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The Classical Guitar Collection: 48 Great Classical Gtr Solos Intermed. to Adv. Level: Faber Music

Pieces by Aguado, Albeniz, Anon, Arnold, JS Bach, Brescianello, Carulli,Buxtehude, Cimarosa, Debussy, Diabelli, Ferrer, Grieg, Giuliani, Froberger, Barrios, Mertz, Maw. Mozart, Morlaye, Purcell, Sagreras, Schumann, Sculthorpe, Strauss, Tarrega and Sor.

Faber Music: 102 pages

Here is a compendium of four dozen pieces from the last 400 or so years, some original works, many arranged from other sources, and as with every book of this sort, every player will find something they enjoy and will also find a few things that they are not so keen on, but suffice it to say that the variety of the pieces is exceptional. So, therefore we find some of the usual fare of 19th Century writers, Sor, Giuliani, Carulli and so on. However then we get a big plus in some of the many works arranged by Julian Bream, and finally a few modern pieces that may well be completely unknown to many players.

The book starts with a quirky little Valtz (Op 7 No6) by Dionisio Aguado, a lot of whose works I don’t think are as often played as the Sors or Giulianis of this world .After the Anon Romance and Asturias (Leyenda) by Isaac Albeniz we find two movements from Malcolm Arnold’s Fantasy Op107, which has some tricky moments in it, ,particularly the Scherzo, but highly original in sound and probably like nothing you have played before. Then we find four pieces from J.S Bach, with Julian Bream’s individual touch on them, and so there are little parts that are subtly different from the usual versions. Two movements arranged anonymously from the violin originals of Brescianello follow, and after the Sicilienne of Carulli Op34 No2, we get the Julian Bream versions of 4 movements from Buxtehude’s Suite in Em. A complex and very involving Sonata No2 of Cimarosa has its difficult moments but is well worth the effort. Then we find Julian Bream’s arrangements of two of Debussy’s 24 Preludes for piano, the wonderful La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin, and the jaunty Minstrels, both from book 1. Having arranged 12 of these fabulous pieces for two guitars (published by Les Productions D’Oz ) I was intrigued to see how they fitted onto just one guitar, as I personally always found them too complex to actually fit that way. All I can say is that in this form they are exceedingly difficult, and only a truly advanced player would be able to cope with them, but again are lovely pieces if you attempt them, and with Julian Bream’s touch on them, you know they are not going to be awful. Incidentally I am convinced that La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin has two misprints, bar 19, 2nd beat, 3rd Semiquaver is definitely a G#, not a G natural, and bar 20, 3rd beat, has a quaver of a C natural, which definitely should be a C#, as would also be the last semi – quaver in the same bar. One movement from Julian Bream’s version of Diabelli’s Sonata in F Major, then leads onto two pieces from Jose Ferrer, always fun to play and a composer whose music really should be heard and played more often. Three pieces from the 10 books of 66 pieces of Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Pieces are more works from Julian Bream. Again all 10 books and 66 pieces therein, have been arranged by me for 2 guitars ( same publisher as before),and my comments are similar to the Debussy, as I still find them too awkward on just one guitar, but you might think entirely differently. Two quite familiar Giuliani pieces, lead us onto 2 movements from Bream’s arrangement of Froberger’s Suite in Am. La Catedral of Agustin Barrios, a wonderful piece of writing for anyone who doesn’t know this piece, takes us onto 2 Landler by the significant guitar/composer Johann Kaspar Mertz, again, a composer whose music is all brilliant from one end to the other. Then A Winter Landscape (from Little Suite for Guitar) by modern composer Nicholas Maw takes us into largely unknown territory, and a lovely piece of writing it is. Bream’s arrangement of Mozart’s Larghetto and Allegro from his Divertimento K229, is a fine piece of writing, superbly worked onto the guitar. After a brief Gaillarde from Guillaume Morlaye , we get Julian Bream’s arrangement of Henry Purcell’s Four Pieces, all working beautifully on the guitar. Two pieces from Sagreras’s large repertoire take us onto Julian Bream’s arrangement of Schumann’s Theme with Variations, a complex and very interesting piece of writing. A very spaced – out piece of writing by Peter Sculthorpe, Into The Dreaming was a fine piece I hadn’t come across before, and after two of Johann Strauss’s Op 7 Waltzes, we finish with Tarrega’s Capricho Arabe and Recuerdos de la Alhambra and finally the short Op31 No23 Etude by Fernando Sor.

I hope I have shown you how varied this very worthwhile album is , and no matter how well up you might be with guitar pieces, there are bound to be a significant amount you will not know, and so it is easy to say that this book would be a lovely addition to anyone’s library.

Chris Dumigan

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