After last week’s sojourn into jazz I take my first steps into classical music but into an area some might find surprising. Rather than featuring piano or violin led orchestral music I have gone for the much more restrained classical guitar.
Remember, boil the kettle, make your coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy world-class playing.
Julian Bream was born into music (1933), his father being a jazz guitarist. Wikipedia describes him as
“a British classical guitarist and lutenist and is one of the most distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century. He has also been successful in renewing popular interest in the Renaissance lute.”
That’s a new word to me “lutenist”.
First up is a duet with another British classical guitarist, John Williams.
Suite for Two Guitars William Lawes
Even to my untutored ear this has a very early feel to it and, if I have the correct William Lawes (1603 – 1645), we are looking at this piece being written in the early-to-mid 1600’s.
This piece has the qualities I love about classical guitar: absolute clarity, simplicity of, and fragility of, sound. It’s almost as though were I to turn away the sound would fade.
I hadn’t known that Bream was considered a child prodigy. He studied piano and cello at the Royal Academy but, with his father’s background, guitar couldn’t have been far away.
We move onto our second piece with
Mallorca op.202 in F# minor Isaac Albéniz
According to the video, this was written for piano in 1890 and transcribed for the classical guitar by Andrés Segovia.
The highest rated comment to this video says,
“Thanks so much I have been looking for this recording of Mallorca for so long, this one is the best, his tone is soothing throughout it, played with finesse, just goes together so smoothly”
I must admit I wondered about including this but this touched me in a way I can’t describe and ”in” it had to be.
I don’t know if I have included his most famous pieces: I didn’t consult any list other than YouTube’s search results. I listened and listened until I found those pieces which were clearly for me and then I selected from this sub-group.
I should also add that I don’t have the vocabulary to describe accurately how I feel about the music. I will do my best though. I hope it makes sense to you.
Two greats come together now to play music by a third great!
Enjoy Julian and Stephane Grapelli playing Django Reinhardt.
Nuages Django Reinhardt
Perfection in jazz. Perhaps I can move beyond the 1920’s!
Did you see how much they admired the other’s artistry?
Concierto de Aranjuez Joaquin Rodrigo
This is my one concession to the guitar in an orchestral setting.
This concerto is in 2 parts. You can listen to Part 2 here. The second part is, I think, the better known but I preferred Part 1. No words, just did.
If you want to read more about this concerto then visit here.
I was surprised to see that Julian is 77. He has always seemed to me to be the same age: balding, intense but totally with his music.
Another comment read,
“To me Julian was never really a guitarist... he was someone who happened to choose this instrument to interpret music with... he would have been great on any instrument...”
Who am I to argue.
The second half of the show starts with a coffee top-up. That’s what I’m doing right now.
A very short piece: just under 2 minutes but packed with magic.
Study in A Major Francisco Tarrega
I have no idea what feelings are behind this but I find it very uplifting, almost spiritual but not in any anthemic way. Am I being a pseud here? I hope not! It’s as though a small child is being guided very carefully and gently to God.
I suppose all that matters is what the music does for me. LOTS!
Joaquin Malats (transcribed by F Tarrega)
I’m lost for words here other than I love this for its “colour”.
Perhaps you can do better!
Oh no! Time is running out. Only 2 to go but ….. they’re good!
Firstly, we go back to another Bream / Williams duet.
Clair de Lune Claude Debussy
I’m swept away on a wave to ….. heaven! Absolutely gorgeous.
I always get to this point and realise I haven’t written as much as I had planned about the featured artist. I get so carried away by the music – and this week is no exception – that I have to push on with the next piece.
This piece I kept deliberately for the finish because I can think of no better way of saying thank you to you for listening and to Julian for opening my ears.
Gavotte Choro from Suite Populaire Bresilienne
You can click on “replay” if you want. I did! I find it unbelievable that this video has had so few views.
Everything is all right.
You can go home now!
Love is waiting there for you,
Love is waiting there for you!
Well, that’s it for another week. I’ve had enormous fun putting the show together. Magical!! I hope you enjoyed your coffee and the music. Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.