|About this Recording
8.554214 - Guitar Recital: Steve Kostelnik
Biographical information on the English composer Daniel Bacheler is sparse. He was born some time around 1574 and died after 1610, when Robert Dowland made the last known reference to him in the Varietie of Lute-Lessons, an anthology of lute music by both English and Continental composers. At that time, Bacheler was employed at the English court of King James I, apparently having been hired by the King's wife, Queen Anne of Denmark (1574-1619). In Robert Dowland's Varietie, Bacheler is described as "one of the Groomes of her Majesties Privie Chamber." He wrote approximately fifty works for solo lute, as well as several consort pieces. The Mounsiers Almaine appears in the Varietie of Lute-Lessons, one of only two printed sources for Bacheler's music. Mounsiers Almaine is essentially a theme-and-variations, and it displays to fine advantage the various technical capabilities of the instrument, from rapid scales and arpeggios to hymn-like chordal textures. The piece progresses in a somewhat unpredictable fashion. Bacheler juxtaposes extreme virtuosity with relative tranquility until, after a final variation in tremolo, he closes with a most peculiar pentatonic flourish, a fitting end to this delightfully capricious work.
The Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa was best known in his day as the composer of some sixty operas, and was especially celebrated for his comic opera Il matrimonio segreto (1792). He also wrote over eighty keyboard sonatas most of which are short, single-movement works similar to those by Domenico Scarlatti. Cimarosa's close association with opera is apparent in the Sonata in A minor (D minor here), especially with its lyrical, aria-like opening theme supported by a simple chordal accompaniment. By contrast, the Sonata in A major is a lively duple-metre piece in a more idiomatic keyboard style, featuring arpeggiated figurations, rapid repeated bass notes, and wide melodic leaps. In the C minor Sonata (in B minor here), marked Larghetto, Cimarosa shows both baroque and classical influences. On the one hand, he derives all of the thematic material from the brief opening motif (which itself sounds like a baroque ornament), creating a unity of affect reminiscent of the baroque era. On the other hand, one can hear textural and tonal contrasts that point toward classical sonata-allegro form. With their delicate and transparent textures, Cimarosa's keyboard sonatas are well suited for performance on the guitar in these transcriptions by Julian Bream.
Scholars disagree about the date of J.S. Bach's Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo, BWV1034, but research suggests that it was most likely written in the early l720s, either in Bach's last years at Cöthen or shortly after he moved to Leipzig in l723. Apart from occasional changes in register to accommodate the range of the instrument, the two notated parts of the original work remain essentially intact in this transcription for solo guitar by David Russell. The four-movement structure of the sonata (slow-fast-slow-fast) is characteristic of the baroque sonata da chiesa as established by Corelli in the late seventeenth century. Perhaps the most striking part of the present work is its third movement (Andante). It is cast in the contrasting key of G major (the relative of E minor) and has a markedly different style and overall affect from the other movements. The lyrical, aria-like quality of this movement stands in stark relief against Bach's customary equal-voiced contrapuntal textures and relentless rhythmic drive.
The Hungarian-born Johann Kaspar Mertz was a child prodigy on both the guitar and the flute. As an adult he moved to Vienna and enjoyed a successful performing career as a virtuoso guitarist, garnering the support of wealthy patrons and touring widely throughout Europe. He also gained recognition as a composer when his Concertina in La took top prize in the 1856 Brussels competition for guitar composition. Mertz's Fantaisie hangraise, Op. 65, No. 1, is a virtuoso showpiece in the tradition of Liszt and Paganini, whose works were intended not only to dazzle their listeners with breath-taking technical feats, but also to move them with the beauty of their musical expression. Mertz's Fantasie hangroise is highly rhapsodic, with frequent changes in tempo and exaggerated contrasts in mood, ranging from outright bombast to the most sublime lyricism. The thematic material in a "Hungarian" work such as this one is typically not taken from actual Hungarian folk-music, but is instead either newly composed or borrowed from published "Gypsy Music" by dilettante composers imitating the music of urban gypsies in Hungary. This is certainly the case with much of Liszt's music, and is most likely true of the present work as well.
The Paraguayan composer and guitarist Agustín Pío Barrios Mangoré began his studies on the guitar at an early age and was considered a prodigy by the age of thirteen. In 1910 he embarked on what was supposed to be a one-week concert engagement in Argentina, but his success there launched a performing career that kept him away from his native Paraguay for some fourteen years, during which time he played throughout Latin America and in some of the major artistic centres of Europe. In 1932 he took up the name "Nitsuga Mangoré" and began touting himself as "the Paganini of the Guitar from the Jungles of Paraguay." He later dropped "Nitsuga" (Agustín spelled backwards) and called himself simply Agustín Barrios Mangoré. Barrios had broad musical interests, ranging from the classical masters to Paraguayan folk-music. His compositions for the guitar display the variety and scope of his influences, as well as his remarkable technical command of the instrument. The Preludio Op. 5, No. 1, is a virtuoso showpiece in apparent homage to J.S. Bach. While it has baroque figurations and a relentless Bach-like perpetual motion, its shifting chromatic harmonies and South-American flavour belong entirely to Barrios. The Chôra da Saudade features the typical syncopated Brazilian rhythms and surging chromatic melodies of the chôra bands popular in early twentieth-century Rjo de Janeiro.
The brothers Regino and Eduardo Sainz de la Maza were born in the northern Spanish town of Burgos. Although both became accomplished guitarists and composers, Regino was the more distinguished of the two. He is perhaps best known as the guitarist for whom Rodrigo wrote the famous Cancierto de Aranjuez (1939). The zapateada and the petenera are typical flamenco dance types from the Andalucían region of Spain. Both genres feature extensive use of hemiola, a rhythmic effect created by the mingling of duple and triple divisions of the measure. The folk-like main theme of Regino Sainz de la Maza's Petenera (1964) illustrates this effect perfectly, as it alternates between 3/4 and 6/8 metre with each successive measure. The habanera is a Cuban song/dance genre that gained immense popularity in Europe in the late nineteenth century. Eduardo Sainz de la Maza combines the characteristic habanera rhythms with the Phrygian modal inflections of Andalucía to create a haunting and mildly exotic-sounding work. Campanas del Alba (Bells of the Dawn, 1963) is a beautiful study in tremolo – the technique by which a guitarist creates the illusion of a sustained, unbroken melodic line.
Jonathan Kulp (b.1970) began his musical studies at the age of eight, taking up the classical guitar in high school and going on to earn a degree in guitar performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he studied guitar under Mario Abril and composition under Peter Temko. In his Two Latin-American Dances, Kulp attempts to recreate the effect of a typical Afro-Caribbean dance-band, with its improvisatory melodies and dense polyrhythmic textures. The Danza Dominicana is based on rhythms from the merengue, a fast duple-metre dance of the Dominican Republic. The most prominent rhythmic pattern is that played by the tambora (a double-headed drum), which Kulp weaves into both the melodies and the recurring accompanimental figure. In the Danza Cubana, the primary rhythmic patterns are derived from the son montuno, an Afro-Cuban song and dance genre from the 1920s-1940s. Most typical is the syncopated rhythm of the clave (a Cuban clapper instrument consisting of two hardwood cylinders) which is always present in the texture at some level. The Danza Dominicana (1996) and Danza Cubana (1997) are written for and dedicated to Steve Kostelnik.
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