The more I study and play the music of J. S. Bach the more I realize how incredibly adept he was at assimilating a variety of styles and somehow making it all his own. Each piece has its own unique flavor and when listening to a lot of western music written after Bach’s time (regardless of genre) much of it seems to be derived from the master.
The 8-string allowed me to preserve the intervals and keep the music true to the composer’s intentions. The only way for me to maintain Bach’s polyphonic lines was to multi-track 2 or 3 parts. Most of the pieces required the time-consuming task of transposing the music into guitar-compatible keys. I used an 8-string guitar made by Stephen Kakos for the lower notes and a 6-string guitar made by German Vazquez Rubio for the higher end.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918), one of the most important of all French composers was a major figure in European music at the beginning of the 1900′s. His music defines the transition from late-Romantic music to 20th century modernist music. There exists a sensuous quality to his music and it is noted how his compositions often avoid being formed around one key or pitch. His harmonies, abrupt modulations and use of unusual scales (whole-tone and pentatonic) were considered radical in his day, but today sound quite normal as he influenced almost every major composer of the 20th century.
Debussy was a gifted pianist and an outstanding sight-reader, but his true passion was for composition. He frequently challenged the rigid teaching of the Paris Conservatoire and favored dissonances and intervals that were frowned upon at the time. One of his famous quotes is, “Some people wish above all to conform to the rules, I wish only to render what I can hear. There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” Another is, “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.”
The pieces on this recording are Daniel Estrem’s transcriptions of a sampling of Debussy’s piano works. The majority of the music consists of three suites; Suite Bergamasque (1890), Children’s Corner (1908) and Petite Suite (1889).
This collage album is comprised of several musical styles: The Baroque period represented by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), the Classical period by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), and the Romantic period by Frederick Chopin (1810-1849). The least known composer on this recording, Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934), was a Brazilian pianist and composer especially noted for his creative tango and choro compositions. Nazareth (pronounced: nah-zah-ray) skillfully combined diverse influences into his music, not only from Brazil but also from North America (ragtime), Europe, and Africa. His music remains popular in South America and is enjoying increased global exposure in the 21st century.
On this recording Daniel Estrem performs on 6 and 8- string guitars and tenor ukulele.
The 6 Suites for Unaccompanied Cello (circa 1720) contain a wide emotional range and their intimacy has made them amongst J.S. Bach’s most popular works today. Portions of the suites have been transcribed for a great variety of instruments. There have been several transcriptions for the standard 6-string guitar that require transposing the cello score into the higher range of the guitar. Most of the transcribers have liberally added extra bass notes and harmonies to “enhance” the comparatively sparse cello score.
Daniel Estrem’s recordings of the first three suites are in their original keys and are read from the original bass clef (normally guitar music is written in the treble clef). The extended lower range of the 8-string guitar allows the performer to play the same notes as the cello. Using this approach there is no apparent need to add any extra notes or improve on the composer’s score.
[hifilofi] 01-Suite 1 in G Major Prelude (2:41)
[hifilofi] 02-Suite 1 in G Major Allemande (3:57)
[hifilofi] 03-Suite 1 in G Major Courante (2:48)
[hifilofi] 04-Suite 1 in G Major Sarabande (2:46)
[hifilofi] 05-Suite 1 in G Major Menuet 1 and 2 (3:11)
[hifilofi] 06-Suite 1 in G Major Gigue (1:48)
[hifilofi] 07-Suite 2 in D Minor Prelude (3:22)
[hifilofi] 08-Suite 2 in D Minor Allemande (3:15)
[hifilofi] 09-Suite 2 in D Minor Courante (2:37)
[hifilofi] 10-Suite 2 in D Minor Sarabande (3:46)
[hifilofi] 11-Suite 2 in D Minor Menuet 1 and 2 (2:48)
[hifilofi] 12-Suite 2 in D Minor Gigue (2:54)
[hifilofi] 13-Suite 3 in C Major Prelude (4:01)
[hifilofi] 14-Suite 3 in C Major Allemande (3:42)
[hifilofi] 15-Suite 3 in C Major Courante (3:42)
[hifilofi] 16-Suite 3 in C Major Sarabande (3:45)
[hifilofi] 17-Suite 3 in C Major Bouree 1 and 2 (3:23)
[hifilofi] 18-Suite 3 in C Major Gigue (3:34)
[hifilofi] 01-Suite 6 in D Major Prelude BWV 1012 (JS Bach) (5:01)
[hifilofi] 02-Suite 6 in D Major Allemande BWV 1012 (JS Bach) (6:21)
[hifilofi] 03-Suite 6 in D Major Courante BWV 1012 (JS Bach) (3:25)
[hifilofi] 04-Suite 6 in D Major Sarabande BWV 1012 (JS Bach) (2:34)
[hifilofi] 05-Suite 6 in D Major Gavotte 1 2 BWV 1012 (JS Bach) (4:15)
[hifilofi] 06-Suite 6 in D Major Gigue BWV 1012 (JS Bach) (3:38)
[hifilofi] 07-Suite 5 in C Minor Prelude BWV 1011 (JS Bach) (6:36)
[hifilofi] 08-Suite 5 in C Minor Allemande BWV 1011 (JS Bach) (4:47)
[hifilofi] 09-Suite 5 in C Minor Courante BWV 1011 (JS Bach) (2:31)
[hifilofi] 10-Suite 5 in C Minor Sarabande BWV 1011 (JS Bach) (4:01)
[hifilofi] 11-Suite 5 in C Minor Gavotte 1 2 BWV 1011 (JS Bach) (4:46)
[hifilofi] 12-Suite 5 in C Minor Gigue BWV 1011 (JS Bach) (2:09)
[hifilofi] 13-Suite 4 in E flat Major Prelude BWV 1010 (JS Bach) (5:12)
[hifilofi] 14-Suite 4 in E flat Major Allemande BWV 1010 (JS Bach) (2:53)
[hifilofi] 15-Suite 4 in E flat Major Courante BWV 1010 (JS Bach) (3:09)
[hifilofi] 16-Suite 4 in E flat Major Sarabande BWV 1010 (JS Bach) (3:12)
[hifilofi] 17-Suite 4 in E flat Major Bouree 1 2 BWV 1010 (JS Bach) (5:52)
[hifilofi] 18-Suite 4 in E flat Major Gigue BWV 1010 (JS Bach) (3:09)
[hifilofi] 01-Allegro Concerto in D major RV325 (A Vivaldi) (2:29)
[hifilofi] 02-Larghetto Concerto in D major RV325 (A Vivaldi) (3:43)
[hifilofi] 03-Allegro Concerto in D major RV325 (A Vivaldi) (2:37)
[hifilofi] 04-Allegro Concerto in A minor RV461 (A Vivaldi) (4:49)
[hifilofi] 05-Larghetto Concerto in A minor RV461 (A Vivaldi) (3:24)
[hifilofi] 06-Allegro Concerto in A minor RV461 (A Vivaldi) (3:17)
[hifilofi] 07-Allegro Concerto in E major RV265 (A Vivaldi) (4:08)
[hifilofi] 08-Largo Concerto in E major RV265 (A Vivaldi) (3:28)
[hifilofi] 09-Allegro Concerto in E major RV265 (A Vivaldi) (3:21)
[hifilofi] 10-Allegro Concerto in D minor RV565 (A Vivaldi) (4:32)
[hifilofi] 11-Largo Concerto in D minor RV565 (A Vivaldi) (2:25)
[hifilofi] 12-Allegro Concerto in D minor RV565 (A Vivaldi) (2:56)
[hifilofi] 13-Allegro Concerto in G major RV310 (A Vivaldi) (2:44)
[hifilofi] 14-Largo Concerto in G major RV310 (A Vivaldi) (2:01)
[hifilofi] 15-Allegro Concerto in G major RV310 (A Vivaldi) (3:03)
[hifilofi] 16-Allegro Concerto in A minor RV356 (A Vivaldi) (3:25)
[hifilofi] 17-Largo Concerto in A minor RV356 (A Vivaldi) (1:56)
[hifilofi] 18-Presto Concerto in A minor RV356 (A Vivaldi) (2:49)
The Estrem and Holmquist guitar duo (active from 1971-1988) performs a program of Estrem’s transcriptions of 11 Lyric Pieces and the Holberg Suite by Edvard Grieg. The music was originally for piano, and transfers successfully to the medium of guitar duets. Grieg created a world of intimacy and lyricism that is well represented on the classic guitar. The instrument has the ability to project colors and shadings not possible on the keyboard. Also, most of the brief motifs used in the Lyric Pieces are taken from Scandinavian folk music, and the guitar has its own special charm with folk rhythms and melodies.
This album was recorded in an acoustically-live stone church in 1980, released on vinyl but was never re-released as a CD. The master tape was lost, but now 30 years later, with the advances in digital restoration of vinyl albums, this gem of a recording is reborn.
“This music speaks to the heart, and the rapport and sensitivity of the performers recalls the eminent duo of Presti and Lagoya.”
Guitar Player magazine
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Classical guitarists have been attracted to Scarlatti’s sonatas because many of them are idiomatic and sound natural on plucked instruments. It should be noted that the sonority of the plucked string is the natural home of the Baroque sound. Lutes, harpsichords, theorbos, spinets, Baroque guitars and harps all generate sound like the classical guitar and ukulele of today.
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) lived the first half of his life in Naples, Italy and moved to the Iberian Peninsula in 1720, where he remained until his death. His first appointment was at the Royal court in Lisbon, Portugal. A decade later he moved to Madrid and took a position at the Royal Spanish court and it was here that the majority of his 550 harpsichord sonatas were written and where his artistic personality began to flourish. Using his imagination, he tested the limits and possibilities of the harpsichord resulting in compositions that surpassed his contemporaries in their originality and experimentation. His expansion of keyboard technique and virtuosity have more in common with keyboard music written a century after his death. Chronologically, he is classified as a Baroque composer, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style.
Scarlatti’s encounter with the Spanish culture had a profound effect on his compositions. The influence of folk music, the use of modes and other tonal inflections were more or less alien to European art music of the era. Many of his chord patterns and dissonances are suggestive of the guitar. The eminent harpsichordist and musicologist Ralph Kirkpatrick said, “As far as we know, Scarlatti never played the guitar, but surely no composer ever fell more deeply under its spell.”
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[hifilofi] 01-Sonata K435 in D Major allegro (D Scarlatti) (4:39)
[hifilofi] 02-Sonata K328 in G Major andante comodo (D Scarlatti) (4:40)
[hifilofi] 03-Sonata K32 in A Minor (orig D Minor) aria (D Scarlatti) (2:32)
[hifilofi] 04-Sonata K115 in D Minor (orig C Minor) allegro (D Scarlatti) (8:00)
[hifilofi] 05-Sonata K481 in A Minor (orig F Minor) andante cantabile (D Scarlatti) (6:24)
[hifilofi] 06-Sonata K159 in G Major (orig C Major) allegro (D Scarlatti) (2:38)
[hifilofi] 07-Sonata K234 in G Minor andante (D Scarlatti) (6:34)
[hifilofi] 08-Sonata K33 in D Major allegro (D Scarlatti) (5:07)
[hifilofi] 09-Sonata K27 in E Minor (orig B Minor) allegro (D Scarlatti) (4:23)
[hifilofi] 10-Sonata K466 in A Minor (orig F Minor) andante (D Scarlatti) (7:49)
[hifilofi] 11-Sonata K214 in D Major allegro vivo (D Scarlatti) (4:52)
[hifilofi] 12-Sonata K9 in D Minor (pastorale) allegro (D Scarlatti) (4:22)
[hifilofi] 13-Sonata K54 in A Minor allegro (D Scarlatti) (5:24)
Antonio Vivaldi’s extensive body of concertos (over 500) spanned a period greater than three decades. L’Estro Armonico, Op. 3, (Harmonic Inspiration) is a collection of twelve concertos for 1, 2, and 4 violins (1711). It achieved instant success and exerted a widespread influence on 18th-century instrumental music. In fact, J. S. Bach was so impressed that he transcribed six of these concertos for various instruments as an expression of his indebtedness. These concertos, two of which are included on this recording (No. 2 and suggest a conscious effort by Vivaldi to forge a new concerto language.
Vivaldi’s brief Concerto in G Major (Alla Rustica) with its strong allusions to folk music is well-suited to the guitar, which is particularly adept with folk melodies and rhythms.
The Brandenburg Concertos (1721) by J. S. Bach are widely regarded as among the finest musical compositions of the Baroque era. No two of the six concertos are alike in their instrumentation. The Third Concerto included on this recording is a pure ensemble piece. Between the two rollicking outer movements lies a puzzle that has often perplexed scholars and challenged performers. This second movement labeled adagio, consists of a mere two chords. When played literally it sounds far too short to separate the pulsating and energetic first and third movements. Consequently, many performers (D. Estrem included) opt to insert an appropriate slow movement from another one of Bach’s works.
The Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor, also known as the Double Violin Concerto is one of the more famous works by Bach. It was written around 1730 and includes one of Bach’s most touching and beautiful slow movements.
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[hifilofi] 01-Concerto Op3 no8 RV522 Allegro (A Vivaldi) (4:06)
[hifilofi] 02-Concerto Op3 no8 RV522 Larghetto (A Vivaldi) (3:59)
[hifilofi] 03-Concerto Op3 no8 RV522 Allegro (A Vivaldi) (4:02)
[hifilofi] 04-Brandenburg Concerto no3 BWV1048 Allegro (JS Bach) (6:34)
[hifilofi] 05-BWV1019 Largo (JS Bach) (1:44)
[hifilofi] 06-Brandenburg Concerto no3 BWV1048 Allegro (JS Bach) (6:19)
[hifilofi] 07-Concerto Op3 no2 RV578 Adagio e spiccato (A Vivaldi) (1:38)
[hifilofi] 08-Concerto Op3 no2 RV578 Allegro (A Vivaldi) (2:59)
[hifilofi] 09-Concerto Op3 no2 RV578 Larghetto (A Vivaldi) (2:44)
[hifilofi] 10-Concerto Op3 no2 RV578 Allegro (A Vivaldi) (3:02)
[hifilofi] 11-Concerto in D Minor BWV1043 Vivace (JS Bach) (4:20)
[hifilofi] 12-Concerto in D Minor BWV1043 Largo (JS Bach) (6:34)
[hifilofi] 13-Concerto in D Minor BWV1043 Allegro (JS Bach) (5:57)
[hifilofi] 14-Concerto in G Major RV151 Presto (A Vivaldi) (1:22)
[hifilofi] 15-Concerto in G Major RV151 Adagio (A Vivaldi) (0:52)
[hifilofi] 16-Concerto in G Major RV151 Allegro (A Vivaldi) (1:40)