Emmanuel Sowicz plays his arrangement of Gracias a la vida by Violeta Parra (1917–1967). This comes via Open Strings Berlin and their amazing Youtube Channel. Nice phrasing and pacing by Sowicz who handles that insistent little motive vey nicely. Violeta Parra was a Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, and visual artist. She pioneered the Nueva canción chilena (The Chilean New Song), a renewal and a reinvention of Chilean folk music that would extend its sphere of influence outside Chile. Parra is acknowledged as “the Mother of Latin American folk” – Read more on her wiki. I’ve featured Sowicz a few times if you’d like to hear more.
Paul Bizot plays Menuet No.10 Op.11 by Fernando Sor (1778–1839) on a 2019 Felipe Conde Crespo guitar. This comes via Siccas Guitars and their great YouTube channel. I don’t feature Sor on the site enough and there are still so many pieces I don’t know well. Op. 11 has a few variations and twelve menuets. Really nice example of fine writing in the classical style. Nice playing by Bizot with good shaping and melodic direction.
Gavotte (a ma soeur Amanda) by Alberto C. Obregon (1872-1922) for Classical Guitar. From No.2 from Trois Morceaux. Free PDF Sheet Music (both notation only and a tab edition). Level: Intermediate (Grade 4-5). HD YouTube Lesson Link
Free PDF Sheet Music – Both Notation Only and a TAB Edition
Obregon was a Spanish amateur guitarist who briefly studied with Tarrega. This piece has a certain flamboyant period charm. It can be satisfying as an intermediate Spanish work with plenty of Romantic rubato and not a strong compositional element other than a pleasing sound and feel on the guitar. Besides some thick chord shapes it is pretty easy once you get to know it.
Canadian guitarist Steve Cowan plays Prelude by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), arranged by Rafael Andia for Éditions transatlantiques. This comes via Cowan’s great YouTube channel. You can also hear it on his album Arctic Sonata on Spotify or iTunes. Video and sound by Drew Henderson. Beautiful little piece and nice arrangement. Originally for piano and titled No Walk Today. Great pacing and phrasing by Cowan who always offers a special musical touch.
French guitarist Jérémy Jouve plays Capriccio Diabolico “Omaggio a Paganini”, Op.85 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968). This comes via the Paris Guitar Foundation and their YouTube channel. Directed by Augustin Pesnon. Amazing performance as usual from Jouve with beautiful phrasing wonderfully combined with virtuosity. Composed in 1935, Castelnuovo-Tedesco dedicated it to the Andrés Segovia. Segovia commissioned the work as a tribute to the romantic virtuoso Niccolò Paganini.
Sheet Music – I recommend this newer edition by Gilardino based on the manuscript rather than Segovia’s edition.
Kevin Loh and Ekachai Jearakul play Sanzen-in (三千院) by Andrew York. This comes via Loh’s great YouTube Channel. Loh had this to say and more (check his YouTube): “Andrew York was inspired to write this piece, Sanzen-in, when he visited the Sanzen-in Temple in Kyoto, Japan. I particularly enjoy listening to a YouTube video of Bill Kanengiser and Scott Tennant playing this piece in Portland. This was a piece that was on the list of pieces to be played, and it was a great opportunity to work on this piece with Ekachai.”
Flauguissimo Duo with Yu-Wei Hu (Baroque flute) & Johan Löfving (Theorbo) play Flute Sonata in G Major Op.2 No.1, Adagio – Presto by Michel Blavet (1700–1768). Blavet was a French composer and flutist from the Baroque era. This comes via the duo’s great YouTube channel. Beautiful playing by both performers and I love the combo of the smooth Baroque flute with the plucking theorbo. Pure charm. Recorded by TallWall Media at Asylum Church London, May 2018. Also see my post about their fantastic album A Salon Opera by Flauguissimo Duo.
Italian guitarist Lorenzo Micheli plays XIII. Quién más rendido? (Book III) from Caprichos de Goya, op. 195 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968). This comes via Micheli’s great YouTube channel. I’m sure you already know Micheli from his GFA win or his work in the amazing SoloDuo. Fantastic performance here with all the right ingredients: great musicality, clarity, sharp articulations to smooth legato phrasing, and virtuosity to spare.
El Sueño (Reverie para Guitarra) for Guitar by José Viñas (1823-1888) – PDF Sheet Music or Tab for Classical Guitar. First Tremolo Arrangement by Domingo Prat (1886-1944) – Includes a Notation Edition and a Notation + TAB Edition. The level is Late-Intermediate (Approximately Grade 7).
Sheet Music or TAB Edition (PDF)
Enjoy this beautiful tremolo piece by Viñas which is a great piece to add to your repertoire before tackling the larger tremolo works of Tarraga or Barrios. It is fairly easy overall in terms of the left hand but I’ve placed it at Grade 7 simply because of the tremolo. The First tremolo arrangement by Domingo Prat (1886-1944). The original composition by Viñas does not have a three note tremolo, it only has two notes. However, the Prat arrangement has become the standard version of the piece. I am following the Prat arrangement with the exception of some fingering in the introduction and the first ending at Bar 16. Youtube Lesson Link (4k).
Need a Tremolo Lesson? Tremolo Exercises from my Technique Book
Lorenzo Bernardi (guitar) and Carlo Aonzo (mandolin) play Serenata Malinconica by Raffaele Calace (1863 – 1934) at the Trento Sala Filarmonica, Italy. This comes via Bernardi’s great YouTube Channel. Raffaele Calace (1863 – 1934) was an Italian mandolin player, composer, and luthier. Love the charming sound of classical guitar with mandolin which makes the guitar sound so warm and gentle as the mandolin twinkles above it.
Grazioso, Op.50, No. 23 from Le Papillon by Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829) – Free PDF Sheet Music or Tab for Classical Guitar. Free notation edition or buy the notation + tab edition, Modern Fingering, PDF Download. Level: Intermediate (Grade 5).
Free Notation Only Edition
TAB Edition (PDF)
An etude for holding and listening to bass note sustain. This lesson and etude is from Op.1, Part 3, No.1 by Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829) and is an excellent exercise and etude for intermediate and above students. As Giuliani mentions in the original, sustain the bass for the full value of the note throughout the entire piece. This results in some oddity fingerings but makes for an excellent etude and an important lesson in listening for students. Includes fingering, notation, and Tab if you need it. Youtube Lesson Link (4k).
Marco De Biasi plays Fantasia [Poulton No.73 – A Fancy] by Elizabethan composer and lutenist John Dowland (1563-1626). This comes via his YouTube Channel. He’s also a great composer, I performed some of Marco De Biasi’s studies (studio) for guitar trio last year which are pretty cool pieces with interesting textures and rhythmic curiosities. I highly recommend checking out his compositions and work. He is also an artist/painter, see more at his website.
Here’s his YouTube blurb: “Here is the second of four videos I recorded on June 21th in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Lestans (UD). Here, as in the others, I wanted to record without audio editing in order to return an absolutely faithful and sincere idea of execution; therefore the different shots belong to the same musical gesture. Marco De Biasi is a D’Addario artist.”
Portuguese guitarist Rebeca Oliveira plays a programme of music for the Deutscher Gitarrenpreis 2019 . This comes via her amazing Youtube Channel. Love her clean playing and pristine musicality. Excellent articulations and dynamic phrasing. Also, great to hear more music from the Portuguese composer Carlos Seixas (1704–1742). Below is the programme with times.
Carlos Seixas (1704-1742): Sonata 14 (Tr. von Rebeca Oliveira)
- Minuet I -II-I
5:07 | Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839): Menuett Op.11, Nr. 6 A-Dur;
7:22 | Eduardo Sainz de la Maza (1903-1982): Platero y Yo Suite:
11:30 | Dionísio Aguado (1784 – 1849): Fandango Varié, Op. 16
No.3 – Nostalgia (Petite Melodie) from Tres Piezas Faciles, Op.19 by Julio Sagreras (1879 -1942) for classical guitar. Free sheet music (notation edition) or buy the TAB, available in PDF format. Intermediate – Grade 4.
Free PDF Notation Edition
Buy the TAB Edition
- No.3 – Nostalgia by Sagreras (TAB) from Werner Guitar Editions – My dedicated sheet music store.
Julio Salvador Sagreras (1879–1942) was an Argentine guitarist, pedagogue, and composer. His many lessons are contained in a multi-volume method book that includes numerous studies. In this piece, stay very focused on the melody and practice the melody on its own. Watch for occasional bass muting on the rests. YouTube Video Lesson Link (4k)
Canadian guitarist Pascal Valois and Jacques-André Houle (violin) play Agitato from Sonate pour guitare avec accompagnement de violon, Op. 17, No. 1 by Antoine de Lhoyer (1768-1852). Romantic Guitar by Cabasse-Bernard, Mirecourt (ca. 1820). This comes via Valois’ YouTube Channel.
Great playing here with excellent ensemble work. I love hte plucky nature of the 19th century guitar that provides more of a clear rhythmic background compared to the modern guitar that can come off as boomy and mushy. Antoine de Lhoyer (L’Hoyer) was a French guitarist and composed numerous chamber music works featuring the classical guitar. He has a number of excellent guitar duets that are worth checking out.
Kremona KNA NG-1, AP-1 and Schaller Piezo Pickups for Classical Guitar
Behind the saddle and contact transducer piezo pickup solutions
Youtube Video Link (4k)
Buy or Learn More via Amazon
- Kremona KNA NG-1 – Behind the saddle, tie-block mounted piezo
- Kremona KNA AP-1 – Surface / contact mount piezo transducer pickup
- Schaller ‘Oyster’ – Surface / contact mount piezo transducer pickup
A review of the Kremona KNA NG-1, AP-1, and Schaller ‘Oyster’ Piezo Pickup for Nylon String Guitar. Need to amplify your classical guitar? These are pickups for classical guitars that are detachable and easy to use. The video includes an unboxing, installation, and demo tests. Some of the most convenient external pickup solutions for classical guitar.
Conclusion: The NG-1 sounds the most natural to me but the Schaller is the best build quality and so easy to use. I’ve had my Schaller for almost 20 years and it sounds as good if not better than the AP-1. Schaller is made in Germany. Just make sure to use some non-adhesive static cling protection for your guitar because the contact mics use a sticky putty to mount.
One thing I forgot to mention is that on 6 hole bridges there could be some loss of energy due to a slightly different angle of the string on the saddle. I think this is pretty minimal though, especially if tie the string low enough. On 12 hole bridges this is not an issue.
I was very pleased to listen to Sam Cave’s new album featuring contemporary music for guitar. It’s an exciting new release “exploring the resonance of the guitar and spectrum of harmonic overtones including music by Hoartiu Radulescu, Christopher Fox, Tristan Murail and two sonatas written by George Holloway.” You can read the full album notes in the digital booklet (PDF) which also includes detailed descriptions of the work by Cave and some of the composers.
The album opens with the beautiful and haunting Tellur (1977) by Tristan Murail which sets the sound stage for sonic exploration. In Murail’s own words “Tellur starts off as a kind of wager: how can one produce the long sound continua necessary for my work on procedures, transitions and evolutions, on an instrument that produces brief, plucked sounds?” The album then switches to new music composed for Cave including the two Sonatas by George Holloway. These are works of heavy contrast, both in compositional material but also in texture. The mix of beautifully spacious soundscapes filled with microtuning, harmonics, and fluttering impulses meet sharp accents and direct motives in a highly virtuosic performance. I really enjoyed the extra space in the Second Sonata and silent, yet intense, rhythmic pacing. Chile (1991) by Christopher Fox changes up the texture to explore South American rhythms in a hypnotic kaleidoscope of strumming. Fox has written a large number of chamber music works that include guitar that are well worth exploring. Subconscious Wave by Horaţiu Rădulescu is a real meditation on sound. In the performer’s words, “In this piece, Rădulescu’s only for guitar, the strings are microtonally retuned to match certain overtones from the harmonic spectrum of the note C. The performer then plucks, with varying degrees of resonance, a hugely complex array of natural harmonics against a backdrop of ever shifting digital sound. ” The album ends with Cave’s own composition which an intimate and contemplative piece that nicely ties the album together.
Refracted Resonance by Sam Cave is a daring and beautiful exploration of new soundscapes on the modern guitar. From intimate and spacious mediations to virtuosic contrasts, Cave creates new worlds of sound in focused and thoughtful performances of new music and pinnacle modern works.
From the performer
Sam Cave writes in the album notes: “For every note the guitar can play there are an infinite number of tone colors waiting to be coaxed from its body.” This is demonstrated very well in this collection of very new works, which extend the tone palette of the guitar in many ways, from the still, almost mantra-like Refracted Meditation III by the performer, to complex and thickly-textured works by Fox and Murail, two distinctive sonatas by George Holloway and the almost alien soundworld conjured up by Horaţiu Rădulescu in the only work which introduces electronics (taped sounds) alongside the pure acoustics of the guitar. The contrast between Cave’s sparse, single line interspersed with gentle chords, and Murail’s transfer of spectral cluster technique, is exceptional. – via Divine Art
- Tellur by Tristan Murail (b.1947)
- Guitar Sonata by George Holloway (b. 1983)
- Chile by Christopher Fox (b.1955)
- Second Guitar Sonata by George Holloway (b.1983)
- Subconscious Wave, Op. 58 by Horaţiu Rădulescu
- Refracted Meditations III by Sam Cave (b. 1987)
Canadian guitarist Brent Crawford plays Cavatina by Polish composer Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986). The movements: i) Preludio ii) Sarabande (3:27) iii) Scherzino (6:20) iv) Barcarole (9:10). This comes via his great YouTube channel with video work by the amazing Drew Henderson. Great playing by Crawford with a particularly nice Scherzino and some excellent phasing in the Barcarole. Crawford is a recent graduate of the Doctor of Musical Arts program (2018) from the University of Toronto.
Alex Park playing A Fancy by Elizabethan composer and lutenist John Dowland (1563-1626) via the excellent Guitar Salon International and their fantastic YouTube channel on a 2019 Dominik Wurth guitar. Dowland is one of my favourite composers and we are very lucky to be able to play his music which works well on the modern guitar. Great performance here by Park. He sets up the rhythmic feel and really keeps to it with ultra clean playing, nice phrasing, and clear voice separation. I’m used to a slightly more sweet and relaxed delivery but he really pulls it off with some high virtuosity at the end!