Children’s Corner

‘From the nightmarish Erlkönig to the colourful Cuentos de la juventud and the touchingly poetic Children’s Corner, I conceived this album as an ode to childhood, to tenderness, to life. It represents years of hard work and my humble but heartfelt contribution to the long tradition of guitar transcription.

The childlike qualities embodied in the music fit particularly well with the intimate and warm sounds of the guitar. This recording, so expertly supported by Norbert Kraft’s stellar production, is a dream come true and I could not be happier with the result. Welcome to the beautiful world of childhood!’

Johan Smith

Multi-award-winning guitarist Johan Smith has considerably extended his instrument’s repertoire with this selection of transcriptions celebrating childhood in a variety of ways. These popular piano works – Schubert’s Erlkönig, Granados’s atmospheric Tales of Youth, Mozart’s elegant Sonata facile, Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood and the exquisitely sensitive and insightful miniatures of Debussy’s Children’s Corner – are presented in a totally natural and idiomatic manner within the guitar’s distinctly expressive soundworld.

Listen to an extract from Debussy’s Children’s Corner:
III. Serenade for the Doll
About the Artist

Born in 1990 in Geneva, guitarist Johan Smith is the winner of numerous international competitions, including the 2019 Guitar Foundation of America competition, having been previously named ‘Classical Guitar Revelation 2017’ by Guitare Classique magazine. He has appeared as a soloist at renowned festivals and completed international concert tours in Canada, Japan and the United States, where he also made his debut at New York's Carnegie Hall.

More albums of solo guitar recitals
‘With competition prizes to his credit, Johan Smith is clearly a guitarist to follow, one with, as this mixed recital reveals, a compelling sense of touch and musicality.’
‘Mallett plays all of the fare with nuanced artistry, savouring the beloved melodies and bursts of decorative material. He shapes the 12 variations in the Carnival of Venice fantasy with lilting and bold assurance – an affectionate tribute to a musician who inspired generations of guitarists.’
‘We pass through a display of brilliant virtuosity with three highly demanding works by Nicolò Paganini, the time scale reaching as far as the colourful Cinque Preludi from Bruno Bettinelli in 1971. First class sound.’
Yorkshire Post ★★★★★
‘Kaya… is deeply expressive, but without distortion and indulgence. … he serves Barrios’ music with perfection. And his technique is even more accomplished than Barrios’ own. This is a treasure.’
American Record Guide
‘Smooth, clear phrasing and sensitivity to the nuances of the music make these preludes a joy to hear… Byun’s performance of each one is immaculate.’
American Record Guide
‘A delight; early lute music meticulously and lovingly arranged for guitar seemingly without any loss in the innate musicianship of the original. Mood changes impress by their subtlety and inner charm rather than any attempt to impress.’
Lark Reviews
For the full list of Lute and Guitar Music on Naxos, please visit

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