Joaquin Rodrigo was born in Sagunto, Valencia, and lost his sight at the age of three. Despite this, he began to study piano and violin at the age of eight. Many credit him with raising the Spanish guitar to dignity as a universal concert instrument and he is best known for his guitar music. However, he never mastered the instrument himself.
Drew Henderson is a virtuoso classical guitarist often cited as one Canada’s best young classical guitarists. Here he plays the final movement of Tres Piezas Españolas by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999)
Here South Korean brother and sister (Soojin and Seongjun Lee) play Asturias (Leyenda) Op. 47 by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909). This well-known classical guitar piece, although usually played as a solo performance, was originally written for piano, so a duo arrangement probably comes closer to the composer’s original intent.
Ana Vidovic plays La Catedral by Augustine Barrios, one of the hardest classical guitar pieces to play.
Ana is of Croatian origin and started playing the classical guitar at five years of age. She started performing at the age of eight and is now 37 years of age (as at 2017) and is an internationally recognised performing and recording artist. She plays classical guitars designed and built by the Australian luthier Jim Redgate.
I have featured another piece written by Barrios in my previous post.
David Russell performs “Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios” (Alms for the love of God). The last piece by Paraguayan classical guitarist and composer, Agustín Pío Barrios a Paraguayan virtuoso and composer, regarded as one of the greatest performers and most prolific composers for the classical guitar. His music remained undiscovered for over three decades after his death.
A wonderfully lyrical and somewhat wistful composition by the Cuban composer and classical guitarist Leo Brouwer. Some people find this kind of music a little too sombre, but I think that it is ideally suited to the classical guitar. Tatyana is an accomplished player and both good to listen to and to look at 🙂
This a beautiful but difficult piece originally written by Stanley Meyers for the piano but transcribed and expanded for guitar at the request of John Williams. Meyers wrote it for the film The Walking Stick in 1970, but it only became well known eight years later when it was used as the theme for The Deer Hunter.
John Williams was the first to perform Cavatina on the classical guitar. He recalls that when Andres Segovia heard him playing it he remarked that it was ‘a very pretty tune’. The word ‘cavatina’ is an Italian musical term meaning ‘a short song of simple character’, but the piece is anything but simple to play.
Here one of my favourite guitarists, Per-Olov Kindgren, plays Cavatina
If you let the clip play on you will discover a beautiful bonus, John Williams playing Julia Florida by Barrios.
In 1826 Shubert wrote this song as part of the Schwanengesang collection. These tunes turned out to be his last works and that is why the publisher called them ‘Swan song’ (Schwanengesang). J.K Mertz (1806 – 1856) transposed the Serenade for the guitar and ever since then it has been a favourite among guitar virtuosos. Here is Marcin Dylla’s beautiful rendition:
From time to time I will be posting video clips of great classical guitar pieces.
This is the Russian virtuoso Alexey Zimakov playing the intimidatingly difficult Troika Variations. Don’t you just love his footstool?!
In December 2012 Alexey fell asleep outside his apartment block in Tomsk, Siberia in -44C weather conditions. His fur-lined coat kept him warm but when he awoke in the morning all his fingers had severe frostbite. The surgeon there had to remove all eight fingers! What a tragedy! What a player!