KGNU Radio (Boulder, Colorado) selected "Dreams of Love - The Guitar of Rick Sprague" in its Top Specialty Recordings 2002 Classical Music Category!! On the Web at http://www.kgnu.org/listings/02topspecialty.html
"Dreams of Love, the Guitar of Rick Sprague."
Rick Sprague Music RSM20011
by Brad Spear,
Classical 103.5 FM WCRB Boston
Judging from the label name and number, this very well may be the first issue of Rick Sprague Music, and it is most certainly the first CD issued by the label last year (2001). The guitarist featured on this album, which has been issued on his own label, is a West Coast classical guitarist whose technique and facility with music ranging from the early 16th Century's Luys Milan (1500 to 1561) to the 20th Century's Emilio Pujol (1886-1980) is commendable. It features works both by Spanish and French composers, the bulk of which was recorded in studio last May.
The recording quality of these studio performances, by the way, is first rate. The microphone placement produced just enough of the percussiveness of the plucking to offset the round "vowel-like" tones of a gut-stringed classical guitar. Other classical guitar recordings lack this balance, making them sound a little muddy, and underemphasizing the rhythmic aspect of the slower pieces in the instrument's repertory.
The sole "in-concert" cut came from a performance in 1982, and despite the fact that it was mastered from a 19 year old analogue tape, Sprague's technique is of the same high quality as the material recorded in 2001.
Sprague is a pupil of Christopher Parkening and Alexandre Lagoya. Hope to hear more from him in the years ahead.
-- By Brad Spear - Classical 103.5 FM WCRB Boston
"... Dreams of Love is a beautifully recorded compact disc."
-- Cascade Arts and Entertainment
"... Thank you for a beautiful album. The selections are well chosen and played with feeling and technical precision."
-- KMZT-FM Classical Radio (Los Angeles)
"... Sprague dazzles audiences with a refined classical guitar technique. ... To hear Sprague play is a treat. Relaxation reigns ... Sprague's music is soothing as a masseur's touch."
-- The Source
"To judge by Dreams of Love, his recent CD release, Oregon classical guitarist Rick Sprague has the silky, singing tone that's de rigueur for the music of Luys Milan, Adrian Le Roy and Gaspar Sanz, composers who span Renaissance and Baroque. But he also has a precise way of rounding off a phrase, penetrating to the gleam at the center of a chord, and reining in rhythms that brings to mind not passion but a chaste ideal of devotion. That isn't to say his Tarrega and Pujol, composers of the 19th and 20th centuries, haven't got fire. What sets this flame apart is not its heat but its extraordinary clarity. The result--as in Tarrega's "Adelita"--is all the refined emotional tension of a fandango."
-- Willamette Week
"... Emotional gentleness is the order of the day... Pleasant and persuasive music...Emilio Pujol's El Abejorro indeed bustles along like the bumblebee it represents. ... Plays confidently and with a quite decent level of musicianship."
-- Santa Fe New Mexican
"... Rick gives this wonderful composition life, breath and soul... The beauty of the music is overpowering and uplifting all at the same time. ... Bottom line: Beautifully crafted and thoroughly entertaining!"
-- GodsOfMusic.com (Review of La Preciosa from Dreams of Love)
"... Sprague is a guitarist with virtuoso technique, showing style, finesse and confidence."
-- The Albuquerque Journal (Following Sprague's performance at Keller Hall)
Rick Sprague has dedicated himself to the study and mastery of the guitar in ways that few others ever have. Born with a discerning ear and a penchant for excellence, Rick has developed his Virtuoso Classical Guitar technique and refined his style to produce articulate, warm, crystal clear tone. Rick uniquely presents the authentic natural sound of the Classical Guitar in both acoustic and sound reinforcement environments. Rick studied with noted guitar masters Christopher Parkening, Alexandre Lagoya and Hector Garcia, encompassing Renaissance Vihuela, Baroque Guitar and Classical Guitar. Rick performs music true to each Era's style of performance and his musical evolution continues with original compositions on Classical, Acoustic and Electric guitars. Rick has performed in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions, appearing on televised Public Broadcasting Performing Arts programs, Good Morning Central Oregon and in radio broadcasts. Rick Sprague's recordings can be heard on Classical and Public Radio across America, earning acclaim in Los Angeles, Boston, Portland and Colorado radio markets.
"Dreams of Love" is the first in a series of Rick Sprague Music compact disc albums featuring music with positive influences.
Sprague selected Spanish and French composers from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries, all outstanding vihuelists/guitarists in their time. "Dreams of Love" is made in America with European flair! Rick's philosophy is, "To go beyond simply performing music. To breathe life into the instrument and make the guitar sing as the composers intended. To create wonderful experiences for my audiences."
Rick has performed concerts at Chautauqua Auditorium (Boulder, CO), The Arvada Center For The Performing Arts (Denver, CO), The Lincoln Center (Fort Collins, CO), Keller Hall - UNM Fine Arts Center (Albuquerque, NM), Big Brother and Sisters Benefit Concert (Bozeman, MT), and has appeared on PBS Television Performing Arts Series and Good Morning Central Oregon. Rick has also performed in several Pacific Northwest venues including: Awbrey Glen Country Club, Inn at The Seventh Mountain, The Sunriver Nature Center, Royal Blend Coffeehouse Music Series, Epicure Exchange, Wild Oats Market Cafe Music Series and benefit events for Sisters SOAR, ECHO, and a local private elementary school. Rick has also performed at The New Mexico Governor's Mansion, Georgia O'Keefe Museum, The Canyon Restaurant, The Henington Gallery (http://www.heningtongallery.com), The Smithsonian Institute's Santa Fe Culturefest/2003, Eldorado Hotel, Institute of American Indian Arts, Coyote Cafe, Milagro Cafe, benefit event for Rainforest Action Network, and was featured interview guest on "El Sabor de Santa Fe" on KSFR-FM radio.
Variations on a Theme by Mozart recorded live at Chautauqua Auditorium. All other tracks recorded and mixed at recording studios in Oregon in 2001.
Concert Classical Guitar by Lorenzo Pimentel (http://www.pimentelguitars.com).
Photography and cover art by Rod Norman - Rod Norman Graphics.
Gaspar Sanz 1640 - 1710
Sanz was a priest and a great Spanish guitarist during the Baroque Period. He studied the guitar, organ and music theory in Italy and became the organist for the Viceroy of Napoles. Sanz was a leader in developing innovative strumming and plucking techniques for the right hand.
Francois Campion 1680 - 1748
Campion was a noted French guitarist during the seventeenth century. Campion's Sarabande and Gigue are excellent examples of Baroque dance pieces.
Luys Milan 1500 - 1561
Milan composed for the Vihuela, a Renaissance predecessor to the guitar. Fantasia de consonancias y redobles is one of Milan's "improvisational free-form" compositions, with fast and slow tempos intermixed to create a royal sound.
Adrian Le Roy 1520 - 1598
King Louis XIV of France played the Renaissance guitar and regarded it as his favorite instrument. Le Roy's Renaissance melodies and lively upbeat tempo in Tourdion inspired a king and now inspire modern guitarists.
Fernando Sor (1778 - 1839)
Fernando Sor was the greatest guitarist of the Classical and Romantic eras. Born in Spain, he received his musical education at the Monastery of Montserrat. After Napoleon's occupation of Spain, Sor moved to Paris and wrote most of his memorable music there: ninety seven studies, and the "Theme and Variations on Mozart's the Magic Flute Opus 9". Sprague performs the Andres Segovia transcription of Theme and Variations on a Theme by Mozart, recorded live in concert at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado.
Francisco Tarrega 1852 - 1909
Tarrega began guitar studies at age 8 and continued at the Conservatory of Music in Madrid. He taught there and at the Conservatory of Barcelona. Tarrega transcribed and wrote many pieces for the guitar. He introduced a new technique, which changed the right hand position and used more rest strokes. Adelita and Lagrima are two of Tarrega's popular Preludes.
Emilio Pujol 1886 - 1980
Pujol began his music studies with Tarrega at the Conservatory of Barcelona at age 15. Pujol's father wanted Emilio to study engineering. However, Emilio persuaded his father that his passion was for music. Pujol made important contributions to guitar literature with the publishing of "EMILIO PUJOL, Bibliothèque de Musique, Ancienne et Moderne, pour Guitarre. Emilio Pujol published more than 245 works including El Abejorro "The Bumblebee".
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--- Rick Sprague