The Beijing-born guitarist Xuefei Yang has recorded her first album of baroque music, an all-Bach programme anchored by three concertos newly arranged for guitar and string quartet. Bach Concertos is an exciting, innovative album in which she has transcribed for the guitar some of Bach’s familiar violin concertos and other works, hoping to establish these new arrangements as noteworthy repertoire for the guitar and to expand the concerto repertoire for that instrument. Xuefei complements the concertante repertoire with solo guitar arrangements of the Violin Sonata No. 1 BWV 1001, the Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier BWV 846 and the Air on a G string from the Orchestral Suite in D major BWV 1068.
Chopin said there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of a guitar, save perhaps two, and this wonderful collection includes perennial favorites for one, two and even four guitars. Two CDs include favorites for solo guitar and guitar duet; another two feature concertos with orchestra, including Rodrigos Concierto de Aranjuez; the fifth disc is devoted to the music of Bach; and finally a disc of popular music arranged for the guitar. With a running time of over 7 hours of music this box set provides excellent value for money. Features some of the greatest guitarists in the Decca catalogue, including Pepe Romero, Eduardo Fernández, Alexandre Lagoya, and "The Royal Family of the Guitar", Los Romeros Celedonio, and his sons, Angel, Celín & Pepe.
The fluidity of his playing on this album is amazing. Each note falls in place at exactly the right moment. Besides the well-known J.S. Bach, he also introduces us to several other less-known Baroque composers: Gaspar Sanz, Fernando Sor, S.L. Weiss, & Robert de Visee. Too often, Baroque music is presented as just an exercise in counterpoint. In this album, the rhythm is matched to human emotions in such a way that it's not just an academic exercise. The music is both exhilarating and soothing.
…The first thing that struck me was how comfortable Lams appeared to be with the material. One gets the impression that he has lived with this music for many years, absorbing it deeply into his unconscious so that it reemerges in his playing with minimal intellectual intervention. Of course, this all-important spiritual dimension must be combined with exceptional technical ability and seasoned performance skills to create lovely music and I'm happy to report that's the case. A novel take on Bach's timeless reperto ire.
Hille Perl is widely regarded as one of the leading viola da gambists in the world. Because of the prominence of her instrument in the Baroque era, her repertory is rich in works from that period, with the names, J.S. Bach, Telemann, Marin Marais, Sainte-Colombe, and other 17th and 18th century composers headlining her concert programs and recordings. Perl also plays the treble viol, the seven-string bass viol, Baroque guitar, Lirone, and Xarana.
The American lutenist, Hopkinson Smith, began as a teenager he began to study the classical guitar and in his early 20's, he became acquainted with the lute which he started to learn by himself. He majored in musicology at Harvard and graduated with honors in 1972. In 1973, Hopkinson Smith came to Europe to devote himself to the lute in earnest. He worked in Catalonia with Emilio Pujol, a profound pedagogue in the 19th century tradition who instilled in him a sense for higher artistic values, and in Switzerland with Eugen Dombois whose sense of happy organic unity between performer, instrument and historic period has had a lasting effect on him. From the mid 1970's, he was involved in various ensemble projects including the founding of the ensemble Hespèrion XX and a ten-year collaboration with Jordi Savall. This collaboration led to important experiences in chamber music which were a creative complement to his work as a soloist.