Big thanks to Eric Charles Mokotoff for the great interview which he’s posted on his great Facebook Group (go join) and his Youtube (go subscribe). It’s a great discussion about my background but also method books and learning experiences that were influential along the way.The post Bradford Werner Interview with Eric Charles Mokotoff first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Canadian guitarist Emma Rush plays Waltz No.1 from Six Waltzes by Delores de Goñi (1813-1892). This comes via her excellent YouTube Channel. Played on a 19th Century Stuaffer replica guitar by Miodrag Žerdoner. Great playing by Rush, her phrasing and pacing add nicely to the light charm of the work. You can hear her play all six waltzes on her album Wake the Sigh which I featured here. The album focuses on rarely heard guitar music from the 19th century including composers: Emilia Guglielmi-Giuliani, Angiolina Panormo Huerta, Catharina Pratten, Susan Dommet, Julie Fondard, Julia Piston, and Delores de Goñi. Most of the works have never been recorded.The post Emma Rush Performs Waltz No. 1 by Delores de Goñi first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Q&A Lesson: Nails, Tone, & Sound on Classical Guitar. Thanks to all my Patreon supporters that submitted questions. Feel free to visit my Support Page. Most of the questions here are related to nails and tone except for one on string noise. Thanks to Stanley, Barbara, Karen, Ben, and Hayes.
Additional Material Mentioned in the Video
- Sitting Position for Classical Guitar
- Right Hand Position for Classical Guitar
- Fingernail Lesson for Classical Guitar
- My Classical Guitar Technique Book
Here’s the YouTube link if you want to watch the lesson there.The post Q&A Lesson: Nails, Tone, & Sound first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Gigue (Giga) from Suite in E Minor, BWV 996 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Performance, Lesson, Sheet Music.
Here’s the gigue lesson for my edition of the Suite in E Minor, BWV 996. I perform the piece, and then discuss an overview of practicing the piece and do a walk through. Here’s the Youtube Lesson Link if you want to watch it there.
Suite in E Minor, BWV 996 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – PDF sheet music for classical guitar. Comes with both a notation-only edition and a tab edition. Left hand fingering. PDF Download. The overall level is advanced but certain movements are easier than others. Movements: Praeludio-Presto, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Bourrée, Gigue. Popularly known as a Lute Suite but possibly written for the lute-harpsichord (lautenwerk), an uncommon Baroque keyboard instrument. In terms of the manuscript, performance difficulty, key signature, and suitability, this is more similar to a keyboard composition. However, the overall lighter texture compared to his keyboard works hints at the texture capable by a lute. Nevertheless, modern guitar players have embraced the work and have found various arranging solutions for successful performance. Read more info in my Preface to this edition in both the free and fingered editions below.The post Gigue, BWV 996 by Bach (Lesson, PDF) first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Fantastic! Canadian guitarist Michael Kolk performs the first movement, Allegro moderato from Sonate in a für Guitarre by Ferdinand Rebay (1880-1953). Audio and video by Henderson. Beautiful playing as usual from Kolk. I love how directional his phrasing is, he always has a clear destination for the listener. Nice contrasts of mood and articulation as well. This comes via his excellent YouTube channel where he mentions:
Here is the first movement from Ferdinand Rebay’s guitar sonata in A minor, composed in 1944. Rebay was an Austrian composer whose style was primarily neo-Romantic. His music was neglected for years and is only recently being discovered.
The complete sonata can be heard on his fantastic album 20th Century Guitar Sonatas, available through his website or on streaming platforms. I did a review of it back in 2020 if you want to learn more. He previously recorded the Jose Sonata which I featured and he’ll also be recording the Guastavino sonata from the album so you can look forward to that.The post Michael Kolk Performs Rebay first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
ABOVE – Dave Belcher performs the Sarabande from Cello Suite No. 2, BWV 1008 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This comes via his Youtube channel (go subscribe). Great playing by Belcher with a rhythmic, yet flowing, delivery of the musical lines and ornamentation. I’ve been enjoying his work at Classical Guitar Corner (see below) for his positive and professional lessons.
BELOW – Dave Belcher performs Comme des Etudes by Thierry Tisserand. This comes via our friends over at Classical Guitar Corner and their YouTube. CGC is great, I always like to send people over to them for dedicated help at their academy. Nice sensitive performance by Belcher with some beautiful arched phrasing and excellent pacing. Below is their YouTube blurb:
This piece is part of a larger masterclass on the guitar music of French composer and guitarist Thierry Tisserand taught by our Community Manager, Dave Belcher. Each of Tisserand’s “Comme des Etudes” serve different technical and musical purposes and are great for the intermediate guitarist (we’ve placed this piece in Grade 4). No. 3 focuses on slurs and is a great study for working on slurs while holding on to notes with other fingers. It’s a delicate piece with a nice flowing character.The post Dave Belcher Performs Bach & Tisserand first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Fantastic. Antonio Rugolo and Angelo Gillo play Duo Concertant Op.31, No.3 by Antoine de Lhoyer (1768-1852) on 1820 Panormo replica guitars made by luthier Luigi Locatto. This comes vis Rugolo’s Youtube channel. Lhoyer was was a French virtuoso guitarist and an eminent early romantic composer of mainly chamber music featuring the classical guitar. The duos are of particular interest as they are numerous and pretty high quality compared to his guitar composer contemporaries. Amazing performance filled with some beautiful phrasing but also shocking tempos and articulations. They are relentless.
I. Allegro agitato
II. Romance – Andante Sostenuto
III. Rondo – Poco vivace
Intimate Impressions by Canadian guitarists Adam Cicchillitti and Steve Cowan feature beautiful performances of 20th century works written in Paris. From refined phrasing, high virtuosity, as well as gorgeous tone and recording quality, Intimate Impressions is one of the finest albums of 2021. Listeners can enjoy some fantastic arrangements of 20th century master composers such as Debussy and Ravel as well as André Jolivet’s Sérénade, originally written for two guitars. The album also features the music of Germaine Tailleferre and Federico Mompou and a solo work for each performer to showcase their individual playing style. I found the Jolivet Sérénade to be the most interesting work in terms of combining compositional style with the full spectrum of articulations and colours capable in guitar orchestration. Many of the musical textures and effects work exceptionally well along with the musical motifs and Cicchillitti and Cowan pull it off beautifully. The Sérénade offers more authentic opportunities to vary the colour and texture compared to the arrangements that are better served by a more pianistic style on guitar. That said, the blending of the two on the Ravel Sonatine is superb, making the music feel right at home on two guitars. Musical playing and virtuosic flourishes make this a must-listen album for general listeners and guitarists alike. Highly recommended.
Album Description (read more of the booklet here).
This recording is composed of music originally written for piano, harp, or two guitars by leading 20th century composers who spent the bulk of their careers working in Paris. The arrangements, the majority of which are by the Cicchillitti/Cowan duo, eloquently illustrate that the tone colours, intimacy, and pure lyricism of the composers’ styles are ideally suited to the guitar, and that the harmonic language translates beautifully to a guitar duo.
The recording also bears witness to the striking contrasts in compositional styles of the period and of the individual composers. So-called impressionist, neoclassical, neoromantic, or surreal tendencies all had their adherents, as this recording reveals. Compare the sensorial lyricism of Claude Debussy to the very personal neoclassical style of Maurice Ravel or the improvisatory and intimate miniatures of Federico Mompou to the biting wit and deliciously spicy character of Germaine Tailleferre’s music. It is also a wonderful opportunity to savour the dissonance and polytonality of André Jolivet’s Sérénade, the only original work for two guitars included in this highly attractive recording.
Listen to some of the album, I recommend the Jolivet’s Sérénade but also the wonderful blending on the Ravel Sonatine.
Here’s a solo performance of repertoire from the album via Cicchillitti’s YouTube.The post Intimate Impressions by Adam Cicchillitti & Steve Cowan first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Times & Questions
- 1:07 – Maintaining Left Hand Thumb and Posture Positions (Donna/Patti)
- 5:03 – Right Hand Finger Independence (Laurina)
- 8:23 – Tight Left Hand Fingerings (Winifried)
- 10:50 – Switching to Various Guitars (Steven)
- 13:38 – String Damping (Junko/David)
- 19:34 – Favourite Exercises for the LH (John)
- 24:44 – Right Hand Pinky (c) (Phillipe)
- 27:06 – LH Strain in First Position (Ben)
Additional Material Mentioned in the Video
- Lesson Page for More on Each Topic
- My Technique Book with Exercises for Every Level
- Giuliani Damping Etude
- Triadic Arpeggios
Vals, No.2 from Capullos de Abril, Op.40 for Guitar by José Viñas (1823-1888). Includes both a Notation-Only Edition and a TAB Edition. The level is Early-Intermediate (Approximately Grade 4). Left Hand Fingering. This is a PDF download.
Buy the Sheet Music or Tab
- USA, EU, AUS, Canada: Buy the PDF from Werner Guitar Editions
- UK, India, Asia, 30+ Countries: Buy the PDF from my Etsy Store
I love finding early intermediate works that have some length and contrasting sections but aren’t too difficult. This work fits perfectly as an excellent performance piece for students around the grade 3 to 4 level. The original has a time signature of 3/8 with shared accompaniment and bass voices but the clean look of 3/4 and the clear separation of voices is preferable. The fingering and slurs are editorial as I think these work much better than the original for legato phrasing and modern guitar technique. YouTube Video Lesson LinkSamples (Click to Enlarge)Vals, No.2, Op.40 by Vinas (Lesson, PDF) first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Tariq Harb performs the 36 Caprices Op. 20 by Luigi Legnani (1790–1877). This comes via Harb’s fantastic YouTube Channel. Harb is in the process of recording all of the Caprices so go subscribe to his channel to see the rest as they are posted. I’ll also update this page as he goes. I wrote him saying that he was freaking me out with how fast and well he’s presenting these works. He mentioned that he might be making educational lessons for them and putting out an edition so we can all look forward to that in the future. Bonus points for the Douglass Scott guitar!
Here’s a little info on the caprices via this Naxos. “The Thirty-Six Caprices for guitar, Op. 20, may have been inspired by Paganini’s Twenty-four Caprices for violin, Op. 1…Like Paganini’s Capricci, Legnani’s are alternately dramatic, expressive, or brilliant as the composer explores most of the textures possible on his instrument. As an unusual feature, Legnani’s Thirty-six capricci also include pieces in twenty-two different keys; only C# minor and G# minor are missing….In part because Legnani’s Capricci venture into this unexplored territory, they have become classics of guitar pedagogy, constantly in print since their introduction. But the transcendent technical difficulties which some or the Capricci consequently present also explain why all but a few or these works, in spite of their unquestionable pedagogical and musical value, are rarely recorded or heard in concert.”The post Tariq Harb Plays Legnani Caprices first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Nocturne Op.4, No.3 Maestoso-Vivace by Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) – This performance and lesson comes from my book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 6 – Five pieces at the grade six level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
Jump to a section: Intro (3:33), Arpeggios (5:40), Bars 11 & 19-21 (9:57), Walk-Through (13:58).
There are no new techniques to learn for this Nocturne (night music). It’s also not a particularly difficult piece when played at a slow tempo. However, once you approach faster tempos for the Vivace (fast) section you may find this piece a good challenge. The introduction is marked as Maestoso which is an indication to play in stately, dignified, or majestic fashion. You can play this with a relatively slow tempo but fast enough to keep the phrase moving forward. Add a little rubato, a push and pull to the rhythm, for expressive effect. When you reach the vivace section, aim for a steady and fast dance feel of two beats per bar. More musical ideas will be covered in the video lesson. There are a few triadic arpeggios in this work which can serve as an excellent technique preparation for arpeggios, shifts, and jumps across the fretboard. Here’s the YouTube link if you want to watch it there.The post Lesson: Nocturne Op.4, No.3 by Mertz first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Peter Graneis plays Pièce en forme de Passacaille by Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986). This comes via Siccas Guitars and their great YouTube channel. I’ve featured Graneis a few times before and appreciate his musical energy and careful attention to motifs and articulations throughout the compositions he performs. Tansman is great and we are lucky to have the handful of guitar works from the renown Polish composer. There’s a nice write up on this piece by Frédéric Zigante via this Naxos:
Pièce en forme de passacaille, written in 1953, is a broadranging composition which was recently discovered after almost 50 years of oblivion in the archives of the Segovia Foundation. It is based on an ostinato and ten variations, which is then re-proposed six more times in an instrumentally complex fugato. This masterful composition is a perfect synthesis of the solemnity of the Baroque style and the subtly flexible harmony—alternately mobile and static—of Tansman’s music. Starting with the exposition of the bass ostinato, the composition uses a bass D sharp which obliges the performer to tune the sixth string in D, even though the piece is in E minor: the scordatura, which is, in itself, customary, seemed tonally unorthodox to Segovia and he therefore decided not to perform it. Above and beyond the appearances, this is one of Tansman’s few guitar compositions in which he paid evident attention to the piece’s effective performability: its sound is clear and spontaneous and few adjustments are needed for its correct execution. The Passacaille also represents one of Tansman’s few concessions to a typical effect of the guitar, the tremolo, which is used here as a dramatic, expressive resource and not, as is usually the case, as a purely ornamental effect.The post Peter Graneis Plays Passacaille by Tansman first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
I had a great time doing this interview for Matthew McAllister‘s excellent Gallery of Guitar YouTube channel. Go subscribe now because he’ll be interview and featuring more players and community members in his series! You can watch the performance or interview on Youtube if your prefer.
It was a fun talk and we discuss a lot of ideas related to music, my site, distance learning, and life. The piece I played for his channel is French Chanson Le Plus Gorgias Du Monde (Anon) in a setting by Francesco Canova da Milano (1497–1543) in an exclusive performance made for his Gallery of Guitar YouTube channel.The post Interview and Performance for Matthew McAllister’s Gallery of Guitar first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Times & Questions
- 0:55 – Reaching Higher Levels (Ralph)
- 4:52 – Studying other genres of music (John)
- 8:35 – Repertoire Maintenance and Practice (Ernesto/Hayes)
- 13:58 – How to approach a new piece (Karen)
- 17:58 – Recording your practice to learn (Walt)
Here are some extra resources related to the questions
- How to Practice Music and Organize Your Practice Session
- Lesson: Practicing Difficult Passages in Music
- Practicing Technique Through Your Repertoire
- Accomplish Small Goals and Feel Positive When Practicing
- The Gap Between Good Taste and Being Able to Do Good Work
- McAllister Vlog Lessons: Work through adversity
Here’s the YouTube video link if you want to watch it there.The post Q&A Lesson: Practicing Music & Reaching Higher Levels first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Great to hear this new album of solo works played by Canadian guitarist Pascal Valois on a Romantic guitar by Cabasse-Bernard (c.1820). Composers include Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) and Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829). It’s filled with some of the great Italian guitarist/composers of the early Romantic era and an excellent larger form sonata by Giuliani. You should also check out Valois’s other album of Napoleonian Guitar Sonatas that show his continuing interest in the era. I love the sound of the charming Romantic guitar that cleans up the texture with a soft plucky sound. Nice playing by Valois with some beautiful moments throughout. My favourite work was the Op.15 Sonata by Giuliani which is one of the more significant works in the repertoire and hearing it on a period instrument gives it an extra charm. Below is the intro paragraph from the album booklet which you can download and read more from at Analekta.
In the early 19th century, Italian music reigned over the guitar repertoire. Virtuoso works in which melody predominated were strongly influenced by the period’s omnipresent bel canto style. Bel canto, or the art of beautiful singing, has a series of characteristics typically associated with the voice. On this recording, I attempt to use elements of bel canto to highlight the lyricism of the melodic lines. My approach to these works includes an emphasis on phrasing, bringing out different accents, and using rubato, improvisation, and ornamentation. My hope is to reveal the splendour of the Italian Romantic guitar.
Here’s a live performance of one of the works from the album.The post Napoli 1810: Italian Romantic Music by Pascal Valois first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
João Luiz plays Fandango from Tres Piezas Españolas by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999). This comes via his YouTube channel. Luiz has posted a number of semi-causal yet virtuosic home performances that I previously featured. Fantastic musicality with sharp articulations and virtuosic figuration and rhythmic drive. His left hand technique is so pleasing to watch too, placement is so confident.
Find sheet music via Sheet Music Plus: Tres Piezas Espanolas.The post João Luiz plays Fandango by Rodrigo first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Lesson: Giuliani Arpeggios No. 1-3 and How they Relate to Repertoire Practice – From 120 Arpeggio Exercises for the Right Hand, Op.1 by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829). My lesson covers some technique tips, how they relate to practicing repertoire, planting practice, and more. The other video on how to practice the 120 arpeggios is below or at this lesson post.
These arpeggios and the 100 open string arpeggios I mention are from my book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and Arpeggios. The 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.The post Lesson: Giuliani Arpeggios No.1-3 first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
Finnish guitarist Mari Mäntylä plays Orfeo (I.Adagio, II.Allegretto, III.Adagio) by Russian composer Nikita Koshkin (b.1956) on a 10-string guitar (decacorde). This comes via her great YouTube channel. Great playing by Mäntylä with an excellent dynamic range, phrasing, and long form determination. Love this 10-string guitar, it would be great to hear some Weiss and other lute repertoire on it with original relative tunings.The post Mari Mäntylä plays Orfeo by Koshkin first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.
This performance and lesson comes from my book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 6 – Five pieces at the grade six level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
Jump to a section: Intro (1:46), Arpeggios (3:02), Slurs (4:17), Barre (5:36), Hinge-Barre (7:10), Walk-Through (11:04).
Etude No.13, Op.100 by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) – This a great study of arpeggios, slurs, and control over the texture. For this work I recommend turning the arpeggios, slurs, and barres into technique exercises to accomplish the skills before you tackle the piece itself. This is called “spot practicing” and turning your repertoire into technique exercises – When learning a new piece or maintaining a performance piece, you may find it helpful to use parts of your piece as technique exercises to train your muscle memory and stimulate your practice sessions. Here’s the YouTube link if you want to watch it there.
Here’s an additional video about hinge and pivot barres.The post Lesson: Etude No.13, Op.100 by Giuliani first appeared on This is Classical Guitar.