About this Recording
8.557122-23 - SPANISH GUITAR

The Spanish Guitar
The guitar has existed in one form or another since ancient times, but the significance of the role of Spain in the instrument's evolution cannot be disputed. For centuries, the guitar has been emblematic both of Spain and of Spanish music. Although the 'Guitarra Morisca' was brought to Spain by the Moors in their 16th century conquest, the Spanish school of guitar making did not begin to flourish until the end of the 18th century when the guitar attained its modern form, and a sixth string was added above the lower five.

Most of the composers featured on this album are Spanish-born, or have deep rooted connections with the country. Inspiration for the music ranges from Spanish landscapes (such as Albeniz's famous trio of pieces inspired by the regions of Asturias, Mailorca and Seville) to Spanish literature - Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Escarramán is a long neglected masterpiece in the guitar repertory. The choice of music ranges from gypsy folk to flamenco and also includes a variety of slow, languorous pieces which show the guitar at its most romantic.

Disc One
[1] Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Danza Española No.5 (From Naxos 8.553999)(04:36)
Norbert Kraft

Granados was born in Lérida near Barcelona. Today he is universally recognised as one of Spain's most important composers. His music is multi-faceted although it is essentially Romantic with some Nationalist characteristics. Granados's 12 Spanish Dances, originally for the piano, are based on a variety of regional dance forms. Danza Espanola No.5, called 'Andaluza', features elements of the gypsy folk style, often associated with Andalucia.

CD l begins with the solo version of the piece.
CD 2 ends with the orchestral transcription of the piece.

[2- 4] Frederico Moreno Torroba (1891-1982)
Sonatina (From Naxos 8.550483)
Allegretto (03:55)
Andante (04:08)
Allegro (04:00)
Dagoberto Linhares / Camerata Cassovia / Johannes Wildner

The twentieth century witnessed an unparalleled revival of the guitar owing largely to the reputation and influence of the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia. Torroba was the first composer to respond to Segovia's appeal for new, original repertory for the guitar, something he regarded as essential to the instrument's revival. In Spain, Torroba was best known for his popular zarzuelas (light, comic operas). Outside Spain, though he was not a guitarist himself, it is his guitar music that is likely to stand the test of time. The Sonatina was first performed in 1925 to an invited audience including Maurice Ravel. A seductively lyrical Andante is framed by two quicker movements with lively Spanish dance rhythms.

[5-10] Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
Suite Compostelana (From Naxos 8.553774)

Preludio (03:18)
Coral (03:40)
Cuna (03:36)
Recitativo (04:04)
Canción (03:26)
Muñeira (03:01)
Antigoni Goni

Mompou was a Spanish pianist-composer who spent most of his life in Paris where he was greatly influenced by Satie and Debussy. The Suite Compostelana is the only work he wrote for the guitar. The suite plays tribute to the Spanish cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela at the heart of the region of Galicia, from which the Muñeira, a fiery folk dance comes and where for many years Andres Segovia held his annual summer school. Mompou had the gift of melody as is evident in the plaintive Canción where the song is overlaid with open fourths and fifths.

[11] Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Carmen Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra arr. Breiner (From Naxos 8.553114)
Allegro giocoso (09:46)
Norbert Kraft / Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra / Peter Breiner

Spain and Spanish music have always held an exotic attraction for composers, and Bizet's Carmen is a fine example of this. The opera provides a wealth of well known melodies and Peter Breiner has used it as inspiration for a colourful fantasy for guitar and orchestra. The guitar plays the part of the hero and is entrusted with some of the most beautiful solo material. The Allegro giocoso is the final movement of the work and is a medley of themes from the opera presented in rondo form.

[12] Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)
Tarantella Op. 87b (From Naxos 8.554831)
Lorenzo Micheli (04:08)

As a Sephardic Jew, Italian composer Castelnuovo-Tedesco felt an affinity for Spanish music and frequently found inspiration in Spanish culture. In the 1930s he met Andres Segovia and began composing for the guitar. Written in 1936 for Segovia, the Tarantella Op. 87b became Castelnuovo-Tedesco's best known guitar solo work and a standard element in the guitar repertory.

[13- 15] Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)
Asturias, Mallorca, Sevilla (From Naxos 8.553999)
Asturias (06:23)
Mallorca (06:57)
Sevilla (04:45)
Transcribed and performed by Norbert Kraft

Perhaps the most popular Spanish music is a handful of pieces by Isaac Albeniz, written originally for the piano but played more often in transcription on the guitar. Inspired by regions or cities in Spain, these pieces evoke the mysterious character of the country. Asturias, named after the northern mountainous province is subtitled Leyenda (Legend). Mallorca depicts the island in the swaying rhythm of a barcarolle (boat song). The style is that of Chopin who lived for a time in Maliorca. Sevilla is the heart of Flamenco country. The lively rhythmic opening and conclusion suggest a Flamenco fiesta, but the central section interrupts with the mournful cry of a Flamenco singer.

[16] Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Dance of the Miller (From Naxos 8.553999) (02:46)

Manuel de Falla was born in Cádiz, where he first studied, moving later to Madrid and then Paris, returning to Madrid in 1914 when war broke out. Strongly influenced by the traditional Andalusian cante jondo he settled in Granada where his friends included the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Falla embraced gypsy flamenco music in several of his works. The Dance of the Miller is from the ballet The Three Cornered Hat. It is the flamenco dance-form the farruca and in its original scoring creates the effect of a giant orchestral guitar.

Disc Two

[1] Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909)
Recuerdos de la Alhambra (From Naxos 8.333999) (4:18)
Norbert Kraft

Polish born, Tárrega's pivotal influence on the classical guitar can still be felt today as he is considered to be the founder of modern guitar technique. Perhaps the best loved piece in the entire guitar repertoire is Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra). Inspired by that beautiful ancient palace in the hills of Granada, Tárrega reflects on the delicately carved, intricate filigree in the very walls of the buildings through the tremolo study.

[2] Fernando Sor (1778-1839)
Theme & Variations, Op. 11 (From Naxos 8.553723) (06:11)
John Holmquist

The Catalan composer Fernando Sor was one of the most significant guitar composers in the nineteenth century Golden Age of the Guitar. Sor was born in Spain, and wrote a large number of works ranging from brief miniatures to large-scale sonatas and fantasies. His 'Méthode pour la guitarre', published in 1830, is among the most important books on guitar technique.

[3] Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Danza Española No.1 arr. Peter Breiner (From Naxos 8.553037) (03:07)
Allegro -Andante
Norbert Kraft / Razumovsky Sinfonia / Peter Breiner

The first of the twelve Spanish Dances, originally written for piano. The dances are well suited to the guitar, as this version for guitar and orchestra demonstrates.

[4- 6] Antonio Ruiz-Pipó (1934-1998)
3 Estancias (From Naxos 8.554555)

I (01:59)
II (01:59)
III (02:10)
Denis Azabagic

Born in Granada, Ruiz-Pipó played the guitar in his youth, providing him with a working knowledge of the instrument for which he wrote numerous works. His music is consistently tonal, and he revels in sharp contrasts of mood and colour. These characteristics are evident in the 3 Estancias (dwelling places or sojourns in South America). They are dedicated to Karl Schneit, Alberto Ponce and Angelo Gilardino.

[7] Antonio Jose (1902-1936)
Sonata: Allegro moderato (From Naxos 8.554555) (05:59)
Denis Azabagic

Antonio Jose was born in Burgos and died young in a nearby village, shot by Franco's Falangist militia. His friends included liberal artists like Garcia Lorca and Salvador Dali. Even the support of distinguished cultural figures failed to keep his music in the public consciousness, and it was not until 1980 that interest was aroused by a monograph 'Antonio Jose, Musician of Castile'. The Sonata was completed in 1933 but was published for the first time in 1990. It is arguably the most important sonata-form work for the guitar by any Spanish composer of the pre-war years.

[8] Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999)
Concierto de Aranjuez -Adagio (From Naxos 8.554400/8.550729) (10:34)
Norbert Kraft / Northern Chamber Orchestra

Born in Sagunto on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, Joaquín Rodrigo is best known for his guitar concertos. Written in 1939, the second movement from the famous Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra is among the most beautiful music in the entire concerto literature. As Rodrigo himself said of the work, "Although this concerto is a piece of pure music, without any programme, by situating it in Aranjuez, I wanted to indicate a specific time: the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, the courts of Charles IV and Ferdinand VII, a subtly stylised atmosphere of majas, bullfighters, and Spanish sounds returned from America... ".

[9-13] Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)
Escarramán (From Naxos 8.554831)
I - Gallarda (03:48)
II - EI Canario (03:29)
III - EI Villano (02:44)
IV - 'pesame dello amor' (04:03)
V - 'El rey Don Alonso el Bueno' (04:02)
Lorenzo Micheli

Escarramán - A Suite of Spanish Dances from the XVIth Century (after Cervantes) Op. 177 is along neglected masterpiece in the guitar repertory. Escarramán is one of the colourful and disreputable characters to be found in Spanish literature. He is an underworld character who appeared in the jácaras of Francisco Gómez de Quevedo and others. Cervantes also depicted this underworld on occasions and several of his comic Entremeses inspired Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Suite.

[14-15] Joaquín Turina (1882-1949)
Fandanguillo, Soleares (From Naxos 8.553999)
Fandanguillo (04:45)
Soleares (01:55)
Norbert Kraft

A native of Seville, Turina won local success before travelling to Madrid where he met Manuel de Falla and was further Influenced by the currents of musical nationalism. Turina's music for guitar is an important part of the repertoire of the instrument. Almost all his pieces are based on flamenco dance forms. The Fandanguillo uses the fandango rhythm and builds to a climax through improvised sounding figures. The dance-form Soleares takes its name from the Spanish word for 'solitude' (soledad) and depicts loneliness throughout its repeated rhythms and dark harmonies.

[16] Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999)
En Los Trigales (From Naxos 8.553999) (03:49)
Martha Masters

The fame of Rodrigo with the general public rests mainly in the Concierto de Aranjuez. With guitarists and their particular public it rests more on his many solo works based on traditional Spanish dances and vignettes of Spanish life and places. Rodrigo was uniquely focused on compiling a musical archive of his country's history, life & places. En Los Trigales (In the wheat fields) portrays one aspect of rural life.

[17] Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Danza Espanola No.5 (From Naxos 8.553037) (04:32)
Allegretto, quasi allegretto
Norbert Kraft / Razumovsky Sinfonia / Peter Breiner
See Disc One, Track 1

CD 1 begins with the solo version of the piece.
CD 2 ends with the orchestral transcription of the piece.

Close the window