Guitar Recital: Kevin Gallagher (Kevin R. Gallagher) (Naxos: 8.554444)
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Guitar Recital - KevinR. Gallagher
The modern guitar hasmany colourful ancestors that date back to the times of antiquity. Differentshapes, sizes and tunings abound in its history. The guitar of the present dayis a relatively new instrument. In the latter half of the 19th century, theSpanish luthier, Antonio de Torres Jurado (1817-1892) developedan instrument that has become the model for the modern guitar.
The advent of theearly music movement has demonstrated a widespread following of period instrumentperformers, scholars and enthusiasts unto itself. This disc samples the mostglorious music enjoyed by the modern guitarist from the repertoire of some ofits Renaissance and Baroque predecessors.
Luys de Narvaez, whoflourished between 1530 and 1550 was a Spanish composer and vihuelist. Hisbook, Los seys libros del delphin (Valladolid, 1538) contains some ofthe most inspired instrumental works of the time. Conde Claros is a setof 22 variations on the tonada of the same name. The Cancion del Emperador,is Narvaez's masterful arrangement of Mille regretz, the famous chansonby Josquin.
John Dowland (fl.
1563-1626), English composer and lutenist, was one of the greatest musicians ofthe Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. He composed over 80 pieces of solo lutemusic and his lute songs are among the most highly developed vocal works in thewestern tradition. The tunes of his Frog Galliard and Lochrimae Pavanwere also set for voice and lute as Now, O now, I needs must partand Flow my tears respectively. Tarleton's Resurrection isa beautiful little piece that was written to commemorate the passing of thefamous comic actor Richard Tarleton.
Francesco da Milano(fl.1497-1543), Italian composer and lutenist was called 'Il divino' by hiscontemporaries, a sobriquet he shared with the great Michelangelo. Francesco'soutput includes fantasias, ricercars and numerous arrangements ofcontemporary vocal works. The two ricercars included here exhibit hisexpert blending of early 16th century vocal techniques with idiomaticinstrumental writing.
Francisco Guerau, whoflourished in the late 17th century, was a Spanish composer and guitarist,whose music is becoming more familiar to guitarists and the general publicalike. His book Poema harmonico (Madrid, 1694) contains 27 compositionsof very high quality, all of which are written for the five-course Baroqueguitar and in variation form. His Canarios with its lively hemiolarhythms and his Marionas with its tender descending sequences are trulyenchanting.
Santiago de Murcia(c.1685-c.1732) was a Spanish composer and guitarist. His substantial outputcontains not only original works, but also many arrangements of works by hiscontemporaries. Folias Gallegas is a rustic dance-like piece which takesits inspiration from the well-known folia subject and the music of thenorth-western Spanish province Galicia. Payssanos is a reworking of thecelebrated tune Greensleeves.
Johann Sebastian Bach(1685-1750) needs little introduction; he was perhaps the greatest musician whoever lived. The autograph manuscript states that his Prelude, Fugue and Allegro,BWV998, was meant 'pour la Luth o Cembal' (for the Lute or theHarpsichord). It is probable that the piece was conceived at the keyboard withthe lute in mind. It has become a staple of the guitar repertoire.
The German composerSylvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750), was one of the greatest lutenists of histime. He travelled throughout Europe and met with many of the finest musiciansof the day. His beautiful improvisatory Prelude exhibits the stylebrise texture found in much lute and harpsichord music of the period. Thevirtuostic Courante and the tuneful Alternatum attest toWeiss'mastery of idiomatic writing.