Tag Archives: 10-string guitar

Narciso Yepes: The Complete Solo Recordings with DG

After a conspicuous absence of over two decades, the complete solo recordings of Narciso Yepes are again in print internationally:

https://www.amazon.com/Yepes-Complete-Solo-Recordings-Narciso/dp/B06Y1XGS1Y

http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4797316

71MCmyERTxL._SL1200_

Someone at Deutsche Grammophon is to be commended for bringing that label to its senses in this respect. Something has budged. Some ten years ago, when encouraged to do so, some head honcho at DG still replied with nonchalant intractability that “There is enough of Yepes already” – while his finest interpretations were unknown to guitarists and complete box sets of Segovia – and the less salable Bream – were, of course, available. Needless to say, in the post-print, digital-download era of music, there was no “economic” excuse for this suppression. But, happily, the situation has finally been remedied.

And yet… Unfortunately someone else at DG – whoever is responsible for commissioning booklet notes – is once again to be censured for a lack of historical awareness and the insult that they bring to the work of Yepes by associating it with the writing of one of the chief architects of anti-Yepes bigotry. Is it not high time to recognize the outdated but lingeringly toxic influence of such so-called guitar experts as Graham Wade – who long denigrated the non-formalist approach of Yepes as “wayward” and “destructive”; who promoted such untenable and deleterious ideological positions as the belief that “true creativity…[is] a continual extinction of personality”, that there is only one permissible tempo or interpretation (which happens to be Segovia’s or Bream’s); and who encouraged the “cast[ing]…into outer darkness” of artists (Yepes, first and foremost) who did not parrot Segovia’s particular brand of formalism (a.k.a. “Apollonian restraint”)?

So, regrettably, one has to say, with mixed feelings: Congratulations, DG, and shame on you.

A highly recommended set of very important recordings, nonetheless.

 

* * *

Tracks that used to be unavailable and/or are of particular interest are highlighted below, in bold:

CD 1: Spanish Guitar Music Of Five Centuries, Vol. 1
Alonso de Mudarra (1510 – 1580)
Luys Don Milan (1500 – 1562)
2.
9:00
Luys de Narváez (1490 – 1547)
Mille Regretz
Diego Pisador
6.
1:01
Gaspar Sanz (1640 – 1710)
Suite Española
Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes
7.
1:18
12.
1:34
13.
2:31
15.
3:07
Antonio Francisco Javier Jose Soler Ramos (1729 – 1783)
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 52:41
CD 2: Spanish Guitar Music Of Five Centuries, Vol. 2
Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839)
Francisco Tárrega (1852 – 1909)
5.
3:58
Isaac Albéniz (1860 – 1909)
España, Op.165
Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 – 1999)
Por los campos de España
Ernesto Halffter (1905 – 1989)
9.
5:51
Federico Moreno Torroba (1891 – 1982)
10.
3:25
Bassols Javier Montsalvatge (1912 – 2002)
Mauricio Ohana (1914 – 1992)
Antonio Ruiz-Pipo (1933 – 1997)
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 50:07
CD 3: Sor: 24 Études For Guitar
Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839)
12 Etudes, Op.29
24 Etudes, Op.35
2.
 
2:59
3.
 
1:30
12 Etudes, Op.6
4.
 
1:41
24 Etudes, Op.35
5.
 
1:38
12 Etudes, Op.29
6.
 
3:35
24 Etudes, Op.35
Etudes for Guitar, Op.31
9.
 
1:45
24 Etudes, Op.35
10.
 
1:44
11.
 
1:36
12 Etudes, Op.29
Etudes for Guitar, Op.31
12 Etudes, Op.6
15.
 
3:31
Etudes for Guitar, Op.31
16.
 
2:48
17.
 
2:44
12 Etudes, Op.29
18.
 
3:48
Etudes for Guitar, Op.31
19.
 
0:55
12 Etudes, Op.29
20.
 
3:13
12 Etudes, Op.6
21.
 
1:56
Etudes for Guitar, Op.31
22.
 
1:17
12 Etudes, Op.6
23.
 
1:07
Etudes for Guitar, Op.31
24.
 
2:07
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 52:19
CD 4: Música Española
Isaac Albéniz (1860 – 1909)
Suite española, Op.47
Transcr. A. Segovia
Recuerdos de Viaje, Op.71
Transcription by Narciso Yepes
Piezas caracteristicas, Op.92
Transcription by Narciso Yepes
Enrique Granados (1867 – 1916)
Spanish Dance, Op.37, No.4 – “Villanesca”
Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)
El Amor Brujo
Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes
El sombrero de tres picos
Arr. N. Yepes
Pt. 1
Joaquín Pérez Turina (1882 – 1949)
Sonata For Guitar Solo, Op.61
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 42:31
CD 5: J.S. Bach / Weiss: Works For Guitar
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Partita For Violin Solo No.2 In D Minor, BWV 1004
Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes
2.
 
15:29
Partita For Violin Solo No.1 In B Minor, BWV 1002
Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686 – 1750)
4.
 
2:30
Suite In E Major
5.
 
1:58
Suite In E Major
6.
 
3:38
Suite In E Major
7.
 
3:53
Suite In E Major
8.
 
1:35
Suite In E Major
9.
 
5:22
Suite In E Major
10.
 
1:15
Suite In E Major
11.
 
3:00
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 47:50
CD 6: Villa-Lobos: 12 Etudes; 5 Preludes
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 – 1959)
12 Etudes, W235
5 Preludes, W419
13.
4:54
14.
3:08
15.
3:10
16.
3:42
17.
4:24
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 55:21
CD 7: Rendezvous With Narciso Yepes
Francisco Tárrega (1852 – 1909)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996
Arr. For Guitar
3.
1:27
Adrien Le Roy
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996
Arr. For Guitar
5.
4:53
Anonymous
Francisco Tárrega (1852 – 1909)
La Alborada
7.
1:52
Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)
Danza del Molinero
8.
2:56
Miguel Llobet (1878 – 1938)
Antonio Ruiz-Pipo (1933 – 1997)
La Danza
10.
1:37
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 – 1959)
5 Preludes, W419
11.
4:39
Emilio Pujol Villarrubí (1886 – 1980)
Salvador Bacarisse (1898 – 1963)
13.
2:01
Narciso Yepes (1927 – 1997)
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 39:33
CD 8: Música Catalana
Andrés Segovia (1893 – 1987)
1.
 
3:01
Miguel Llobet (1878 – 1938)
3.
 
1:23
4.
 
3:16
Francisco Casanovas
Federico Mompou (1893 – 1987)
Cançons i dansas
7.
 
4:24
Narciso Yepes (1927 – 1997)
8.
 
2:12
Oscar Esplá (1886 – 1976)
Tres Levantinas
Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes
10.
 
2:34
11.
 
1:38
12.
 
1:19
Ruano Vincente Asencio (1908 – 1979)
Collectici intim
13.
 
4:38
14.
 
2:46
15.
 
2:42
16.
 
2:03
17.
 
2:47
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 47:07
CD 9: J.S. Bach: Works For Lute
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Suite In G Minor For Lute, BWV 995
1.
6:56
2.
6:28
3.
2:39
4.
2:59
6.
2:52
Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996
7.
3:10
8.
2:08
9.
3:19
10.
2:56
11.
1:33
12.
3:15
Prelude, Fugue And Allegro In E-Flat Major, BWV 998
Arr. For Guitar And Lute
13.
3:28
14.
5:59
15.
1:58
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 54:44
CD 10: J.S. Bach: Works For Lute
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Partita In C Minor For Lute, BWV 997
1.
3:21
2.
7:09
3.
5:32
Suite In E Major For Lute, BWV 1006a/1000
7.
4:14
8.
3:59
10.
4:30
11.
1:43
12.
1:50
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 47:30
CD 11: J.S. Bach: Works For Lute
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Suite In G Minor For Lute, BWV 995
1.
6:56
2.
5:30
3.
2:21
4.
2:41
6.
2:33
Suite In E Major For Lute, BWV 1006a/1000
7.
4:21
8.
4:14
10.
4:35
12.
1:49
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 51:09
CD 12: J.S. Bach: Works For Lute
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Prelude, Fugue And Allegro In E-Flat Major, BWV 998
Arr. For Guitar And Lute
1.
3:26
2.
5:58
3.
2:00
Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996
Arr. For Guitar
4.
3:10
5.
2:26
6.
2:36
7.
3:15
8.
1:24
9.
3:09
Partita In C Minor For Lute, BWV 997
Arr. For Guitar
11.
3:35
12.
7:51
13.
5:38
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 52:17
CD 13: Poulenc / Brouwer / Ruiz-Pipó / Maderna / Balada / Kucera
Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
Leo Brouwer (1939 – )
2.
 
6:13
Antonio Ruiz-Pipo (1933 – 1997)
3.
 
7:19
Bruno Maderna (1920 – 1973)
4.
 
7:48
Leonardo Balada
Analogías
5.
 
2:21
Analogías
6.
 
2:14
Analogías
7.
 
1:18
Analogías
8.
 
1:43
Václav Ku?era
Diario Omaggio A Che Guevarra
Diario, omaggio a Che Guevarra
9.
 
3:04
10.
 
2:38
11.
 
2:31
12.
 
2:17
13.
 
3:37
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 46:44
CD 14: Guitarra Romantica
Mauro Giuliani (1781 – 1829)
Sonata In C Major, Op.15
3.
 
2:14
Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839)
Mauro Giuliani (1781 – 1829)
Sonatina In D Major, Op.71 No.3
6.
 
3:55
7.
 
3:36
Francisco Tárrega (1852 – 1909)
Preludio In D Minor
8.
 
1:50
Preludio In E Major
9.
 
1:49
10.
2:15
11.
4:43
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 45:27
CD 15: Guitar Music By Brouwer / Carulli / Conge / Kühnel / Robinson / Sor
Johann Michael Kühnel (1665 – 1725)
Suite For Lute In A Major
Arr. For Guitar
1.
 
3:55
2.
 
1:41
3.
 
2:54
4.
 
1:58
5.
 
1:15
Thomas Robinson
The Schoole Of Musicke
Four Sacred Songs – Arr. For Guitar
7.
 
0:58
Michel Conge
La mort de Berenguer
Anonymous
Irish March
Ferdinando Carulli
Méthode complète pour le decadorde, Op. 293
Méthode complète pour le decadorde Op. 293
No. 30 Divertissement
12.
 
4:43
13.
 
2:55
Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839)
Fantaisie villageoise, Op. 52
14.
 
3:10
15.
 
0:35
16.
 
3:22
17.
 
3:08
Leo Brouwer (1939 – )
18.
 
4:54
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 45:52
CD 16: Guitar Music Of Five Centuries
Emanuel Adriaenssen (1550 – 1604)
Chanson Anglaise
David Kellner (1670 – 1748)
XVI Auserlesene Lauten-Stücke
Arr. For Guitar
2.
 
2:30
3.
 
2:42
4.
 
2:37
John Dowland (1562 – 1626)
Rudolf Straube
Sonata For Lute No.1
Arr. For Guitar
6.
 
4:15
7.
 
3:55
8.
 
3:27
Eugène Roldán
Au claire de la lune
9.
 
5:47
Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
Gerardo Gombau
Trois morceaux de la “Belle époque”
11.
 
2:29
12.
 
2:21
13.
 
1:53
Joaquín Pérez Turina (1882 – 1949)
14.
 
5:03
15.
 
2:33
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 46:54
CD 17: Recuerdos De La Alhambra
Francisco Tárrega (1852 – 1909)
Lágrima
1.
 
2:07
3.
 
5:20
4.
 
1:54
5.
 
2:25
Endecha
6.
 
0:52
Oremus
7.
 
1:00
8.
 
0:58
10.
 
1:06
12.
 
4:52
13.
 
1:47
14.
 
2:13
15.
 
1:16
16.
 
9:12
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 41:33
CD 18: Scarlatti: Sonatas
Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 46:17
CD 19: Rodrigo: Tres Piezas Españolas; Sonata Giocosa
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 – 1999)
1.
 
7:36
Ya se van los pastores
2.
 
3:17
Por caminos de Santiago
3.
 
2:56
Tres piezas españolas
Fandango
4.
 
4:06
Passacaglia
5.
 
5:26
Zapateado
6.
 
3:23
Por los campos de España: En tierras de Jerez
8.
 
4:58
Sonata giocosa
9.
 
4:08
10.
 
3:40
11.
 
3:17
Junto al Generalife
Entre olivares
Narciso Yepes
Total Playing Time 57:08
CD 20: Romance D’Amour
Alfonso X El Sabio (1221 – 1284)
Cantigas de Santa Maria
Isaac Albéniz (1860 – 1909)
Suite For Piano España, Op. 165
Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes
2.
3:53
Regino Sainz de la Maza (1896 – 1981)
3.
2:21
4.
2:51
Federico Moreno Torroba (1891 – 1982)
5.
3:33
Mateo Perez de Albeniz (1755 – 1831)
Emilio Pujol Villarrubí (1886 – 1980)
Miguel Llobet (1878 – 1938)
Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839)
Bassols Javier Montsalvatge (1912 – 2002)
Enrique Granados (1867 – 1916)
Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)
Homenaje “Le tombeau de Debussy”
Danza del Molinero
Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes
14.
3:02
Antonio Ruiz-Pipo (1933 – 1997)
Narciso Yepes (1927 – 1997)

 

INTERLUDIO (1968) for 10-string guitar by Leon Schidlowsky (ed. Viktor van Niekerk)

Schidlowsky

One of the earliest compositions for the ten-string guitar of Narciso Yepes is now available in an edition published by the Israel Music Institute.

Dating from 1968, Chilean-Israeli composer Leon Schidlowsky‘s Interludio was written for Yepes and his guitar in a graphic ‘space-time’ notation widely adopted during the 1960s when Western art music entered its ‘liquid’ (or ‘post-‘) modern phase.

Excerpt from INTERLUDIO by Leon Schidlowsky (ed. Viktor van Niekerk), Israel Music Institute.

Schidlowsky originally notated Interludio across two staves with (transposing) treble and bass clefs. However, one of the composer-approved changes to the score was the relocation of all notes played on strings 1-6 to the upper staff, and all notes played on strings 7-10 to the lower one. This allowed us to minimize string and fingering indications (and thus limit entropy) in an already cluttered score. (Strings 7-10 are only indicated when fretted.) Incidentally, in Interludio, strings 7-10 are used over 120 times in the space of about 2’12”, making for a challenging addition to the repertoire of the virtuoso ten-string guitarist. The piece also provides extensive opportunities for the use of Yepes techniques like prestissimo flourishes with three fingers of the right hand, and cross-string trills.

The score is available from the Israel Music Institute*, catalogue number IMI 8002: http://imi.org.il/by_instrument.php?cat=guitar%20solo

A few minor errata have to be pointed out:

  • Bar 41: either slur or attack the G#, but of course not both.
  • Bar 115: the arrow indicating the simultaneous playing of two strings (8-7) by the right-hand thumb should point down.
  • Bars 122-23: left hand fingering (3 4) should be 4 then 3.
  • The explanation of symbols used in the score has been omitted; I include both Schidlowsky’s original Spanish instructions and my English version below.
Symbols (Spanish)
Symbols (English)

 

(For an example of Schidlowsky’s style, click here for his Piano Quartet on YouTube.)


*The score is also available from the following IMI representatives abroad:

Theodore Presser (USA, Canada, Mexico), Peer Musikverlag (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Melos Ediciones Musicales / Ricordi Americana (South America), Albersen (The Netherlands), Cesky Rozhlas – Fond Hudebnin (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary), AB Nordiska (Sweden), Intermusica (Spain, Portugal), Danmusik (Denmark), and Harald Lyche (Norway).

Giga by David Kellner & Menuet by Camille d’Hostun

Two elementary and intermediate level ten-string guitar transcriptions of baroque lute music:

Camille d’Hostun, duc de Tallard (1652-1728)
Menuet

TALLARD [click here to download PDF]
Transcription by Viktor van Niekerk

David Kellner (1670-1748)
Giga

KELLNER [click here to download PDF]
Transcription by Viktor van Niekerk

Note: Numbers inside triangles indicate strings whose vibrations need to be checked by the given finger of the left or right hand. When this symbol is accompanied by the abbreviations w, th, or dp, the meaning is to stop the vibration of the string by means of the RH wristheel (thumb-side), and distal phalanx of the thumb respectively. The difference between stopping the sound with “p” (thumb) and “dp” is that the first makes use of the thumb pad (as if playing the string) while the latter checks the string’s vibration by means of the side of the thumb’s distal phalanx (i.e., placing the thumb ‘under’, not on, the string). The latter technique is useful when ascending to an adjacent string, not wishing both to sound together. Not all such techniques are explicitly indicated. The most common damping technique is a (light) rest stroke, when descending across adjacent strings that form a major/minor 2nd, e.g., a rest stroke on string 10 after sounding string 9, leaving 10 to sound while checking 9 by coming to rest on it. Occasionally it is a good idea to fret the A2 bass on string 9/10 instead of playing it open when it is followed by an open 9th string (i.e., G#2 or G2). This avoids the melodic (M/m) 2nd becoming a dissonance as well as unnecessarily tricky damping. There is an example of this fingering in the Kellner Giga: the anacrusis or pickup from bars 3 to 4, page 2, system 2.

Menuet (Urtext) by Tallard

Giga (Urtext) by Kellner

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999), edition Viktor van Niekerk

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude in C minor BWV 999

Edition Viktor van Niekerk: click here to download PDF

Note: Narciso Yepes used a half capo tasto at III when he performed this prelude. While avoiding the extended barre of mm. 1-4, this solution (like most six-string guitar editions) makes it impossible to play the correct bass note on page 2, system 4, m. 2 (p. 1, system 6, m. 2 of the Urtext). I prefer to do away with the capo altogether, a solution which opens again other possibilities. One of these is occasionally to fret the bass line on strings 8-10, avoiding disruptive mid-phrase changes of position. Interpretive merits aside, for the advanced ten-string guitarist the result is also a good technical study in extended use of the fingerboard, and for the agility of the right hand thumb (strings 7-10 are used 46 times in this brief composition).

(Clearly I disagree with the assumed “fidelity” of formalist “executions” of the text that “read” literal “intentions” into rests. There are examples in Bach’s music where such textualism results in obvious nonsense, e.g., four one-bar phrases of a single melodic line, with big leaps, instead of one four-bar phrase in steps and two-part counterpoint at the beginning of the Sarabande of BWV 995. Nevertheless I believe in the value of a plurality of different interpretations, so I may well formalize or “rhythmicize” some future performance, just as I may take the tempo slower or quicker, bring out other implied voices, or apply other articulations and dynamics. Why not? For an excellent demonstration of such possibilities in Bach – but not necessarily just in Bach – see this lesson by pianist-composer Emile Naoumoff.)

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999)

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999)

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999)
Urtext in the hand of Bach’s student J.P. Kellner

 

Explanation of Symbols

Julian Bertino’s Graduating Recital, 16 April 2016

PROGRAMME:

Hirokazu Sato (*1966) – Mountains, Wind and the Lakes (1997) for 10-string guitar

Concepción Lebrero (*1937) – Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz (1989) for 10-string guitar

(About this work, see: http://blog.tenstringguitar.info/archives/tag/concepcion-lebrero)

*

Fernando Sor (1778-1839) – Marche Funèbre pour harpolyre
(Ed. Viktor van Niekerk for 10-string guitar after Sor’s original publication for 21-stringed guitar)

Julian Bertino (*1991) – Kriyā (2016) for 10-string guitar

Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) – Lute Concerto FaWV L:d1

*

Playlist of full recital:

New 10-String Guitars by Hans van den Berg

Master luthier Hans van den Berg recently completed two more ten-string guitars for students of Fritz Buss. (Photos below.)

Said one of the proud new owners: “I never expected such a result. What a fine, sensitive humble, respectful human being. I am completely honoured to own and play a guitar he has constructed.”

All we have to add is that these are world-class instruments that are inspiring to play. Hans van den Berg’s consummate professionalism, his desire always to keep refining his craft, the fact that he cares about his customers and the meaningful position that a musical instrument could occupy in a person’s life: all these are quite extraordinary qualities, as are those of his beautiful guitars.

We have no reservations about recommending Hans van den Berg’s masterful ten-string guitars. (Viktor van Niekerk, Fritz Buss)

* * *

The people at Guitar Salon International have also described Berg’s six-string guitars as having “a very silky, textured and rich quality of sound, while at the same time [being] clear in every register. … Overall a very impressive and unique instrument by all standards.” (http://www.guitarsalon.com/store/p4780-hans-van-den-berg.html)

For a GSI article about Hans, see: http://www.guitarsalon.com/blog/?p=8932

For an earlier review of Berg’s first ten-string guitar, see: http://blog.tenstringguitar.info/archives/32

* * *

For orders, please contact Hans at bergguitars@gmail.com

* * *

Photos of Tsivia’s Guitar:

0618

0619

0633

0625

0631

0627

0621


Photos of Carlo’s Guitar:

0641

0642

0644

0645

Ten-String Guitar by Philipp Neumann

German luthier Philipp Neumann has built an excellent ten-string guitar.

The instrument that I tested could not be faulted on the usual issues of poorly-made ten-string guitars. The neck is constructed from Spanish cedar (its darker appearance is due to Neumann’s custom finish) and thus it is properly balanced in relation to the mass of the body. The compact, minimalist headstock further reduces the mass on the neck-side; it’s a feature I highly recommend other luthiers to adopt. Another pleasant surprise is that the fingerboard on this particular instrument has an adequately ‘high’ action (upon the request of the owner) and thus facilitates not only a genuine dynamic range but also nuances of timbre produced not just by shifting the right hand along the strings but ‘in place’, by varying the type of touch, e.g., being able to play various types of soft, medium, and strong rest strokes without a ‘buzz’. As we come out of the formalist era and the inevitable swing of the historical pendulum begins to move in the opposite direction, I believe that more classical guitarists will again recognize the primacy of such musical desiderata and not predominantly the ease of the left hand.

Of course, the most important consideration is tone quality – because the timbre is present first and throughout any performance. If the tone quality is low (percussive, ‘bright’, ‘tinny’, ‘thin’, lacking ‘voice’), the performance is a mistake from beginning to end, no matter how ‘perfectly’ executed in the formalist sense. While tone quality varies from one guitar to another, it does also vary from player to player, from touch to touch – a fact that has sometimes been overlooked in these difference-reducing times. With some guitars a performer attentive to tone quality will work harder to make them ‘sound’, by which I don’t mean simply to play louder! I mean to give it ‘voice’, to make it ‘sing’ – in acoustics jargon, to produce a sound recipe that is richer in fundamental and lower partials and poorer in upper partials, or, to put it differently, a tone colour that approaches that of the voice, piano, or woodwinds rather than the ‘tinniness’ of the harpsichord or steel-string guitar. Such careful mastery of timbre is what makes the difference between a classical guitarist’s projection or non-projection in the concert hall, not mere decibels.

Thus I was pleased to find that Neumann’s ten-string guitar is not only resonant and very powerful but, more importantly, that there is for the most part nothing inherently ‘tinny’ about it. In fact, it was a rare and unusual pleasure to play. I would, however, prefer a slightly ‘darker’ (more ‘singing’) timbre on the first string. But this might be remedied by using a (non-carbon) first string with a greater gauge. (I would, for the same reason, also be interested to hear Neumann’s work in a cedar- as opposed to spruce-top model.)

The only other small caveat is that I hope luthiers in general will solve (for serious post-formalist artists) the problem of raising the action, not (as seen on another luthier’s work) by bulking up the bridge, or even by gradually sanding down the fingerboard, but by setting the neck at a slightly different angle to begin with, plus, of course, recalculating the fret spacing to compensate for the greater displacement of the strings by the left hand. (Who is up to the challenge?) With respect to action (for dynamic range), as with the 664mm scale length (for projection), I’m convinced that Ramirez III and Bernabe Sr were onto the right track by the early 1960s, that is, before a technocratic (‘plugged-in’) and miniaturizing formalism rose to dominance. With waning interest in the formalist ‘classical’ guitar, it’s time to pick up where the old masters left off.

Neumann clearly made a thorough study of a Bernabe ten-string guitar before building his own instrument. On the whole he has made a great ten-string guitar.

For information about the luthier or inquiries, visit: http://www.neumann-gitarren.de/classical-guitars.html#

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Suite Popular Argentina (Miguel Angel Cherubito)

Miguel Angel CHERUBITO (*1941) - Suite Popular Argentina (1989)
dedicated to Narciso Yepes

• Zamba [00:00]
• Milonga [04:45]
• Chacarera [09:11]
• Vidala [11:18]
• Tango [14:32]
• Malambo [20:43]

Miguel Angel Cherubito was born in Buenos Aires in 1941. He studied the guitar and composition. Between 1974 and 1989 he lived in Barcelona where he was active as concert guitarist, composer and conductor. He subsequently returned to Argentina where he became the director of a music school. He has written music for guitar as well as orchestral music. His herculean Suite Popular Argentina (1989) was written for Narciso Yepes, who gave the première in Tokyo.

Yepes said the following about this work and its composer: “Cherubito has the gift of…refinement and creative vein of a man who has much to say to us through music and especially the guitar. His Suite Popular Argentina is an example of this. I play this work in all my recitals, being one of the most applauded of my vast repertoire.” (1992)

Cherubito has written the following about the folkloric movements of his suite:

The Zamba is a pair dance with a slow tempo and courtly, galant character. It is danced in all Argentinean provinces. Its origins may be traced back to a Spanish dance known as the Zambacueca, from which two different dances developed: the Argentinean Zamba and the Chilean Cueca. The Zamba can also be sung.

The Milonga also comes originally from Spain and can be danced as well as sung. It resembles the Habanera but is faster-moving. There are two kinds of Milonga: the country version, which is sung and in which the interpreter improvises; and the town version, from Buenos Aires, which may be sung and danced. This is faster than the country version and may contain various themes: melancholy, romantic or amusing. The Milonga from my suite has a dramatic character and belongs to the country type.

The Chacarera is sung and danced in the northern provinces of Argentina. There are three forms: the simple, the double and the long Chacarera. The most important composers of the dance come from Santiago del Estero. The Chacarera in my suite belongs to the simple form. In keeping with tradition, the guitar plays two parts: in thirds or in sixths.

The Vidala comes from Bolivia and the north of Argentina, and has its roots in [First Nations] culture. It is not a dance, but a musical form – sung or purely instrumental – whose melodies are reminiscent of the plateaus and mountains of the Andes.

The Argentinean Tango may also be sung. It came into being at the end of the nineteenth century in Rio de la Plata, and combines elements of African dance and European music. As a town dance, the Tango is now associated mainly with the area of Buenos Aires.

The Malambo, though to be found throughout Argentina, is cultivated mainly in the Andes and Central Pampas. It has a very dynamic character and continuous rhythm from beginning to end. It is danced principally by men – alone or in groups -, and the movements are limited to the feet. The origins of this dance are not known exactly, but I believe that it comes from Spain, where this footstamping represents an important feature of dance.

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The sheet music is available to purchase from the Schott Shop:
http://www.schott-music.com/shop/show,49575,cmss,3210.html

It should be mentioned, however, that the composer revised the work in 2014. Changes (most extensively to the Chacarera and repeats) are not reflected in the Schott edition.

‘Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz’ by Concepción Lebrero (composition for 10-string guitar)


Concepción Lebrero
(*1937)
Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz (1989) for ten-string guitar (dedicated to Narciso Yepes)

1. Soñando [Dreaming]
2. Despertando [Awakening]
3. Cantando [Singing]
4. Tocando la guitarra [Playing guitar]
5. Arriesgando [Risking]
6. Pensando [Thinking]
7. Ascendiendo [Ascending]

María de la Concepción Lebrero Baena (*Toro, Zamora, 24-VII-1937) received First Prize in Piano at the Conservatory of Salamanca at the age of 10. At the age of 13 she graduated in Piano, in Madrid, with another first prize. She continued her musical studies in Madrid, studying piano virtuosity with José Cubiles, harmony with Jesus Arámbarri, counterpoint and fugue with Francisco Calés, accompaniment and piano transposition with Gerardo Gombau, organ with Jesus Guridi and composition with Cristóbal Halffter, obtaining at the end of all these matters the respective First Prizes and various other awards.

Her compositions include music for children, several song cycles for voice and piano, choral works, piano and organ works, cantatas and oratorios.

Narciso Yepes wrote the following about Lebrero and her only composition for guitar:

“Concepción Lebrero is an outstanding Spanish composer, pianist and teacher. She has taken over the musical education of my children during my absence. Many times, over many years, I asked her to compose something for me, but she never agreed, with the excuse of not knowing the resources of the guitar. She composed cantatas, oratorios, works for orchestra and piano, voice and piano, but never anything for guitar.

“A few days after the death of our son, Juan de la Cruz, whom she had taught music and cherished from an early age, Concepción gave me this work Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz and said tersely: ‘I’ve written it thinking of Juan, as if he had dictated it to me. Do what you want with it; I do not even know if it is playable on the guitar.’ From the first note I felt overwhelmed. Movements: Dreaming, Awakening, Singing, Playing guitar, Risking, Thinking and Ascending, are an interior glimpse of the eighteen years of our son on this earth, from his first steps in life and music through teenage risks to the fullness of true life. I put my guitar and my love in the service of this work, because it is not just art, it is also a message of timeless beauty.” (Narciso Yepes)

Excerpts from Yepes’s autograph manuscript:

Lebrero1

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2 South African Sonatas for 10-String Guitar

1.

Cromwell Everson (1925-1991): Sonata (1984) for ten-string guitar (dedicated to David Hewitt)

1. Allegro Energico
2. Mesto
3. Rondo

Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson (excerpt from p. 1)
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson (excerpt from p. 7)
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson (excerpt from p. 17)
Cromwell Everson
Cromwell Everson (1925-1991)

Oliver Cromwell Everson (1925-1991) was a pioneer of modernist and electro-acoustic music in South Africa, and composer of the first opera in Afrikaans. His oeuvre includes, among other works, five sonatas, a trio, the opera Klutaimnestra (1967), a set of inventions, four song-cycles, a piano suite, miscellaneous pieces for the piano and the guitar (Cantūs Tristitiae for ten-string guitar), as well as an incomplete symphony and string quartet. He received his Doctorate in Music from the University of Cape Town in 1974.

Here is a sample of Everson’s music, from Vier Liefdesliedjies (1949):

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2.

David Hönigsberg (1959-2005): African Sonata (1990, rev. 2004) for ten-string guitar (dedicated to Viktor van Niekerk)

1. Amiably, with a sense of walking (A Basutu Tune)
2. A quiet summer evening…
3. Fast and play very rhythmically
4. Energetically

African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg (excerpt from p. 1)
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg (excerpt from p. 11)
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg (excerpt from p. 15)
David Hoenigsberg
David Hoenigsberg (1959-2005)

David Hönigsberg (1959-2005) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to German-Jewish and Afrikaner parents. He studied with the most prominent South African piano teachers (Peggy Haddon, Annette Kearney, and Pauline Nossel). After graduating with a B. Mus. in Composition from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, he attended the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna, as a composition student of Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. He emigrated to Switzerland in 1993, working as a freelance composer, conductor, and pianist. Hönigsberg’s oeuvre includes, among other works, 4 Symphonies, an Orchestral Suite, 2 Violin Concertos, a Piano Concerto, a Viola Concerto, a Guitar Concerto,  a Piccolo Concerto,  Soliloquy for Violoncello and String Orchestra, 5 String Quartets, Missa Brevis, two cantatas, numerous songs and chamber music, notably, a number of African Dances for piano, African Sketches (1988, for flute or oboe, ten-string guitar and optional African shaker or tambourine), and Antique Suite (1988 rev. 2004, for ten-string guitar and harpsichord).

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Lastly, it should be mentioned that these sonatas exist thanks to the late David Hewitt (1947-2001), an accomplished ten-string guitarist and composer in his own right.

Hewitt started his career as a rock guitarist and only turned to the classical guitar after finishing his schooling and meeting Fritz Buss, who became Hewitt’s mentor of many years. Through Buss, Hewitt later also attended master classes with Narciso Yepes.

Hewitt never lost his ear for African music. He inspired numerous South African composers to write new works for the guitar and eventually contributed many of his own compositions to his two African guitar albums (An African Tapestry from 1989 and The Storyteller from 1990). He also recorded duets with fellow Buss/Yepes alumni Tessa Ziegler and Simon Wynberg, including the guitar duets of J. K. Mertz and Napoleon Coste.

With the terrifying early onslaught of Alzheimer’s, David refused to capitulate. He knew his memory was failing him with ever increasing frequency, yet he bravely battled the debilitating symptoms. At last he was unable to play, or articulate his appreciation of excellence, but still continued to enjoy other guitarists’ concerts.

David Hewitt
David Hewitt (1947-2001)

Here is David Hewitt performing both parts of his composition Street Beat (c. 1989) for guitar duo:

And here is David Hewitt performing the Five African Sketches (1990) by Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph:

Gigue by François Dufault

 

Dufault2François Dufault’s Gigue (Souris no. 72) transcribed for 10-string guitar after the tablature for 11-course baroque lute (Berlin, Pr. St. Bibl., Mus. Ms. 40149 pp 42-3).

Gigue (Urtext) by Dufault
Gigue (Urtext) by Dufault

 

François Dufault (or Du Faut) was a French lutenist of the seventeenth century. He studied with Denis Gaultier and became in his own right one of the most celebrated representatives of the lute’s golden age in France.

His playing was described as “very grave and learned” by the author of Mary Burwell’s lute book, while the Dutch lute-enthusiast Constantijn Huygens referred to Dufault as “the rarest man I ever hope to see [sic] upon the lute” and “the rarest compositor [sic] that I ever heard, and the sweetest humor of a man.”

For more about Dufault’s reception and historical significance, see:

‘The historical importance of François Dufault and his influence on musicians outside France’ by  Tim Crawford

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For an interview germane to the interpretation of French music of the 17th century, see:

New Composition: ‘Pièce bulgare’ by Siegmund Schmidt

A new virtuoso movement, Pièce bulgare (2013), has been written for 10-string guitar solo by the German organist/composer Siegmund Schmidt (*1939).

Schmidt has also written chamber music with 10-string guitar, including:

  • HOMMAGE für Trio (Querflöte, Viola und zehnsaitige Gitarre) (mit dem Titel HOMMAGE ist Johann Sebastian Bach gemeint) 2008
  • „WOLLE DIE WANDLUNG. O SEI FÜR DIE FLAMME BEGEISTERT.” (Rilke) -METAMORPHOSEN III für Kammerensemble (Flöte, Viola, 10-saitige Gitarre) und Orchester (Oboe, Englischhorn, Fagott, Horn in F, Trompete, 3 Pauken, Tamtam, Violine I, Violine II, Viola, Violoncello I, Violoncello II, Kontrabass) Satzfolge: Prolog – Passacaglia – Epilog 2009
  • HUMORESKE für Flöte, Fagott und Marimbaphon und in erweiterter Fassung für Flöte, Viola und 10-saitige Gitarre. (Vorgesehen als dritter Satz vor dem Rondo – Finale der SERENADE für Flöte, Viola und 10-saitige Gitarre) 2010
  • “ABEND WIRD ES WIEDER” Variationen (in der Fassung) für Flöte, Alphorn und zehnsaitige Gitarre 2013
  • INTERMEZZO GIOCOSO Fassung für Flöte, Viola und 10-saitige Gitarre 2014

Composer’s website (click here).

Here are some examples of Schmidt’s music:

New Composition: ‘The Dying Tree’ by Julian Bertino

Canadian guitarist/composer Julian Bertino (*1991) has written a new work for 10-string guitar. The score for The Dying Tree (2014) is available to download here:

http://tenstringguitar.info/web_documents/Bertino_Dying_Tree.pdf

Please inform the composer of any performances at: Julianbertino@gmail.com

Julian Bertino "The Dying Tree" for 10-string guitar (2014)
Julian Bertino “The Dying Tree” for 10-string guitar (2014)

Pascal Jugy’s compositions for 10-string guitar

Noms d’oiseaux
for 10-string guitar by Pascal Jugy, performed by Andreas Hiller

“Sometimes very freely, if you wish these birds to be free…”

“This invitation to freedom is a paradoxical one, in the sense that it is immediately tempered by the rigour of the notation, the precision of the tempi and the complexity of the metric. But is it really a paradox? What if all these elements were merely a cage where the Musical Bird safely dwells? Then, it is up to the interpreter to open the cage and let the Bird spread his wings and soar. However, freedom does not go without danger, and the interpreter may want to hold the Bird captive to preserve its life. Modern in its writing, this piece keeps a tonal foundation, more or less obvious according to the different parts. This ten-string guitar version was written at the guitarist Andreas Hiller’s request.”

Adios Latinos for 10-string guitar by Pascal Jugy, performed by Andreas Hiller

(Header art: Detail from ‘A boy with a birdcage’ by Abraham Bloemaert, 1566)

Hans van den Berg builds a masterful 10-string guitar

Today we had the pleasure of hearing the doyen of the ten-string guitar testing out a new instrument from a rising, master luthier.

Fritz Buss (longtime alumnus and teaching assistant of the legendary Narciso Yepes) hailed Hans van den Berg‘s first ten-string guitar was as a “masterly” accomplishment.

Buss’s praise coincides with laudatory reviews of Berg’s six-string guitars from Guitar Salon International: http://www.guitarsalon.com/blog/?p=8932

Berg’s ten-string guitar combines elements of the Friederich, Ramirez and Bernabe schools of luthiery and features a composite, cedar soundboard as well as Berg’s own masterly sense of aural and visual aesthetics and impeccable craftsmanship.

The sonority of the instrument, in its own right, is every bit the equal of the Spanish ten-string guitars associated with Yepes, and may (developed by the touch – and the ears – of a sensitive artist) mature to surpass its illustrious predecessors.

I have no reservations about recommending Hans van den Berg as my first choice to anyone wanting to take the leap to the ten-string guitar, or to upgrade to a new, masterful instrument. (For orders, please contact Hans at bergguitars@gmail.com.)

-Viktor van Niekerk, Johannesburg (2014/10/25)

Fritz Buss tests Berg (2014) 10-string guitar
Fritz Buss (alumnus and teaching assistant of Narciso Yepes) tests the first 10-string guitar by master luthier Hans van den Berg (25 October 2014)
Fritz Buss tests Berg (2014) 10-string guitar
Fritz Buss tests Hans van den Berg 10-string guitar
Fritz Buss tests Berg (2014) 10-string guitar
Hans van den Berg (luthier) with Fritz Buss
Hans van den Berg (luthier) with his new ten-string guitar
Master luthier Hans van den Berg unveils his ten-string guitar with composite soundboard (25 October 2014)
luthier, student and teacher
Hans van den Berg (South African luthier) with Fritz Buss (master 10-string guitar teacher) and Trish (a student of Fritz and proud owner of the new 2014 Berg 10-string guitar)

 

Specifications for BERG 10 string Classical Guitar

MODEL: 10 STRING CONCERT CLASSICAL SUPREME DOUBLE TOP
UPPER BOUT: 280 mm
LOWER BOUT: 370 mm
BODY DEPTH: at TAIL BLOCK 105 mm
BODY DEPTH: at HEEL 100 mm
SCALE: 664 mm
NUT WIDTH: 86 mm
ACTION SETTINGS: TO SUIT INDIVIDUAL

MATERIALS:
TOP: ——————-DOUBLE TOP WESTERN RED CEDAR GRD AAA OUTSIDE and
WESTERN RED CEDAR GRD AA inside with NOMEX CORE
BACK & SIDES : —EAST INDIAN ROSEWOOD 1ST GRADE
DOUBLE SIDES – KIAAT INNER SIDES
NECK : —————-SPANISH CEDAR
FINGERBOARD : —WEST AFRICAN EBONY 1ST GRADE WITH AFRICAN BLACKWOOD BINDING
BRIDGE : ————-EAST INDIAN ROSEWOOD WITH INLAY TO MATCH ROSETTE
WOOD BINDING : —- AFRICAN BLACKWOOD with FIGURED KIAAT TOP PURFLING
FACE OF HEAD : —- AFRICAN BLACKWOOD WITH KIAAT and EBONY INLAYS
ROSETTE :———— FIGURED KIAAT WITH EBONY AND MAPLE AND ABALONE INLAYS
SADDLE & NUT : —- BONE
FINISH : ————— FRENCH POLISH
FRETS :—————– SILVER NICKLE– MEDIUM
MACHINE HEADS : — SCHERTLER SWISS

Berg 10-string guitar

Berg 10-string guitar, under construction
Berg 2014 ten-string guitar, under construction

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Lastly, here is a video of Berg’s newest six-string guitar, played by the wonderful American guitarist Jon Mendle (for GSI):