful playing as usual from the always-musical McAllister. Visit Uros’ fantastic record label Baros Records where you can buy McAllister’s recording Celtic Collection Vol.1 “Dedicated to music from Scotland and Ireland, Celtic Collection is a project many years in the making and a true reflection of Matthew’s global popularity on the concert platform. Featuring arrangements by David Russell, Scott Tennant, Toru Takemitsu, Gerald Garcia and McAllister, Celtic Collection is packed with soulful and poignant music telling the very personal story of Matthew’s musical journey thus far.” Learn more or buy at: barosrecords.com/celticcollection1.
FYI, the Russell arrangements on Sheet Music Plus: Message of the Sea, Celtic Music for Guitar, Vol. 1
El Noi de la Mare – arranged by Miguel Llobet (1878–1938)
From Canciones populares Catalanas
Free PDF Sheet Music for Classical Guitar
Late-Intermediate or Early Advanced
Free Notation Edition & Notes + TAB Edition
Videos: Above Uros Baric, below Kyuhee Park.
El Noi de la Mare was popularized in the guitar world by Andrés Segovia who frequently performed Miguel Llobet’s guitar transcription as an encore. The piece is from Llobet’s collection of Catalan folk songs. It’s all about melody in this one. It’s playable for intermediates but beware of tricky chord shapes, stretches, and shifts despite the slow tempo. Join the Email Newsletter to get music updates or visit the sheet music page regularly. Please consider donating to the site to keep the free sheet music coming.
Free Notation Edition (PDF):
- El Noi de la Mare by Llobet [free PDF]
TAB + Notation Edition (PDF Download): $3.99
South Korean siblings, Guitar Duo Vito (Soojin Lee & Seongjun Lee) play Asturias (Leyenda) Op. 47 by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909). Definitely an energetic performance, I really like the crisp rasgueado and filled out sound. For those new to guitar, although you may know this iconic work for solo guitar, it is originally for piano so a duo arrangement is possibly preferable. This comes via The Classic Art on YouTube, here’s the blurb: “The guitar duo VITO consists of two highly talented guitarists from Seoul, Korea. Besides the fact that they are siblings, the duo is well-known for their many concert appearances, having played a vast array of repertoire ranging from Renaissance, Baroque, and Spanish music to tango, jazz, and film music.”
BTW, you can get the solo music for free here on the site: Asturias (Leyenda) Op. 47