I've just read in BBC Music that JW considers Manuel Barrueco 'without equal in Spanish Virtuoso repertoire'. Is this JW being modest, as he has made magnificent recordings of Spanish Music from the 60s LPs through to his 90s CDs. Although Spanish music hasn't featured on his new recordings for a decade.
I'm listening to a Barrueco CD at the moment but I prefer JWs playing - JW doesn't over-dramatise the music, which Barrueco (and many others) does.
ted posted on Tuesday, 03 January, 2006 - 11:58 am
Hi Tim, I think JW admires Barrueco’s playing of Albeniz’s and Granados’ pieces. I would like to quote Barrueco on his guitar playing, “My ideal, is to play every note in a way that there's no other way to play it." Barrueco is so lyrical in his playing. Still if I could choose the one best spanish guitar music player, it is JW because I think his playing of pieces such as Asturia, Cordoba, and Sevilla is to be the standard interpretation.
Bill D posted on Tuesday, 03 January, 2006 - 08:47 pm
In my early days of record buying, I couldn't see past JW or the occasional Julian Bream but a guitarist friend introduced me to others.
I recommend Antigoni Goni and David Russell!
Tim posted on Wednesday, 04 January, 2006 - 12:53 am
Hi Bill and Ted
I've only ever heard Goni's Barrios, but I know I ought to track down her Mompou, Dominiconi etc. I'd also be interested to hear her duet CD with Kevin Gallagher which has repertoire like the celebrated Bream-Williams recordings.
Barrueco's Granados and Albeniz are all excellent, as too is Bream in the same music. I suppose some of what JW is getting at is that Barrueco has more in common with a pianist's approach to this music.
Going beyond one guitar the Trio Campanella's complete 'Iberia' is well worth a listen - 'Evocacion' comes as quite a surprise after the Bream-Williams record. They studied the music with Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha, and I think their approach has lot more in common with Barrueco's than JW's.
Bill D posted on Wednesday, 04 January, 2006 - 09:42 am
Goni's 'Koyunbaba' (Domeniconi) is great. Beautiful piece and playing. It's on a Naxos CD that isn't too hard to track down.
I have the Goni/Gallagher duet CD. It's called 'Evocación' and may be listed under 'Manhattan Guitar Duo'. Apparently, Goni and Gallagher couldn't stand each other on first sight.
Tim posted on Wednesday, 04 January, 2006 - 11:36 am
One day I will get that Naxos Goni disc - I've just never seen when I've had a fiver burning a hole in my pocket.
Gallagher's Naxos Laureate recital is marvellous, though the only Spanish music is rather earlier than Granados and Albeniz. I think it's one of Naxos's very best discs, highly recommended if you've not heard it.
I've had a look for the Goni-Gallagher Manhattan disc but without success (even via their web-sites). How does it compare performance-wise to Bream-Williams? (Bill, I remember you have a lot of personal memories for that disc).
Bill D posted on Wednesday, 04 January, 2006 - 10:20 pm
Funnily enough, I don't have the Gallagher Naxos!
What were my memories of that disc? (I'm gettin' old.) It's a while since I played it but I'm sure that I enjoyed it. I'll give at another go and tell you what I think. :-)
It's on Willow Shade Records. I think I ordered it straight from them but their web site (www.willowshade.com) appears to be defunct and the CD is now deleted. (Even www.findusedcds.com says it unavailable.) Willow Shade only seemed to have four artists, Antigoni Goni, Kevin Gallagher, David Kelsey and Stephen Webber on their roster.
I would do you a copy but (apart from the fact this is of course illegal) I am reluctant to put my e-mail address on here. However, I suppose that putting a postal address down would do no harm.
Tim posted on Wednesday, 04 January, 2006 - 11:49 pm
Look forward to seeing your report about the Manhattan duo on a re-listen. Don't blame your reluctance to leave an e-mail address in case it gets full of Spam, Spam, Spam... I've left e-mail addresses a couple of times and been lucky so far, only one 'investment opportunity' in Nigeria.
Bill D posted on Thursday, 05 January, 2006 - 09:35 am
I listened to a few tracks in the car on the way in to work. The best words I can think of are 'panache' and 'fun'. They play as if they are enjoying themselves. At times, it has the feeling of a concert and you can almost picture them sitting back and smiling at each other after a triumphant finish to a piece.
I know that isn't very musicological but that's the best I can do. :-)
Tim posted on Thursday, 05 January, 2006 - 03:44 pm
Panache / fun / enjoying themselves are enough to convince me. Some reviews which offer musicological analysis seem to forget that most listeners want to find out if they'll enjoy the music.
"Sitting back and smiling at each other..." - so they got on eventually then! Antigoni's website communicates her as a warm person. Gallagher's suggests a rather trickier personality (call it an artistic temperament if you wish) - I've looked at his site several times over the last few years and I think he had some musculo-skeletal problems which left him dis-satisfied with his playing and depressed. I decided that e-mailing him to say his Naxos CD always lifts my spirits when I'm feeling low mightn't help if he's depressed about deterioration in his playing.
Bill D posted on Thursday, 05 January, 2006 - 04:15 pm
AG sounded warm when she was interviewed on Radio 3 a while back.
Tim posted on Thursday, 05 January, 2006 - 09:55 pm
Didn't hear her on Radio 3. Don't get to hear enough radio actually - most people only listen to the radio driving to/from work but I always cycle so it's safer not to! Or they're like you and they listen to CDs in the car. I've tried convincing my teenage sons that a radio-cassette is the height of automotive sophistication but they'll have none of it!
You mentioned David Russell earlier - I guess you might have a tartan allegiance to him. The only disc of his I've got (Giuliani) is excellent - I have heard his Barrios and he's building a very impressive discography. And anyone who can make a whole CD of Giuliani enjoyable must be pretty remarkable.
Bill D posted on Thursday, 05 January, 2006 - 10:42 pm
I only heard Goni on Radio 3 by accident, because I didn't have a CD in the car!
I didn't realise (at first) that DR was Scottish and the only "Scottish" guitarist I have is Allan Neave on an obscure album called "the isle is full of noises... new scottish music for guitar" on BGS. (The lower-case is theirs.) A bit 'modern' for my tastes!
I got into David Russell through my American guitarist friend who gave me 'message of the sea: celtic music for guitar'. (More funky lower-case!) Lots of great Scottish and Irish tunes, even if 'Garryowen' (arr. Tarrega!!!!) always evokes John Wayne and the US Calvary riding to the rescue!
All too often, folk tunes arranged for CG sound naff but these are good. I am listening to 'My Lodging is on the Cold Ground' (aka 'Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms') right now. These is even a Sor piece, 'Fantasy on a Scottish Air'.
I liked and bought myself his Torroba and (recently) Barrios. Beautiful playing.
Don't have DR's Giuliani but I DO have Pepe Romero's 'Giuliani: Complete Guitar Concertos' and that's two CDs! (Old recordings from 19975 to 1978.)
Tim posted on Thursday, 05 January, 2006 - 11:53 pm
I don't know if David Russell even has a Scottish accent - I think he grew up and now lives again on Menorca.
I'm pretty sure Paul Galbraith is Scottish. I've heard his Bach CDs playing an 8-string guitar built by David Rubio - a bizarre looking instrument, he holds it almost upright like a cello with a spike from the end block that connects to a resonating box between his feet. And it's not your eyesight - the frets really are angled. A unique instrument and remarkable playing.
Sor's Scottish Fantasy comes from the fashion of the time for Scottishness (Lucia de Lamermoor, Mendelssohn's Hebrides etc **). Some will tell you it's not really a Fantasia at all but an introduction, theme and variations. The theme was one of two tunes for Burns' 'Ye banks and braes o' bonie Doon'.
** and probably a kilt wearing Prince of Wales too.
Bill D posted on Friday, 06 January, 2006 - 10:11 am
If you want a good Scottish piece by a Scot, try Hamish McCunn's 'The Land of the Mountain and the Flood'. It was used as the theme to 'Sutherland's Law', if anyone here is old enough to remember it.
Bill D posted on Friday, 06 January, 2006 - 01:42 pm
I have one of Goran Söllner's 11-string guitar CDs. Also a strange-looking beast. (The instrument, I mean.)
Tim posted on Friday, 06 January, 2006 - 05:45 pm
Sollscher and Galbraith both use tunings that mean 6 string guitar fingerings don't transfer to their instruments. Both have recorded Bach's C minor and G minor lute suites in the original keys rather than transpose to A minor like JW (and many others).
Narciso Yepes (Spanish Music!) used a 10 string tuned like a standard 6 string with extra basses. He said it was all advantages as he could play standard 6 string arrangements without adaption - 'with it I have a 6 string guitar and a 10 string guitar at the same time'.
allow me to get back to Barrueco - after hearing a lot about his virtuoso playing, I got so ovejoyed when I finally got hold of five different MB albums - after years of trying - in My country (Kolkata, India)that I instatnly bought all the five!- (without hearing him before!!) - knwoing for sure that a guitarist of his repute can never fail me...well, after hearing those over and again I managed to 'like' only one -CUBA! , and must confess, was greatly 'disappointed' with those other EMI titles - Villa Lobos, Sor, Bach, Mozart et al. I found him rather too meticulous, 'serious' and, yes 'suffocating at times- he seemed to have recorded those at 'gun point' taking enormous care not to make those sound absolutely flawless.even too much of attention to each note to bring out it's 'charcter' doesn't always sound melodious - there should be an 'aesthetic distance' which, I think should be maintained or as one of our countries grat musician has pointed out - some 'artistic imperfections' should be allowed to be 'played' to make it sound more human.... planning to put those other 4 on ebay....
Rajarshi Mukherjee posted on Thursday, 23 March, 2006 - 08:51 am
lemme 'correct' one sentence in the second para from above - "...'gun point' taking enormous care to make those sound absolutely flawless"...
Tim posted on Thursday, 23 March, 2006 - 01:08 pm
Hi again. Let's hope you get a good price for them on eBay - I've seen an Amazon marketplace seller asking a very silly price (more than 100 GBP) for Barrueco's Mozart / Sor CD. I've not heard that disc - the idea of Mozart on the guitar doesn't really excite me, and too much Sor sounds the same (the concert pieces seem to lack the variety of the etudes). If you like the more modern stuff on 'Cuba!' I can understand this classicism not appealing.
I've not heard his Villa-Lobos.
I love Barrueco's Bach sonatas (lovely forward momentum) - haven't heard his Prelude Fugue and Allegro (which often sounds only technical not musical) or Chaconne. But those Bach sonatas are glorious, and I've never heard any other recordings to equal them.
Rajarshi Mukherjee posted on Friday, 24 March, 2006 - 07:54 am
Hello there, I've got that bach album too (MB's own transcriptions) and, well as u point out there are some lovely forward momentum - but the music, to me, at times lacks integrity and appropriate phrasing, perhaps I'm being too harsh on him.....I liked it nonetheless! ...the point is If I am to go for a somewhat 'purist/technical brilliance' I would any day prefer a Bream recording than a Barrueco one.. and how I wish that JW had recorded those pieces featured in CUBA!....
Rajarshi Mukherjee posted on Friday, 24 March, 2006 - 10:23 am
Dear Tim, I checked out the amazon price for that Mozart/Sor album, and I could not believe my eyes!!! why is that? is, by any chance, the title out of print? hence such frightful prices?
Tim posted on Friday, 24 March, 2006 - 11:47 am
Out of print I guess - you'd have been really disappointed if you'd paid that much...
I guess with the Bach sonatas it's all a matter of taste, but I think Barrueco does them all better than any other guitarist I've heard (JW - like Bream, Isbin or any Romero - hasn't recorded them). I'd rather listed to JW or Bream play spanish music than Barrueco... though who has the most authentic duende is anyone's guess.
And JW has always done Latin American music very well. More Cuban music, and more Piazzola (or a host of other Argentine composers you can hear Victor Villadongos play on Naxos) would be great from JW.
Hi there, talking about Bach, I also liked Kurt Rodarmer's transcription of Goldberg variations...a landmark recording..
Tim posted on Saturday, 01 April, 2006 - 10:04 am
I'd never even heard of that before but I've just been listening to some samples at www.pangaea-productions.com - sounds amazing. I gather he multi-tracked up to 4 guitars on it, including a specially built classical bass.
Rajarshi Mukherjee posted on Monday, 03 April, 2006 - 11:23 am
both the guitars he used for this recoridng were custom-made for this purpose , It's a sony release and availabe at a rather cheaper price tag..