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Classical 101

Manuel Ponce's Concerto of the South with Pablo Villegas

Wikipedia Commons

"If this isn't your greatest work, I don't know what is," wrote Andres Segovia to Manuel Ponce in 1940 about his Concierto del Sur (The Concerto of the South).  Segovia was the most famous guitarist in the world, and Ponce was famous primarily for his songs, such as Estrellita (little star) from 1912, which had become an international hit.

Segovia first met the Mexican composer in 1923 on his first trip to that country.  Ponce was so impressed with Segovia's playing that he wrote a number of major works for him including, Variations and Fugue on "La Folia," Sonatina meridional, and the great Concierto del Sur for guitar and orchestra, which was dedicated to the great Spanish guitarist.

Contemporary Spanish guitarist Pablo Villegas, who was featured on Fretworks a few months ago, has been called "the natural heir to Segovia," so how fitting that I'll have his recording of Ponce's Concerto of the South on this Saturday's program.  The 2010 Sony release "Mi Alma Mexicana" ("My Mexican Soul"), with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas conducted by Alondra de la Parra is a 2 CD set of all music from Latin America and includes this fine performance of Ponce's concerto.

Also on the program, The Canadian Guitar Quartet will play a couple of the Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms, and American guitarist Eliot Fisk will have Balleto by Girolamo Frescobaldi.  Lutenist Paul O'Dette will be back with more John Dowland from the time of William Shakespeare.

I have an encore scheduled that will be a real treat.  Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas (who has also been featured on Fretworks) and the great jazz saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera from their CD "Dia y medio/A Day and a Half" with a lively Brazilian tango.

Join me for Fretworks for music of the classical guitar Saturday and Wednesday evenings at 7 on Classical 101.