Album- About Time, played extensively on ABC Classic FM.
El Noi De La Mare and El Testament de Amelia
The folk songs El Noi De La Mare and El Testament de Amelia originated from the small island of Catalonia, off the coast of Spain, and have been tastefully arranged for solo guitar by the 19th century Spanish guitarist Miguel Llobet. I have chosen to “book end” this CD with these beautiful folk songs as I feel that they represent one of the things I love about the classical guitar – the capacity to sustain a beautiful melody whilst providing its own accompaniment.
Since We Met
At the launch of his solo CD Only, Tommy Emmanuel announced that he felt that he had finally learnt how to play the guitar; however I felt that he had long ago mastered the instrument. Since We Met is a piece that Tommy wrote as an anniversary gift to his wife, and it has since become a very popular piece for weddings.
Paco Peña is one of the key Spanish players to deliver the flamenco guitar as a solo instrument, separating it from the traditional flamenco troupe of dancers, singers, cajon and of course guitar! His ability to present the traditional dance forms with their intricate rhythmic patterns and complex overall structures is legendary. Originally for solo guitar, this Rumba has been arranged for 2 guitars, double bass and cajon.
Django Reinhardt was a French gypsy jazz guitarist prominent on the jazz scene in Paris in the early 20th century. He had a very distinct and unique sound which had an enormous influence on the development of Jazz music. The fact that he played with only 2 fingers on his left hand, as a result of a fire in his caravan, altered the options available to him on the fret board. It is this, I believe, that affected the kinds of voicings he could achieve, and ultimately the unique sound that he became renowned for. Tears was written in 1937 and was recorded with Stephane Grappelli in their group "Hot Club de France". Composed during the time of racial cleansing by Hitler, Tears expresses Reinhardt’s deep sadness over the deaths of half a million gypsies during the Holocaust.
I was fortunate to inherit the complete record collection of Pablo Casals performing the Cello suites from my late grandmother Una. She and my grandfather Harold would sit quietly hand in hand and listen to these recordings - Una said that these renditions of Bach would take them straight to God. The final passage in this first movement depicts ascension to the heavens, concluding with a brilliant cadence. As Sting claims to play Bach every day as a work-out to stay in shape on the guitar, I thought it was fitting to place the Prelude before Stung.
Stung is my musical tribute to Sting, a versatile musician who has continued to inspire me since his early days with “The Police”. Stung is a medley of 4 songs I have arranged for Spanish guitar duet or trio, with all parts played by me.
1. Brought to my senses is in 7/8, and has a tangos feel to it.
2. Fragile was arranged with a flamenco bularias rhythm underlying, hence the altered rhythm compared to the original track.
3. St Agnes and The Burning Train was originally written for spanish guitar and backing group, and I have arranged it here for guitar duo.
4. Shape of my heart is in the style of rumba.
Milonga is a pre-tango form from Argentina. I have taken this popular guitar solo by Cardosa and arranged it for guitar and clarinet. There is very little music written for this combination and it proved to be a nice piece to share with my wife! Composer and friend, Sally Greenaway, wrote the beautiful clarinet interlude one morning at 2am. She awoke with the melody in mind, and penned the idea in her manuscript pad so that she could swiftly return to her slumber.
Manha de Carnaval
Manha de Carnaval is considered to be one of the most important Brazilian songs that helped establish the Bossa Nova movement in the late 1950s. It is also known as A Day in the Life of a Fool, Carnival, Theme from Black Orpheus, or simply Black Orpheus. This instrumental version adds a Spanish flavour to the song in the vein of the flamenco Tangos, and features John Mackey on the alto sax.
Verano Porteno Tango
The tango is a dance that is popular throughout Argentina. Piazzolla wanted to push the musical boundaries of this dance form and raise it to the level of classical music. Usually performed with a tango ensemble, this solo guitar arrangement by guitarist Baltazar Benitez captures the spirit of the tango and also features an expressive middle section. From the collection Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, meaning “four seasons”, Verano Porteno expresses the character of summer.
Sakura is a traditional Japanese folk song written to depict spring, the season of cherry blossoms. Yuquihiro Yocoh has produced an excellent set of variations on this theme for solo guitar that utilise and explore many of the different tones of the instrument. It also suggests the sounds of the traditional instrument the Koto, on which it is often performed.