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Featured Album

A Classical Journey

Terrence Farrell   *   Guitarist

   A Classical Journey, CD by Terrence Farrell

Listen to MP3 samples from A Classical Journey:
   Balletto Anonymous              Fuge in Am J.S. Bach
  Gavotte en Rondeau J.S. Bach
  Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring J.S. Bach
  Allegro, Grand Sonata Opus 22 Fernando Sor

  Three Lute Pieces of the Italian Renaissance:
  1.   Balletto   Anonymous (circa 1550)
  2.   Canzone   Anonymous
  3.   Saltarello   Vincenzo Galilei (1525-1591)
Assorted Selections:
  4.   Fuge in Am   J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
  5.   Gavotte en Rondeau   J.S. Bach
  6.   Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring    J.S. Bach
  7.   Courante in A   J.S. Bach
  8.   Etude Opus 6 #11   Fernando Sor (1778-1839)
Grand Sonata Opus 22  
Fernando Sor
  9.   Allegro    
  10.   Adagio    
  11.   Minuetto    
  12.   Rondo Allegretto    

The music recorded here comprises some of my favorites from the heart of the classical guitar. The story of the classical guitar began in the late 1700's to early 1800's. It was during that time that the guitar achieved the basic hourglass shape with six strings which defines the guitar to this day. The era coincides with the shift from the Classical to the Romantic period in music. The music of the day reflects the confluence of the two Styles: elegance and grace from the Classical and a richer, more expressive palette from the Romantic.

Nowhere are the two more eloquently expressed than in the music of Fernando Sor generally, and in his Sonata Op.#22 specifically. Called "the Beethoven of the guitar" by a prominent critic of the period, his music nevertheless often sounds more like Mozart. We can hear both of those qualities in this sonata. The allegro, rondo and minuet have all the grace of the classical era while the adagio and etude plumb the depths of human emotion reminiscent of the slow movements of Beethoven.

If a guitarist wants to play music older than the classical era, one plays transcriptions from other instruments. Although the classical guitar wasn't around, a number of other instruments were played in a like manner. One among the plucked instruments of antiquity that falls into this category is the lute. An instrument of Arabic origin, it strummed through Europe and by the 1500's held the distinction of being its most popular instrument. More music was written for it in solo, for voice and in ensemble than any other instrument.

The music for lute comes from transcriptions of ancient texts made in the 1800's by a leading Italian musicologist Oscar Chilesotti. His transcriptions were mined by no less than the great orchestral composer Ottorino Respighi. The delightful lute songs performed here are from that collection. Of particular note, Vincenzo Gallilei, father of Gallileo, wrote the Saltarello. He was also one of the Florentines who, while thinking they were recreating ancient Greek theater, became the "inventors" of modern opera.

The great heyday for instrumental music occurred during the Baroque period in music. Stretching from roughly 1600 to 1750 (the death of J.S. Bach) this era in music saw the pinnacle of the unaccompanied musical suite, sets of dances written to exploit the technical and expressive depths of an instrument. Bach's instrumental suites are one of the great hallmarks of music. Included here are some of my favorites. I don't presume to include the full breadth of his style. That would take many volumes. These are several that I enjoy performing culled from his works for lute, violin, cello and choir. These and other works of his have always been part of my musical journey. At times filling the room where I practice with majesty, poignancy, grace, refinement, and yes, exaltation!

Terrence Farrell

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