About this Recording

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)
Concerto in E Minor, RV 277
Trio Sonata in C Major, RV 82
Trio Sonata in G Minor, RV 85
Concerto in D Major, RV 93

J. S. Bach (1685 - 1750)
Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052

Antonio Vivaldi was one of the best violinists of his day, and many of his concertos were written for his own performance. Among these is the Concerto in E minor, Opus 11, No.2, known as II Favorito, and one of those dedicated to the Emperor Charles VI. This is one of the finest concertos of the period in terms of expressiveness and organisation of musical content. The possibilities for subtlety of expression and sustained notes available on the twentieth century guitar enabled me to transcribe this masterpiece with hardly any alteration. A more obvious choice for transcription, however, is the lute music which Vivaldi wrote, as both guitar and lute are sounded by plucking strings with fingers. Part of the charm of the plucked string sound lies in the dying away of a note as soon as it is played. The concerto in D major brings the lute to the fore and many solo passages are supported by only the basso continuo. These lute pieces were written around 1730 and dedicated to a Bohemian, Count Wrtby. It is perhaps appropriate that they were recorded in Slovakia with musicians whose pedigree extends back to that time. The Trio Sonatas in C major and G minor, RV 82 and RV 85, were originally written for violin, lute and continuo, instead of the more usual two violins. Again, transcription of the lute part for guitar is relatively straightforward.

Johann Sebastian Bach transcribed several of Vivaldi's works and possibly gained an appreciation of the Italian style through them. He also frequently transcribed his own works when occasion demanded, and many of his harpsichord concertos were originally written for other instrumental combinations. If, for instance, there was a shortage of good violinists, or he needed an instrumental interlude in a Cantata (which had to be produced weekly), he could quickly substitute a keyboard part for himself or one of his sons to play. The Concerto in D minor thus started life as a violin concerto, probably during the composer's days as court music director at Cöthen between 1717 and 1723. It next appears in Cantata 146 and then in Cantata 188, transcribed an octave lower for organ. The sombre middle movement is punctuated by a choir singing the words to 'Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal'. Finally the concerto was transcribed for harpsichord around 1735 and this is the version I use as the basis for the guitar version. Many guitaristic idioms were revealed in the course of preparing this arrangement, for example homophony and the extensive use of pedal-notes on open strings. These are of course violinistic devices as well. The piece uses, then transforms the premise of the Italian concerto that soloist and orchestra should have contrasting themes. In the momentous first movement both orchestra and soloist are plunged into the turbulent theme which they share and develop equally. D minor was a key associated with the emotions of uncertainty and despair in the Baroque period. This mood permeates the reflective and highly decorated Adagio and is continued in the finale which, in its choice of two opposing themes, guarantees a conflict between soloist and orchestra to the very end.

Gerald Garcia
At his 1979 Wigmore Hall debut in London, one critic hailed Gerald Garcia as a performer of rare quality and he has been described by John Williams as one of today's foremost guitarists. Garcia has made many tours of the Far East and Europe and has appeared at the major international festivals in Great Britain, including the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and South Bank Festivals. His concert engagements have included performances with many leading ensembles and soloists, among them the London Sinfonietta, John Williams and Friends and Paco Peña. With the flautist Clive Conway he has toured and broadcast extensively in Britain and has played at the Glastonbury Pop Festival and on the ocean liner the QE II. Gerald Garcia was born in Hong Kong and now lives in Oxford, his base for a busy career as recitalist, composer and conductor.

Camerata Cassavia
The Camerata Cassovia is the chamber ensemble of the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra which is based in the Eastern Slovakian town of Kosice. The orchestra was founded in 1968 and has toured widely within Europe and the Far East.

Peter Breiner
Peter Breiner started piano lessons at the age of four, and went on to study at Bratislava Conservatory and at the Prague College of Music and Drama, concentrating at the latter in composition. In 1981, having completed his studies, he began work as musical supervisor in the Czecho-Slovak Radio in Bratislava and for OPUS Records and Publishing. He has had a varied career , involving the direction of the Czecho-Slovak Radio Children's Choir, playing jazz on the piano and working as an orchestral conductor and arranger.

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