When I heard we were doing staff picks, I thought: Which videos come to mind right away, without any second guesses? Which ones have recently caught my attention the most? It was tough narrowing it down to five videos, but then again my picks change every few months, so these are just the five I can loop on YouTube for days (as of now). This is also a great way to introduce friends to these videos as a sampling of the classical guitar, so enjoy:

1st pick: ‘Yamour’ by Andrew York

The first time I heard this piece was around the fall or winter of 2014 at Andrew York’s concert at GSI – I remember because it was my first year at GSI, and it was the very first concert I attended there. York’s compositions really stood out to me as beautiful music, but this piece honestly didn’t really sink in fully until I put on the ‘Yamour’ CD (gifted to me by York personally!) on my drive home that night. I was blown away by the ethereal, majestic and almost eerie sound of the composition. When I saw that Kai updloaded the concert footage, I was already hooked on the piece for its catch melody and nicely-paced harmonic progression that charms you immediately, so I watched the video, and it seemed even better reliving the moment. York makes it look so simple, but it’s a piece played by using alternate tunings on the guitar strings and also the left hand forms uncommon chord shapes, so it must be a challenge to play. The genius of York’s composition is undoubted – it can very well be a milestone work for him if it isn’t already! I like that the vocal part of the piece fits excellently with the mood of it and gives it a more ethereal identity overall – it’s essential to the piece. The piece feels like it’s made for the guitar, which is great! To watch it played on a Torres is just amazing.

2nd pick: ‘Choro de Saudade’ by Agustin Barrios, performed by Judicaël Perroy

M. Perroy is one of my favorite recording artists to keep track of. His playing captivated me since I first heard his recording of Schubert’s ‘Ständchen’ on his Magie de la guitare CD while I was studying at UCSB. I like that his playing is always effortless, confident and subtly emotional – just the right amount when needed, and that seems tough to do. This video I think gives you nothing short of his best in interpretation and technique; it’s the perfect piece that shows how deeply emotional and nostalgic Barrios’ music can be and just how much dedication is needed to pull it off.

3rd pick: ‘Chaconne’ by J.S. Bach, performed by Marc Teicholz

To me, this is a classic. I’ve always been a fan of Teicholz’ playing, his style of interpretation that can’t quite be matched and the way he phrases lines. The ‘Chaconne’ is a masterpiece so if anyone wants a sampling of the classical guitar, this is great video to hear this piece for the first time or thousandth time! Seeing this live must have been fun.

4th pick: ‘Fantasie’ by John Dowland, performed by Rupert Boyd

This came to mind because I knew I liked Boyd’s videos when they came out; they were refreshing mostly because I hadn’t heard most of those pieces ever. I don’t really hear Dowland’s ‘Fantasie’ played much, or any music dated before the Baroque period from current players on the scene, so this was a cool thing to see at GSI. It’s as pleasant and sweet to the ears as any Dowland piece and the guitar is very robust, full sounding and suits this Renaissance piece very well. A Hermann Hauser that belonged to Julian Bream must be great to play on and Boyd played this piece and handled the guitar like a master. I can’t wait to discover more of his music soon!

5th pick: ‘Gavotte en Rondeau’ by J.S. Bach, performed by Taso Comanescu

Kind of like in Perroy’s and York’s videos, I think this performance has a great player, with a great guitar and a great piece all in one. I’m also a bit on a Bach binge lately, so listening to this reminds me just how fun, nice and easy on the ears Bach’s music can be, since he is one of the best composers to have lived. Taso’s playing is great with emotion and lightness, but also more heavy string-digging and change of timbres when needed. Being in the showroom, I’ve played a few Reynoso guitars, and they never fail to surprise me because they’re so uniquely built with elegance and their own well-rounded sound that is lyrical and powerful. Here’s a pleasant video to finish off my five picks.

Feel free to comment about which video stood out to you the most and why. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our team posts since we never really discuss our picks too much.

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