About this Recording
8.554444 - Guitar Recital: Kevin Gallagher

Guitar Recital – Kevin R. Gallagher

The modern guitar has many colourful ancestors that date back to the times of antiquity. Different shapes, sizes and tunings abound in its history. The guitar of the present day is a relatively new instrument. In the latter half of the 19th century, the Spanish luthier, Antonio de Torres Jurado (1817-1892) developed an instrument that has become the model for the modern guitar.

The advent of the early music movement has demonstrated a widespread following of period instrument performers, scholars and enthusiasts unto itself. This disc samples the most glorious music enjoyed by the modern guitarist from the repertoire of some of its Renaissance and Baroque predecessors.

Luys de Narváez, who flourished between 1530 and 1550 was a Spanish composer and vihuelist. His book, Los seys libros del delphin (Valladolid, 1538) contains some of the most inspired instrumental works of the time. Conde Claros is a set of 22 variations on the tonada of the same name. The Canción del Emperador, is Narvaez's masterful arrangement of Mille regretz, the famous chanson by Josquin.

John Dowland (fl. 1563-1626), English composer and lutenist, was one of the greatest musicians of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. He composed over 80 pieces of solo lute music and his lute songs are among the most highly developed vocal works in the western tradition. The tunes of his Frog Galliard and Lochrimae Pavan were also set for voice and lute as Now, O now, I needs must part and Flow my tears respectively. Tarleton's Resurrection is a beautiful little piece that was written to commemorate the passing of the famous comic actor Richard Tarleton.

Francesco da Milano (fl.1497-1543), Italian composer and lutenist was called 'Il divino' by his contemporaries, a sobriquet he shared with the great Michelangelo. Francesco's output includes fantasias, ricercars and numerous arrangements of contemporary vocal works. The two ricercars included here exhibit his expert blending of early 16th century vocal techniques with idiomatic instrumental writing.

Francisco Guerau, who flourished in the late 17th century, was a Spanish composer and guitarist, whose music is becoming more familiar to guitarists and the general public alike. His book Poema harmónico (Madrid, 1694) contains 27 compositions of very high quality, all of which are written for the five-course Baroque guitar and in variation form. His Canarios with its lively hemiola rhythms and his Marionas with its tender descending sequences are truly enchanting.

Santiago de Murcia (c.1685-c.1732) was a Spanish composer and guitarist. His substantial output contains not only original works, but also many arrangements of works by his contemporaries. Folias Gallegas is a rustic dance-like piece which takes its inspiration from the well-known folia subject and the music of the north-western Spanish province Galicia. Payssanos is a reworking of the celebrated tune Greensleeves.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) needs little introduction; he was perhaps the greatest musician who ever lived. The autograph manuscript states that his Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV998, was meant 'pour la Luth o Cembal' (for the Lute or the Harpsichord). It is probable that the piece was conceived at the keyboard with the lute in mind. It has become a staple of the guitar repertoire.

The German composer Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750), was one of the greatest lutenists of his time. He travelled throughout Europe and met with many of the finest musicians of the day. His beautiful improvisatory Prelude exhibits the style brisé texture found in much lute and harpsichord music of the period. The virtuostic Courante and the tuneful Alternatum attest to Weiss'mastery of idiomatic writing.

David Nadal

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