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Classical 101

All About Strings; Holst, Nielson, and Pergolesi

Wikipedia, public domain
We know Holst as a master composer of "The Planets," but did you know he was also Master of the Music Room at St. Paul's Girls' School of London? Here's the main building where Holst would have taught lessons.

English composer Gustav Holst wrote his St. Paul's Suite in 1912 for the student string orchestra of the St. Paul's School for Girls in London.  With its notable use of English folk songs in the finale of this four-movement piece, throwing in Greensleeeves for good measure,  it remains one of the composer's most popular works.  

There have been other arrangements of this enjoyable music, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet recorded their version some years back  on GHS Records.  You can hear their performance on the next Fretworks on Classical 101.

American classical guitarist David Starobin is also a teacher, composer and producer.  For 11 years he was the chairman of the guitar department at the Manhattan School, where he still teaches.  We heard his Variations on a Theme by Carl Nielsen a while back on Fretworks.

 This week, I'll have a selection from his Bridge Records CD of "Favorite Tracks," Variazone sulla Cavatina favorita by Mauro Giuliani.  This virtuoso set of variations by the great early 19th century Italian guitarist composer is based on an aria from Rossini's opera, Otello.  To lend historical authenticity to his performance, Starobin performs the piece on a copy of a guitar from around 1830 by Johann Georg Stauffer.

The fine Italian mandolin player Dorina Frati will be the soloist with a plucked-instrument orchestra (lots of mandolins and guitars)  in an arrangement of a violin concerto from the early 18th century by Giovanni Pergolesi.

Cuban born guitarist Manuel Barrueco and the Latin American Quartet will play a delightful work by Argentinean composer Carlos Guastavino, his Jeromita Linares, Las Presencias No. 6.  It's part of a series of musical portraits, and this one from 1965 is of a simple, humble and kind old Spanish woman the composer remembers from when he was a child.

The Manhatten Guitar Duo will end the hour on Fretworks with music of Spanish composer Enrique Granados.  Join me Saturday and Wednesday evenings at 7 on Classical 101.

Here's the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet with a Rossini Overture:


And David Starobin playing Francesco Molino: