Our good friend Felipe Conde posted a list of his top 10 classical guitar CDs, and we instantly disagreed with everything, then realized there were some great CDs there, then thought of better ones, then realized those couldn’t really be the best, right? I mean you have to have some Segovia, but which one? Any box set? Anyway, there’s no answer, of course, but we’ve been having some fun with it, so here are Felipe Conde’s choices, followed by David Collett’s. Let us know how wrong we all are and which 10 CDs you’d take to a desert island. Forever.
From the Felipe Conde blog post:
Are you looking to delve into classical music for guitar and you are not sure where to start? Or perhaps you need help with choosing CD’s to complete your collection? If you are in any of these or similar circumstances we would like make a few recommendations that we consider simply a must. We selected 10 albums we most liked, however the list could be much longer.
1. Andrés Segovia – The Segovia Collection
Starting off with the maestro Andrés Segovia is a must. Many consider that the modern classical guitar movement begins with him and his tireless efforts to dignify the instrument during the entire 20th century. This album contains four CD´s, more than five hours of music with interpretations of composers such as Joaquín Rodrigo, Johann Sebastian Bach and many others. We can’t think of a better starting point than this.
2. Andrés Segovia – The Art of Segovia
Another fundamental Segovia collection composed of two CD´s. Through them you will enjoy the best compositions by Francisco Tárrega, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Issac Albéniz… This is, without a doubt, the option to consider for all those who wish to immerse themselves in the universe of this formidable guitarist.
3. Christopher Parkening – Parkening Plays Bach
American guitarist Christopher Parkering listened to the recordings of Andrés Segovia with devotion since an early age, and after years of work and dedication, the master himself recognized him as one of the greatest classical guitarists today. This album, published in 1990, is one of the most celebrated ones of his entire discography. Apart from Bach, the disc contains memorable interpretations of baroque masters such as Hëndel or Scarlatti.
4. Julian Bream – Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto; Preludes; Etudes
A guitar player’s son, and an admirer of the great Django Reinhardt since he was a child, Julian Bream knew from very early on that his future and destiny would be in the world of music. This recording of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ compositions where Bream is accompanied by André Previn and the London Symphonic Orchestra is considered by many the best he ever made.
5. David Russell – Music of Barrios
Born in Glasgow (Scotland), Galician by adoption, David Russell, a dedicated follower of the work of Andrés Segovia and Julian Bream, he also interpreted great works of the classical masters. On this occasion we would like to recommend this album recorded two years ago in which Russell delights us with his interpretations of the Paraguayan master Agustín Pío Barrios.
6. Regino Sáinz de la Maza – Concierto de Aranjuez
An interpretation of the “Concierto de Aaranjuez”, a composition by the irreplaceable Joaquín Rodrigo, could not be missed from our list of recommendations. Of course we chose the superb performance of Regino Sáinz de la Maza, the first, and one of the most applauded ones. It was precisely Rodrigo who chose this great interpreter for the world premiere of this historic piece first performed in Barcelona in 1940.
7. John Williams – Spanish Guitar Music
This album appeared in 1990, perhaps in John Williams’ best period musically speaking. This is not insignificant given that this Briton, born in Australia, is characterized by superb technique that’s very hard to find. He began playing along with his father, but he also studied under Andrés Segovia participating in his numerous master classes. On this recording you will find compositions that are simply a must such as, Fisherman´s Song or The Miller´s Dance.
8. József Eötvös – Goldberg Variations
Let us now fly over to Hungary and meet with József Eötvös. There is nothing better than carefully listening to his adaptation of the Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ for a single guitar. This adaptation was his presentation to the world; he has managed to complete a task that many, until then, considered impossible. With this marvelous work he has immediately acquired the status of a maestro amongst classical guitarists.
9. Göran Söllscher – Johann Sebastian Bach – 4 Suiten Für Laute
What can we say about this album? It contains some of the most beautiful music ever written, interpreted by one of the greatest guitarists of all times. And if this isn´t tempting enough, it is performed on an eleven string guitar built by a Swedish luthier Georg Bolin. It would be very difficult to find recordings of Bach´s suites that will impress you more than this one.
10. Alexandre Lagoya – L’Art de Alexandre Lagoya avec Ida Presti
This album introduces us to a couple of virtuosos: Alexandre Lagoya and Ida Presti, perhaps the best classical guitar duo ever. They didn’t always enjoy the recognition they undoubtedly deserve, but we can assure you that once you submerge yourself into this recording, it will become one of your favorites. Six delectable CD´s that you won´t be able to stop listening.
And David Collett’s response, though he also said that if I asked him 10 times he’d have 10 different lists and might never repeat a CD, and that this was mainly a list for someone
just getting into the guitar repertoire:
1 – Julian Bream: A Celebration of Andres Segovia
2 – David Russell: Tarrega – Integral de guitarra (double CD)
3 – Pepe Romero: Music of Giuliani (double CD – includes solos & concertos, and a duo)
4 – Marcelo Kayath: Latin American Classics
5 – John Williams: The Guitarist (3 box set)
6 – Manuel Barrueco: VoxBox (3 CD set)
7 – Wulfin Lieske: Song of the Lioness
8 – Abreu Bros: The Guitars of Sergio and Eduardo Abreu
9 – Andres Segovia: Any big box set. Gotta have some Segovia
10 -Marc Teicholz: “Valseana” of course!
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