We now give you my long, overdue review of Middle Tennessee State University’s Tennessee Guitar Festival 2011, hosted by Dr. William Yelverton on June 1st-4th, 2011. I know these things are supposed to come out right after the event happens, so my apologies for that. The only excuse I have is that I’ve been on two continents, 13 different states (11 U.S. and two Brazilian), and have traveled almost the distance of the circumference of our planet since then. I won’t apologize for that, though. I had a blast!
Matt Palmer’s The Virtuoso Guitarist Volume 1: A New Approach to Fast Scales just came out a few months ago and it’s already on its 2nd printing! I’ve had the great opportunity to preview it and give feedback, and review it and do the same.
Matt does an excellent job of explaining his technique throughout the book, first giving a brief history of how he developed his technique, and then a complete run down between the approaches to both hands.
Un Tiempo Fue Italica Famosa is the remarkable, debut recording by D.C. based classical-guitarist Matt Palmer. Consisting primarily of music by Spanish composers, such as fan favorites Rodrigo, Turina, and Tarrega, the album also features works by Giuliani, and a virtuosic rendition of the “Sonata Mongoliana” by contemporary composer Stepan Rak, among others. Palmer delivers an absolutely incredible performance on this album. His command of advanced techniques, a refined sound, and a high-level of artistic expression, make Un Tiempo Fue Italica Famosa a classical guitar album of the highest standard.
Brad Richter (guitar) and Viktor Uzur (cello) are musicians of the highest caliber, and on their latest recording, String Theory, these two accomplished performers are at their absolute best, shining throughout. Never before has the guitar and cello duo captured such a wide range of expression, beauty, excitement, and artistry. Each a virtuoso in their own right, when they come together as a duo it’s easy to hear how closely these two are connected. They blend classical music, rock music, and improvisation, all with exquisite original compositions, producing a sound that is all their own.
Petar Jankovic’s Leyenda is an incredible recording that features a mix of standard works by Granados, Villa-Lobos, Albeniz, and Tansman, along with more recent additions to the classical guitar repertoire by Merlin and Dyens. Jankovic is a strong personality on the instrument, who possesses his own unique and distinguished style of playing. As one would expect from such a seasoned performer, his interpretations and performances are solid throughout the album.
Echomythia is the latest recording by Greek guitarist Dimitris Kotronakis, and is perhaps one of the most dazzling guitar recordings in recent memory. The original title for the CD was “Jazz, Latin, and Brazilian vibes for the guitar,” which perfectly describes the focus of the album on lesser known works and transcriptions from composers like Django Reinhardt, Raphael Fays, Augustin Barrios, Stepan Rak, Roland Dyens, Vojislav Ivanonvic, and Paco De Lucia to name a few.
Serbian classical guitarist Petar Jankovic is one of the finest soloists on the scene today, and he posse’s a unique, artistic, and a highly expressive style. Recently Jankovic has broken new ground and pushed the limits for the classical guitar even further with his announcement of the Petar Jankovic Ensemble, which is a string quartet led by guitar.
“Heavy Mellow” is an intensely interesting and musically captivating album by the San Francisco based group Flametal.
Brian Hulse’s album Pseudosynthesis is a collection of original compositions for solo piano, guitar and violin duo, flute and piano duo, and small chamber ensemble. On this album there are moments of singing melody, flamenco rhythms, discontinuities, syncopated rhythms, virtuosity; borrowing both form the classical tradition and twentieth century, making this music some of the most interesting and fresh twenty-first century chamber music recently recorded.
Terruno, the latest recording by Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas is fresh, exciting, and truly an amazing recording. It contains some lesser known guitar music and transcriptions by South American composers Vincent Lindsey Clark, Quique Sinesi, and Egberto Gismonti.