Id like to know what you guys and gals think one should
absolutely listen to as far a classical guitarist are
concerned.....besides Segovia, thats a given. Im a jazz
player looking to expand my horizons.
I must admit that it is becoming more common for me to run
across recitals and recordings of guitarists I have never
heard of; I simply can't keep up. One can imagine that this
"losing touch" is multiplied concerning -other-
instruments. Often, I am influenced by the -composer-
rather than the performer.
For example, I know that a pianist by the name of Richard
Goode is coming to Cincinnati next month to perform with the
CSO. I have never heard of Richard Goode, so that
information in itself would not be enough to automatically
spark my interest. Yet I know that he is coming to town to
perform Bartok's Piano Concerto No. 3. For better or worse,
I have never heard this piece. However, I am fond of the
first two concertos and am fond of Bartok in general. Under
those conditions, I am excited to hear a concerto that I
will probably be interested in and is "new" to me.
In the guitar world, Brouwer's Sonata comes to mind to cite
an example. This is one of my favorite works by Brouwer and
I wish it was performed more often. I had two recordings of
this work: one by Julian Bream and another by Ignacio
Rodes. The Rodes recording was the first one that I bought
and my love of the music grew with each listen. However, I
discovered this piece for myself from the Rodes recording,
yet I bought the Rodes recording for an entirely different
reason. So by accident, I discovered another piece that I
am fond of.
When I purchased the Bream recording of the Brouwer Sonata,
I felt that I was listening to the piece from a very
different perspective than the rendition I had first heard
an became familiar with. It is not necessarily that one
rendition is better than the other, but they -are-
different. To try to simplify it in one sentence, I feel
that Bream brought a heightened level of importance to some
of the background elements of the piece, whereas Rodes
offered something a bit more straight forward. With or
without intention, my listening to these renditions must
surely influence my -own- interpretation of the work.
Recently, I bought a third recording of this Brouwer piece,
performed by Graham Anthony Devine. I must admit that I had
never -heard of this performer. It was solely my interest
in Brouwer, and the Sonata particularly, that made me
purchase this CD. By purchasing the CD, I also heard
Brouwer's Suite No. 2 that I had never heard before.
Honestly, I am not yet familiar with it but it did made a
great first impression.
You mention that you are familiar with Segovia. I might
suggest that you consider some of the pieces you are most
fond of. Also consider the composers in general. Use this
as a start to branch out. Seek out performers who play the
pieces that you are fond of. Seek out performers who play
works you are not familiar with, but are by composers you
like in general. Like a domino effect, you will then be
exposed to other music. Some of it you will like, some of
it you may not. Avoid what you don't care for, but expand
on what interest you. We all have to start somewhere. In
my opinion, such an approach will give one more than enough
momentum and will be more enjoyable. Take the same approach
when attending concerts and recitals.
For me that start was a very long time ago. I was an
uncultured kid who was not brought up in the arts. As a
mostly self tought player, I grew tired of the heavy metal I
was raised on. Yet my roots must have dictated how I was to
branch out. A young punk familiar with Metallica and
Stormtroopers of Death could not have instantly appreciated
a Palestrina Mass. Stravinsky is another story though.
Because of my listening tastes, coupled with a desire to
branch out myself, I naturally became interested in more
progressive rock. My world changed when I first heard Al Di
Meola's "Race With Devil on Spanish Highway." Had it not
been for that, I probably would have not been interested in
his other recordings that sparked my interests even
Considering my background, this was new territory and I
sought out more. It may be easy to see how ELP could have
sparked my interest in Copeland or Holst. It wouldn't take
much imagination to see how taking an interest in the Pat
Metheny Group led me seek out everything from "pure" jazz
to the works of Steve Reich. From Reich came Glass, Terry
Riley, and even John Adams. In the classical guitar, some
of the Villa Lobos etudes and preludes was something I
instantly related to. Villa Lobos was one of the first
composers who had written for the guitar that I embraced.
Of course I am over simplifying this journey (that I am
still on) but it has almost always come from an interest in
seeking out more of something I already enjoyed.
At this point in my life, I enjoy listening to everything
from the most contemporary works, back to Medieval music and
everything in between. I certainly didn't gain that
interest and appreciation over night. It took time. For
me, the more CD's and performances I am exposed to, the more
I want. It is a domino effect that I can not stop nor wish
to stop. The particulars may be a bit fuzzy now, but it all
started in a logical prgression of where I was standing at
the beginning of it all.