Tag Archives: Interpretation

‘Lagrima’ (Francisco Tarrega)

Hi all, here’s recording of my interpretation of ‘Lagrima’ by Francisco Tarrega, a popular piece in classical guitar repertoire. This was recorded at Nemix studios in Newcastle, using my Admira classical guitar. ‘Lagrima’ means ‘teardrop’ and the piece was written by Tarrega while homesick for his native Spain.

I feel this close-to recording captures an environment as intimate as Tarrega’s lodgings in London as he wrote this. You can hear my fingers in contact with the strings here. Personally, I quite like this. It makes an interesting contrast to how the classical guitar is heard in a concert context. However, I’d argue that the instrument is not naturally suited to the large auditorium, and a more intimate setting better highlights it’s harmonic qualities – but what do you guys think?

If this video above does not play, you can access the YouTube video here.

Enjoy xx

Advertisements

A song for Black Friday: Mercy (cover)

Is it Black Friday? Have mercy…

Tenuous enough of s link for you? Good.

Earlier this year I hit the studio with function band Switch, and this cover of ‘Mercy’ (made famous by Duffy) was one of the tracks we recorded.

The guitar I used was the same one you can see in the video: Fender Modern Player Stratocaster going through one of the in-house Marshall combos at the Loft Studios.

Thanks to Loft Studios, Newcastle upon Tyne, for the recording session & production. Also many thanks to Nemix studios (also Newcastle), which was our location for the video, and to Artifact Media for the film production!

Enjoy!

Albêniz’s ‘Leyenda’- open to interpretation

Interpretation is key to making music more than the robotic sounding of written notes on a page. It plays a large part in ensuring music remain an art, rather than a means of sequencing sound (this too can be a form of art, when done well, but that’s another article altogether).

I was recently asked to perform Spanish guitar music at a friend’s wedding service. Amongst other choices was Leyenda (meaning ‘legend’), one of the ‘big’ pieces classical guitar repertoire. Originally written by Spanish composer Isaac Albêniz (1860-1909) for piano, but transcribed for guitar within Albêniz’s lifetime.

The most famous transcription of this piece is by Andrés Segovia. Hear the great player performing it himself on this YouTube video. You may notice that Segovia’s interpretation is slower than more recent recordings. I’ve had some pretty interesting discussions with guitarists in the last few weeks and months regarding artistic interpretation. In almost all of these chats, the focus has been on the interpretation of the performer

However, what we hadn’t considered is the interpretation of the composer, or the arranger. When I say arranger, I mean one who transcribes music for other musicians to perform, rather than a player making interpretive changes solely for their own performance.

I came across a great article by composer & arranger Stanley Yates about this piece, which I wholeheartedly recommend you read here. In this article, Yates not only provides a large (and most welcome) amount if background information on the piece, but explains why his new arrangement differs more from Segovia’s than you might expect. The chief differences for me are the absence of sixteenth triplets in the opening section, which was Segovia’s invention (be honest, how many of you knew that?!) and a few differences to the interval of certain ‘grace notes’.

You can download Yates’s arrangement of Leyenda for free via this link to his website. I strongly recommend that you do this, in order to see these differences for yourself, and experience a very different side to a piece you thought you knew intimately.

The source for Yates’s arrangement is the original published piano work. He argues that he has attempted to stay true to the original piece without being pressured by the subsequent traditions of this piece which have grown over the last century. To say any more would be to rob Yates’s article completely – take some time to read it for yourself, and as always, please let me know your thoughts. Artistic interpretation has been a keen area of interest to me for a long time, and I am happy to open up a long-running conversation on the topic with readers & fellow music lovers. Get in touch!

Tim x

Link

Gasull and guitar recitals

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a recital by Guitar/Flute duo Maria Camahort and Lucy Driver at Newcastle upon Tyne’s beautiful Lit. & Phil. Society Library. This was the first time in a long time that I was at a classical recital where I wasn’t performing in some capacity, and though it made me restless to play, it did offer the opportunity to observe Maria’s wonderful classical guitar technique.

As a native of Spanish Catalonia, Camahort’s style is rooted in flamenco, with a right hand technique many guitar players would kill for. Again, anyone wishing to work on their own right hand technique, I strongly recommend Scott Tennant’s excellent book Pumping Nylon, which focuses on strength-building techniques and specialises in flamenco picking styles. A large amount of Camaohort & Driver’s recital repertiore favoured a spanish style which suited Maria’s guitar playing perfectly, though Lucy’s flute playing (in many cases their own arrangements and adaptations) soared to the reading room’s luxurious rafters and blended sumpuously with the guitar.

During their set, there was one composer of whom I had never heard, named Feliu Gasull. Another resident of Barcelona, Gasull started his career as a flamenco guitarist, studying guitar at the Geneva Conservatory of Music and composition at Indiana Univeristy. Many of his compositions (including the one’s I heard) are Gasull’s interpretations of Catalonian pop songs, featuring elements of flamenco, classical convention and even jazz. Camahort & Driver performed three of his peices (‘Dits’, ‘Nana de Sevilla’ & ‘Conta-xions’) and I have included the link to his official website here (www.feliugasull.com). I strongly encourage you to check out this amazing composer/arranger and incorporate some of his peices into your solo and ensemble playing.

In addition, here is the full programme from the recital, for those interested –
Sonata in E Major (J.S. Bach)
Andante in C (Mozart)
Danza Oritental (Granados)
Bagatella No. 2 (Walton)
Her Anxiety (J. McCredie)
Histoire du Tabgo – Cafe 1930 (Piazzolla)
There was also three short pieces by M. de Falla, grouped together in one multi-movement sitting called ‘Seis Canciones Populares Espanolas’ –
Nana
Polo (for me, this is another strongly recommended solo guitar performance piece)
Cancion

To find out more about Camahort & Driver (or to book them for performances), please contact them via their websites –
www.mariacamahort.com
www.lucydriver.com