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Classical 101

From Yesterday to Penny Lane, A Beatles Suite for Guitar and Orchestra

Wikipedia Commons

Contemporary Cuban composer, conductor and guitarist Leo Brouwer is one of the eminent writers for music of the classical guitar and his works are performed by guitarists world-wide. 

He wrote a guitar sonata for Julian Bream in 1990 and played in the premier of El Cimeron, a modernist work by  German composer Hans Werner Henze in 1970 in Berlin.  He combines folk influences with modernist tendencies as a composer and is known for bringing the Afro-Cuban tradition to the fore in his guitar compositions.  But, Leo Brouwer is also a fan of the Beatles.

In 1986 Brouwer wrote From Yesterday to Penny Lane, Seven Beatles Transcriptions for guitar and strings.  He considers their music the folk songs of today.  On the next Fretworks, I'll have this tuneful suite in a recording by Finnish guitarist Timo Korhonen and the Tampere Philharmonic.

Another Cuban connection features American guitarist Russel Brazzel, who was living in New Orleans in the early 1980's where he met Cuban composer Natalio Galen.  Galen became disillusioned with life in Cuba after the revolution and in 1964, he moved  first to Paris then the United States.  The Suite Cubana from 1957 is based on typical Cuban folk dances.  Russel Brazzel's  performance of this suite is from his 1993 Centaur Records release.

Staying in the same general geographic and cultural region, we'll hear the first movement movement from a 1990 guitar concerto by Puerto Rican composer Ernesto Cordero, his Concierto de Bayoan.  The title is a reference to the Native Puerto Rican Indian tradition.  The San Juan Pops conducted by Rosalin Pabon features Puerto Rican guitarist Ivan Rijos as soloist.  The first movement, Andante Ritmico, pays homage to Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo and his Concierto de Aranjuez and adds a Caribbean flavor. 

Also on the program, Paul Galbraith the Scottish classical guitarist known for using an unusual 8-string guitar that he holds like a cello.  It has a metal end-pin, like a cello, that rests on a specially-made resonating box on the floor that amplifies the already rich sound of his guitar.  He'll use this guitar in his performance of Mozart's Piano Sonata in F, K. 280 in his own transcription.

Join me for Fretworks Saturday and Wednesday evenings at 7 on Classical 101