Viva España!

CD 18 of 24

There has been some debate as to the exact origins of the guitar. For some, it descended from the Greek kithara, an ancient lyre; for others, the instrument originated in Arabia –  but on one point there is agreement. By the time of the Renaissance the precursor of our modern guitar, the lute, had been firmly established in Europe. (Recall John Dowland’s Fantasia - CD 2, Track 12). However, the instrument that evolved into the classical guitar, the instrument we know today, did not appear until the late eighteenth century.

As the guitar gained popularity in Spain, method books began to appear, the one written by  Don Federico Moretti (1769 – 1839) having the biggest influence on Fernando Sor (1778-1839). Moretti taught that the guitar had melodic possibilities and could be much more than an accompanying instrument. Sor expanded on Moretti’s ideas, writing his own method book, publishing it in 1830.  He also travelled widely, visiting Paris, London and Russia. His Sonata in C Major (Track 4), is a superb demonstration of the guitar’s ability to be both melody-maker and accompanist.

Isaac Albéniz (1860 – 1909), who built his fame on his pianistic abilities, is another composer/virtuoso who travelled widely, running away from home at the age of 12 to do so! Albéniz’s piano music has attained most of its fame through the guitar transcription, in particular, those of fellow composer Francisco Tárrega and twentieth-century virtuoso Andrés Segovia, whose transcription appears on this disc (Track 5)

The Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 – 1959) travelled his country collecting songs, similar to Bartok’s excursions in his native land. Villa-Lobos integrated these songs into many pieces, but it is his Five Preludes for guitar of 1940 where we find some of his most popular works. Constantly programmed into recitals and studied by students, these pieces continue to resonate with players and concert attendees alike.

Federico Moreno Torroba (1891 – 1982) was a favourite of Segovia, and it was to Torroba that he first turned when asking non-guitar playing composers to write for the instrument. Segovia realized that he required a constant stream of new repertoire if he was to bring the instrument to the level of popularity it eventually attained.

The Paraguayan Agustín Barrios (1885 – 1944) was known as the Paganini of the guitar. His La Cathedral was inspired by the organ music of Bach that he heard while attending church.  Cuban Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) continues to write a wide range of music for the instrument including the vey melodic Cancion de Cuna, along with pieces employing more modern techniques.

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 – 1999) wrote one of the most enduring concertos of the twentieth century, and it remains the most popular guitar concerto ever written. His Concierto de Aranjuez, inspired by the gardens at the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, remains a staple on Classical FM radio stations, and its music, particularly the haunting Adagio (Track 2), has resonated with audiences since its début. This second movement, representing a saeta, a song sung during very emotional services, uses the cor Anglais (English horn) to simulate the crying of the human voice.    


Recommended Tracks 

Recommended Tracks

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 - 1999):
Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra | 1. Allegro con spirito
Isaac Albéniz (1860 - 1909):
Granada, Op.47, No.1 (trans. Segovia)
Federico Moreno Torroba (1891 - 1982):
Toriija (rev. Segovia)


(Please find our recommended audio excerpts for this CD on the bottom of the "Overview" page.)

      1. Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 - 1999)
        Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra
        1. 1.
          1. Allegro con spirito
        2. 2.
          2. Adagio
        3. 3.
          3. Allegro gentile
          Göran Söllscher, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
      2. Fernando Sor (1778 - 1839)
      3. 4.
        Sonata in C op.15b
      4. Isaac Albéniz (1860 - 1909)
      5. 5.
        Granada, Op.47, No.1 (trans. Segovia)
      6. Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1885 - 1944)
      7. 6.
        Vals (Waltz) Op.8 , No.3
      8. La Catedral
        1. 7.
          1. Preludio. Lento
        2. 8.
          2. Andante solemne
        3. 9.
          3. Allegretto
      9. Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 - 1959)
        5 Preludes
        1. 10.
          No. 1 in E minor
        2. 11.
          No. 2 in E
        3. 12.
          No. 3 in A minor
        4. 13.
          No. 4 in E minor
        5. 14.
          No. 5 in D
      10. Federico Moreno Torroba (1891 - 1982)
      11. 15.
        Toriija (rev. Segovia)
      12. Leo Brouwer (*1939)
        2 Temas Populares Cubanos
        1. 16.
          Canción de cuna (Berceuse)
          Göran Söllscher
    Playing Time 01:09:18