Recordings of Vintage Classical Guitars: An Annotated Bibliography

Lo Cant Dels Aucells - Artist: Stefano Grondona. Label: Stradivarius

The vintage classical guitars performed upon here were built by the master luthiers of the 19th and early to mid 20th century. Six of these guitars are by Antonio de Torres. Other guitar makers represented here include: Enrique Garcia, Francisco Simplicio (Enrique Garcia's only disciple), Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso (whose foreman in the Manuel Ramirez shop was Santos Hernandez), Hermann Hauser I (who followed Torres' principles, much like Enrique Garcia & Manuel Ramirez), and Robert Bouchet. This two C.D. set includes Grondona's beautiful performances of works by: Mompou, Llobet, Granados, Tarrega, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Barrios, Ponce, Grieg, Segovia, Poulenc and Chopin.

Homenaje: Manuel de Falla, Miguel Llobet and their world - Artists: Stefano Grondona with Laura Mondeiello, Giuseppe Carrer, Roberto Da Barp, Alessandra Novaga, Paolo Bersamo

This recording features inspired performances on vintage classical guitars by Antonio de Torres, Vincenti Arias, Enrique Garcia, Francisco Simplicio, Miguel Simplicio, and Ignacio Fleta ), Maria Jose Montiel (mezzo-soprano). Label: Stradivarius

La Leona: Stefano Grandona Plays Julián Arcas - Label: Stradivarius

Coming as he did between Huerta and Tarrega, Julian Arcas (1832-1882) produced music that was powerful, thrilling, well put together, large scale, clearly meant for the guitar down to the last detail, and truly of its time. All of which makes him one of the finest guitarists of the second half of the 19th century. Arcas played a huge number of concerts from the 1850s onward at a wide range of venues, and at the peak of his popularity he acquired legendary status. This C.D. is lavishly packaged in with a 68-page booklet, containing three essays in four languages. Grondona plays Antonio de Torres La Leona guitar, one of the most famous classical guitars ever made.

Harmonie du soir - Artist: Raphaella Smits. Label: Accent Records

This is an exceptionally beautiful, musically compelling recording by the great Belgium classical guitarist, Raphaella Smits. Regarding the two 19th century vintage classical guitars she uses on this recording and why she chooses to play certain works on one and not the other, Ms Smits explains: "The sounds which the Roudhloff guitar offers to the Haydnesque Giuliani Sonata or the more aggressive Tarantella of Mertz, with the typically compact bass sound and great contrasts, are difficult to achieve on the Mirecourt instrument of about 1827. On the other hand the Mirecourt guitar responds very well to the precise playing needed for the fast virtuoso cadenzas of Mertz or the operatic evocations of Giuliani. Likewise the seventh string presents possibilities from which the music can benefit. Both instruments are good teachers."

Early 19th Century Guitar Music - Artist: Raphaella Smits. Label: Accent Records

On this dynamic C.D. Raphaella performs Legnani and Schubert on a vintage 19th century 7-string Mirecourt classical guitar. She write: "Bernhard Kresse bought this Mirecourt guitar (circa.1827) at an auction in Vichy, France, in 1995. The description was 'Romantic guitar, ebony neck, maple sound box. In its original box. Many blemishes.' Although the instrument was falling into pieces (it seemed that it had been stored for a long time in a place with high humidity), all the parts were in good condition and showed no damage or even traces of having being used. It is a typical guitar of the late 1820's with its classical shape and design, which we know from the guitar makers of Mirecourt, Paris. I asked Bernhard Kresse to add a seventh string: this modification was quite usual in the 1840's and 1850's, and recalls the music of Mertz and Coste."

Luigi Legnani started to perform as a guitarist at the age of 19, but was as well a violin player and a singer at the Teatro Comunale of Ravenna directed by Rossini. He wrote these miniatures inspired by the Caprices of friend Nicolo Paganini. The differences of key, color and thematic material give each Caprice its own distinct character. The Romantic style of the Italian bel canto is never far away. Franz Schubert was above all the master of the Lied. He wrote his piano accompaniments simply, supporting the character of the text, with little agitation in the harmony or the rhythm. Thus he displayed his sympathy for the guitar, an instrument which he himself played. The transcriptions of the six Schubert-songs by Mertz, were done at request of the publishers Diabelli and Haslinger. The results are extremely fascinating and often compared with the arrangements for piano solo by Liszt in 1838.

Duo Sonare plays Mozart, Giuliani, Carulli on historical guitars - Artists:Thomas Offermann & Jens Wagner

The Duo Sonare is one of the outstanding classical guitar ensembles active today. They have performed in over 40 countries and are regularly invited to numerous international guitar festivals.Thomas Offermann began to play the guitar at the age of seven and is one of todays most respected guitarists and guitar pedagogues. He graduated from the Musikhochschulen of Aachen, Cologne/Germany (Classes Tadashi Sasaki, Hubert Käppel) with distinction and was awarded the Solistendiplom der Musikakademie Basel"/Switzerland (Class Oscar Ghiglia). Amongst his teachers were also artists such as the members of the AMADEUS- String Quartett, Manuel Barrueco, Leo Brouwer, David Russell, Karl Scheit and John Williams. Classical guitarist and lutenist Jens Wagner lives in Bremen/Germany and teaches a guitar class at the Hochschule für Künste. He worked with Karl Scheit in Vienna and received the music teacher and soloist diploma with distinction. His studies were completed with the soloist diploma for lute at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen where he worked with Stephen Stubbs. Jens Wagner has given many concerts as soloist with orchestras and different chamber music ensembles and as continuo player in baroque operas. Besides the modern guitar repertoire he is also an expert in 19th century music and it's interpretation on 19th century vintage classical guitars..

Manjon: Noveletta; Célebre Capricho Andaluz - Artist: Raphaella Smits. Label: Accent Records

Raphaella Smits performs here on an eight string vintage classical guitar by Vicente Arias built in 1899. About this magnificent instrument and its maker, Ms. Smits writes: "The instrument has been restored by Bernhard Kresse in Cologne, Germany. Vicente Arias (1840-1913) made guitars around 1870. He lived and worked in Ciudad Real, and at the end of his career he had a workshop in Madrid. His instruments display a remarkable mastery, comparable to those of Antonio Torres and Manuel Ramirez. Specialist makers acknowledge Arias for his innovations. Some famous guitarists like Francisco Tarrega played the guitars of Vicente Arias. According to an up-to-date census, there are twenty-four guitars by Vicente Arias in existence."

Gitarren von Richard Jacob Weissgerber (1877-1960) - Artist: Thomas Muller-Pering. Label: Raum Klang

The Museum of Musical Instruments of the University of Leipzig has in its possession twenty-eight vintage classical guitars from the estate of Richard Jacob "Weißgerber," the well-known guitar maker of Markneukirchen. This represents not only one of the largest coherent documentations of the work of Richard Jacob, but also one of the more representative and valuable collections of the Markneukirchen master. In 1998 the Museum of Musical Instruments also purchased the workshop of Richard Jacob, which had been maintained in its original condition. In the same year, the idea was developed to make this collection the object of scholarly research. From 1999 to 2000, this plan was carried out by members of the Department of Musical Instrument Construction (belonging to the Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau), together with the Institute for Musical Instrument Research in Zwota and the guitarist Thomas Müller-Pering of the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Music in Weimar. In addition to the scholarly cataloguing and gathering of pictorial documentation of the instruments the result was a comprehensive sound documentation which can be found in this CD and which gives a exceptionally beautiful impression of the sound of Richard Jacob "Weißgerber's" guitars.

Simplicio: Music from the Age of Andres Segovia and Agustin Barrios - Artist: Christopher Laughlin

This lovely C.D. contains a collection of classical guitar repertoire from the 1920's and 1930's, recorded on a 1927 Francisco Simplicio vintage classical guitar that was used by the great South American virtuoso Agustin Barrios. The recorded works feature music by Barrios, as well as compositions written for the great Spanish virtuoso Andres Segovia: Turina, Falla, Ponce and Rodrigo.