BAROQUE GUITAR FAVOURITES (Camerata Cassovia/ Gerald Garcia/ Jaroslav Rybar/ Karol Petroczi/ Maria Lickova/ Pavol Gimcik/ Peter Breiner) (Naxos: 8.550274)
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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 ofhis concertos were written for his own performance. Among these is the Concertoin E minor, Opus 11, No.2, known as II Favorito, and one of those dedicated tothe Emperor Charles VI. This is one of the finest concertos of the period interms of expressiveness and organisation of musical content. The possibilitiesfor subtlety of expression and sustained notes available on the twentiethcentury guitar enabled me to transcribe this masterpiece with hardly anyalteration. A more obvious choice for transcription, however, is the lute musicwhich Vivaldi wrote, as both guitar and lute are sounded by plucking stringswith fingers. Part of the charm of the plucked string sound lies in the dyingaway of a note as soon as it is played. The concerto in D major brings the luteto 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, CountWrtby. It is perhaps appropriate that they were recorded in Slovakia withmusicians whose pedigree extends back to that time. The Trio Sonatas in C majorand G minor, RV 82 and RV 85, were originally written for violin, lute andcontinuo, instead of the more usual two violins. Again, transcription of thelute part for guitar is relatively straightforward.
Johann Sebastian Bach transcribed several of Vivaldi's works andpossibly gained an appreciation of the Italian style through them. He alsofrequently transcribed his own works when occasion demanded, and many of hisharpsichord concertos were originally written for other instrumentalcombinations. If, for instance, there was a shortage of good violinists, or heneeded an instrumental interlude in a Cantata (which had to be producedweekly), he could quickly substitute a keyboard part for himself or one of hissons 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 Cothen between1717 and 1723. It next appears in Cantata 146 and then in Cantata 188,transcribed an octave lower for organ. The sombre middle movement is punctuatedby a choir singing the words to 'Wir m??ssen durch viel Tr??bsal'. Finally theconcerto was transcribed for harpsichord around 1735 and this is the version I useas the basis for the guitar version. Many guitaristic idioms were revealed inthe course of preparing this arrangement, for example homophony and theextensive use of pedal-notes on open strings. These are of course violinisticdevices as well. The piece uses, then transforms the premise of the Italianconcerto that soloist and orchestra should have contrasting themes. In themomentous first movement both orchestra and soloist are plunged into theturbulent theme which they share and develop equally. D minor was a keyassociated with the emotions of uncertainty and despair in the Baroque period.
This mood permeates the reflective and highly decorated Adagio and is continuedin the finale which, in its choice of two opposing themes, guarantees aconflict between soloist and orchestra to the very end.
At his 1979 Wigmore Hall debut in London, one critichailed Gerald Garcia as a performer of rare quality and he has been describedby John Williams as one of today's foremost guitarists. Garcia has made many toursof the Far East and Europe and has appeared at the major internationalfestivals in Great Britain, including the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and South BankFestivals. His concert engagements have included performances with many leadingensembles and soloists, among them the London Sinfonietta, John Williams andFriends and Paco Pena. With the flautist Clive Conway he has toured andbroadcast extensively in Britain and has played at the Glastonbury Pop Festivaland on the ocean liner the QE II. Gerald Garcia was born in Hong Kong and nowlives in Oxford, his base for a busy career as recitalist, composer andconductor.
The Camerata Cassovia is the chamber ensemble of the Slovak StatePhilharmonic Orchestra which is based in the Eastern Slovakian town of Kosice.
The orchestra was founded in 1968 and has toured widely within Europe and theFar East.
Peter Breiner started piano lessons at the age of four, and went on tostudy at Bratislava Conservatory and at the Prague College of Music and Drama,concentrating at the latter in composition. In 1981, having completed hisstudies, he began work as musical supervisor in the Czecho-Slovak Radio inBratislava and for OPUS Records and Publishing. He has had a varied career ,involving the direction of the Czecho-Slovak Radio Children's Choir, playingjazz on the piano and working as an orchestral conductor and arranger.