These compositions are truly like old friends to me. A selection of works that I have learned over the years, the pieces are organized in a roughly chronological order. They begin with pieces from the 16th century where, in Spain, Italy and Portugal, the vihuela was played. The vihuela was a six-stringed instrument with double strings like our modern twelve string guitar (although the strings were gut). Luis Milan and Louis de Narvaez composed for this instrument and several of their pieces are included. From there we move into music for the lute, with two pieces by the English composer John Dowland. Some of the great JS Bach’s music was played on the lute (Prelude in D minor). An arrangement of his Air In G is also included. S.L. Weiss, a German composer, composed hundreds of pieces for the lute; “Tombeau sur le mort….” is a beautiful example.
We move now toward the development of the modern classical guitar. Roncalli composed for the five string baroque guitar. His “Giga” is included here. Fernando Sor was one of the most prolific composers for the guitar in the Romantic Period. His guitar studies are learned by all modern classical guitar students. His “Variations on a Theme by Mozart” is one of his better known works. Late Romantic Spanish composer Fransico Tarrega’s music was obviously influenced by his experience of flamenco music. (As a young man he ran away and spent time living with the gypsies.) Two of his pieces are included.
Finally the modern era brings us two composers. Heitor Villa-Lobos was born in Brazil. His” Choro No. 1” written in 1929 in Paris gives us the sense of that exciting era. Manuel Ponce, a Mexican composer, has composed a number of works that are well known in the guitar repertoire. His piece “Por ti mi Corazon” from his suite “Three Mexican Songs” is included. Also included are several of his guitar studies.
I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I do when I play them. Perhaps they will become good “friends” for you!
Lars Hill 2012