Books about Classical Guitar and Lute Composers and Teachers: An Annotated Bibliography

Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers by Hannu Annala and Heiki Matlik

In compiling this landmark sourcebook, Finnish guitarists Hannu Annala and Heiki Matlik consulted more than 70 music texts as well as dozens of composer resumes acquired from the musical information centers of several countries. During the writing process, which lasted for more than three years, they received additional information from many modern composers, including Leo Brouwer and Reginald Smith Brindle among others. In addition, several internationally renowned performing guitarists provided valuable information; these include Magnus Andersson (Sweden), Remi Boucher (Canada), Margarita Escarpa (Spain), Aleksander Frauchi (Russia) and David Tanenbaum (USA) among others. The authors' aim was to write a well-structured book with separate chapters for each instrument, such as the Renaissance and Baroque guitar, the Renaissance and Baroque lute, the vihuela, etc. This unique structure enables the reader to easily discover which composers wrote for a certain instrument during any given period. In addition to the composers one would expect to find in such a comprehensive listing, the book documents several historical and modern composers for whom little previous information has been available. The book's list of more than 400 guitar and lute concertos dating from the Baroque era to the present day is a totally unprecedented. Short introductions regarding guitar and lute-like instruments as well as their basic histories are provided at the beginning of the book. The authors hope that the Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers will serve as a practical guide for both amateurs and professionals, encouraging further study of the history of these instruments and expanding the repertoire heard on today's concert stage.

Napoleon Coste Composer by curé of Amondans

This book was first published in 2005 to accompany the celebrations which were held in Amondans, the village in France where Coste was born, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1805. As far as the publisher knows, this is the only book as of yet published about Coste. The author is the curé of Amondans. This is a charming little book outlines Coste's life and work and includes many color photographs, especially of the area of Amondans in the Doubs in France. From the point of view of a historian, this work is interesting because it includes details of Coste's career which do not appear elsewhere, for example reviews of concerts in the "Courrier de Valenciennes" of the early 19th century. Paper back 48 pages (TECLA).

Anton Diabelli's Guitar Works by Jukka Savijoki

Anton Diabelli is a guitar composer who differs in many respects from the usual guitar composer of the early nineteenth century. Most of the music he wrote was not for the guitar. He was active as a proof reader, publisher and in these capacities learned to know many leading musical personalities, such as Beethoven and Schubert, and had in many ways a central role in the music business in Vienna. Whereas guitar composers were usually players themselves, Diabellis activity as a performing artist is unknown. This catalogue details all the known works by Anton Diabelli for the guitar, the original as well as the arrangements, in many different forms. Editions Orphée. 400 pages

Mauro Giuliani: Virtuoso Guitarist and Composer by Thomas F. Heck

The recognition and renown that the name Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) has enjoyed in the latter twentieth century, thanks largely to the live and recorded performances of his music, is certainly very gratifying to those who have worked to facilitate the rediscovery of this pivotal guitarist/composer. Clearly it is now time to revisit the life and works of Giuliani in the hope of reviewing and acknowledging in one convenient and well-indexed book the old and the new, the false and the true. Readers familiar with the authors quarter-century-old dissertation will, on reading the present text, readily appreciate the manifold ways in which the wait was worth it. Contains many illustrations, photographs, musical examples, bibliography, a full Appendix of foreign language quotations, subject and name indexes and more. Paper back. 304 pages

Manuel M Ponce and the Guitar by Corazon Otero

A biography of one of Mexicos and the guitars most important composers. Contains many fascinating photos and memorabilia, including intimate correspondence with his friend Andres Segovia.

The Segovia- Ponce Letters compiled by Miguel Alcazar with an English translation by Peter Segal

This book contains 129 letters written by Andrés Segovia to Manuel M. Ponce. The letters begin with their meeting in 1923 and terminate with Ponce's death in 1948. A bi-lingual, Spanish-English edition, this unabridged work includes the full text of all the letters available at publication. A historical document of major importance for the study of the life and personality of both Segovia and Ponce, this work contains important source material relating to Segovia's biography. 304 pages.

The Solo Guitar Music of Joaquin Rodrigo by Graham Wade

This book is the first to examine in detail the solo guitar music of the composer of the famous Concierto de Aranjuez, and the scope of his contribution to the repertoire from 1926 to the late 1980s. Contains a discography and selected biography, providing an indispensable guide to one of the great Spanish composers of the 20th century.

Fernando Sor: Method for Guitar - Translated, Edited and with Commentary by Matanya Ophee

Matanya Ophee writes: Undertaking the translation of a guitar method by an author of such monumental importance to the history of the guitar as Fernando Sor is a daunting task. It is particularly so when a translation into English was already prepared during the author's life time, and is still available today. It is precisely the existence and availability of the 1832 translation by Arnold Merrick, that is the main motivation for the present endeavor. A close comparison of the Merrick translation to the original, reveals a wide-ranging number of instances where the translator was more intent in translating the words of the author, than in correctly transmitting the pedagogical thought that these words meant to convey.

The result of this pedantry is that many important precepts of Sor's philosophy regarding guitar technique are often distorted in a way that provides English speaking HIP enthusiasts with a facile apparatus to create a way of playing the guitar that is different than standard guitar technique, often on the patently false claim that it is more authentic, but a way of playing that Fernando Sor would not have recognized as his own. Stylistically, the text attempts to describe the physical world of the guitar and its technique with a most poetically inspired florid discourse, often couched with oblique references to real or imaginary adversaries. Perhaps the most annoying stylistic peculiarity of the narrative is Sor's constant usage of the first person singular when dealing with matters of guitar technique.

At the very beginning of this method, and many times throughout the book, Sor keeps reminding us that his main purpose is not to tell us what to do, but to tell us how he himself reached whatever conclusions and principles that he promotes here. However, extending this notion to the actual descriptive discourse of technique, quickly becomes an overbearing tedium that is not helpful in understanding the issues involved.

My modus operandi, then, was not to translate the text, but to convey Sor's approach to the pedagogy of the guitar in a clear language that would make immediate sense to English readers today. Obviously, such methodology requires an interpretative examination of every single sentence in the book, attempting to glean from it the wisdom that the teacher Sor would have imparted to his students during their private lessons with him. Necessarily, much of my work required detailed explanations of the reasons for my editorial decisions.

Since the original text contains a fair number of footnotes, often quite extensive, I chose to place my comments in a separate Commentary section, leaving the main text uncluttered and free of interventions, except of course, the rare instances where a short square bracketed comment can save a great deal of verbosity. All commentaries are referred to in the main text in alphabetical End Note cross references. I am acutely aware of the maxim that Time Mutes, The Translator Mutilates, and I am sure it could be argued that I greatly mutilated the original text. I fully agree, as it was my intention from the very beginning to do so. However, I have attempted to convey as clearly as possible, what Sor would have explained to me privately, had I been fortunate enough to have him as my teacher.

Fernando Sor - Composer and Guitarist by Brian Jeffery

The first edition of this book, when it appeared in 1977, set out for the first time all the known details of Sor's life. It was one of the most detailed biographies ever published of a composer of this period. This new edition of this book has been completely revised and reset, and brought up to date with many newly discovered details such as previously unknown concerts of Sor in London and Paris, including one in which he played the lute - one of the first "early music" concerts - and significant new bibliographical details. As with the first edition, there are chapters on his early years in Spain, his journey to Paris, his seven very full years in London, his journey to Russia, and his final years in Paris. His music for guitar is discussed, as well as his many other works, especially his seguidillas and his many other songs in Spanish and in Italian. A full catalogue of works is included, now revised and brought up to date. This new edition is essential for all music libraries, and for the bookshelf of anyone interested in guitar history.

Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) Biography by Adrián Rius

This well-researched book is the first biography in English of Francisco Tárrega, the great Spanish guitarist. First published in Spanish in 2004 this book has received high critical acclaim. The author is a concert guitarist who has studied with David Russell, Manuel Barrueco and Roberto Aussel. 302 pages, soft cover only, with many photographs and illustrations of historic documents.