Masterworks of German Lied for Voice and Guitar

Masterworks of German Lied Volumes 1-8

Masterworks of German Lied for Voice and Guitar
Volumes 1-3 Franz Schubert
Volumes 4-5 Robert Schumann
Volumes 6-7 Johannes Brahms
Volume 8 Felix Mendelssohn

A complete 8 Volume collection which is available as a set or as individual volumes.





  • Vocal Range:
  • High – 11
  • Medium – 54
  • Low – 17


  • Vocal Range:
  • High – 3
  • Medium – 29
  • Low – 10


  • Vocal Range:
  • High – 5
  • Medium – 32
  • Low – 2


  • Vocal Range:
  • High – 2
  • Medium – 9
  • Low – 1

The Age of Romanticism

The nineteenth century in Europe was a time when the Romantic spirit took hold of all the arts; creators of literature, poetry, music, and aesthetic philosophy initiated explorations that transformed the world. In music, the works of Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn form the pillars that best embody and uphold that spirit.

These four German composers in particular wrote numerous songs and song cycles that many feel represent a ripening and perfection of a particular style, that of the German lied. Typically scored for voice and piano, these works fuse music with poetry in an elevated and imaginative way that embodies the Romantic sentiments of their times. Through the lieder of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Mendelssohn poetic qualities such as individual yearning, romantic love, and fanciful evocations of nature are perfected into an enduring musical art form that remains popular with vocalists through the ages.

Guitar and Voice in Biedermeier Vienna

We speculate that if today’s concert level guitars had been available to Romantic era composers, with their richer palette of subtle sounds, greater volume, and vastly improved intonation, the guitar might well have played a more prominent role with these composers. Classical guitar embodies many of the Romantic ideals: its intimacy, color, and evocative possibilities are a perfect fit for the German lieder found in this expansive collection.

The eight volumes contained in this Masterworks of German Lied edition focus exclusively on songs by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn. One hundred seventy-five lieder from these masters are presented in chronological order, offering a sequential viewpoint into the creative arc of each composer’s lifelong exploration of the genre. Throughout the collection meticulous attention has been paid to representing the original articulations and phrasing to assist in musical interpretation.

Among these four composers only Schubert actually played the guitar. He also composed for the instrument, and several of his songs were originally published with alternate guitar accompaniment. Neither Mendelssohn, Schumann or Brahms are known to have played guitar, but Viennese musical society of that time, at the highest levels and within the middle class, loved guitar and many played it. The iconic nineteenth century composer and guitarist Mauro Giuliani, an acquaintance of Schubert, is said to have sung some of Schubert’s vocal works, and played music “past midnight” on occasion with Schubert and other musicians.

With the publication of this treasury of German lieder, expertly arranged for voice and guitar by Gregg Nestor, today’s vocalists and guitarists have the opportunity to study and perform the largest collection of these exquisite Romantic masterpieces to date.

Mascagni: Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana for Violin & Guitar and Cello & Guitar

Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni arranged for Violin and Guitar.  

The Mascagni Intermezzo has also been arranged for Cello and Guitar.

“It was a pity I wrote Cavalleria first. I was crowned before I was king.”

Thus did Pietro Mascagni evaluate his own musical career, citing his youthful success in 1890 with Cavalleria Rusticana. He attempted to repeat this triumph in the remaining 55 years of his life but to no avail.

Pietro Mascagni found fame at the age of 27 when he entered his one-act opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, on the final day of a Milanese music publisher’s competition for new operatic productions. From a total of 73 entries, Mascagni’s was one of three operas selected by the judges. Based on a story by Giovanni Verga, it was premiered in Rome on 19 May 1890, to an audience comprised mostly of music critics. Among their ranks, however, was also the great patron of music, Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy. The work was an immediate success. Awarded the First Prize by the panel of judges, Mascagni himself taking up to 40 curtain calls on the night of the first performance!

The Intermezzo, arranged by guitarist Gregg Nestor, is an instrumental favorite of the opera. Its justifiable acclaim as an instrumental interlude has inspired its adaptation for use in motion pictures, perhaps most notably in the closing scene of The Godfather film trilogy.

Chabrier: Les Plus Jolies Chansons for Voice and Guitar

Les plus jolies chansons du pays de France by Emmanuel Chabrier arranged for voice and guitar.  Here are the sixteen songs that Gregg has set:

  1. Les Métamorphoses
  2. Entrez, la belle, en vigne
  3. Nique nac no muse!
  4. La mie du voleur
  5. Les filles de trente ans
  6. Le Déserteur
  7. Les garçons de Bordeaux
  8. Sur le bord de l’île
  9. Que les amants ont de la peine!
  10. La mort de la brune
  11. La fleur dorée
  12. Le flambeau éteint
  13. La bien-aimée
  14. Bergère et chasseur
  15. Joli dragon
  16. Marion s’en va-t-a l’òu

Emmanuel Chabrier (Emmanuel Alexis Chabrier) (January 18, 1841 – September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer from the Auvergne region of central France and was born in Ambert in 1841. Although his parents, sensing his abilities, brought him to Paris in 1856, he did not toe the line by studying at the Conservatoire or even at any of the less prestigious musical institutions.

In 1888 the firm of E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie published an extremely handsome and substantial volume of folksong arrangements with beautiful illustrations, both in color and black and white, by Lucien Metivet. The composer was approached and contributed these sixteen miniatures for the publication. His touch in these pieces is deceptively light and restrained; but time after time his musical contribution adds enormously to the music’s charm.

Chabrier was a man of the country; if in 1888 the study of folksong had been the serious movement it was soon to become, he might have been in its vanguard. In any case it is clear from these arrangements that he was delighted with these old melodies. When one considers the later arrangements of folksongs by Canteloube, Ravel, Grainger, Bartók, Britten and so on, it is clear that Chabrier was something of a pioneer among the greater composers in working in this field.

Gregg Nestor has arranged sixteen of these beautiful jewels for voice and guitar from the published voice and piano originals. They have been organized in a suggested performance order but would also work well as individual selections for concert or encore use.


España! by Chabrier for Voice and Guitar

Here’s another excellent Chabrier piece called España! that Gregg has arranged for voice and guitar.

Emmanuel Chabrier (Emmanuel Alexis Chabrier) (January 18, 1841 – September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer from the Auvergne region of central France and was born in Ambert in 1841. Although his parents, sensing his abilities, brought him to Paris in 1856, he did not toe the line by studying at the Conservatoire or even at any of the less prestigious musical institutions.

The first performance of Chabrier`s famous symphonic rhapsody España on 4 November 1883 made him a celebrity overnight. After such a success the publishers were keen to have transcriptions made which would bring this new hit into the home. No less than six vocal arrangements were made, some for two voices. Only one of these – the solo version that forms the basis of this arrangement – was Chabrier`s own work. This was ‘L’Edition de concert à 1 voix’.

The composer Emile Louis participated in the preparation of this arrangement in some way that is not entirely clear. He probably undertook the initial task of lining up the text of Adenis which had to be grafted on to a vocal line invented for the occasion: Chabrier himself probably supervised the final stages and the finer points of the accompaniment. Certainly the composer changed certain words in Adenis’s poem and substituted what he regarded as more felicitous expression of his own.

It is clear from his letters from his Spanish visit that Chabrier was mesmerised by lady dancers. He wrote: “The women are pretty, the men well built, and on the beach the señoras who have ample bosoms often forget to fasten their costumes. I’ll bring buttons, needle and thread to help them: to be of service is my only concern”; and later: “What an eyeful we are getting of Andalusian behinds wiggling like frolicsome snakes”.

One can wonder at the composer’s genius for finding and manipulating Spanish rhythms and melodies (some of them assiduously transcribed during this sojourn) which sound more Spanish than the Spanish. This piece of music (at least in its original version) is one of the high-water marks of the dazzling ability of French composers (Lalo, Debussy and Ravel are others) to evoke the musical manners of Spain without musicological accuracy, and without compromising one iota of their own personalities. The French adored the work and the Spanish hated it. As composer Francis Poulenc put it, “the wrought-iron grilles of España come straight out of a big French department store”. Such a remark from that inveterate Parisian was meant as a compliment to his beloved Chabrier.

from notes by Graham Johnson

Chabrier: Habañera for Violin and Guitar

Here is Gregg’s fine arrangement of Chabrier’s Habañera for violin and guitar

Emmanuel Chabrier (Emmanuel Alexis Chabrier) (January 18, 1841 – September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer from the Auvergne region of central France and was born in Ambert in 1841. Although his parents, sensing his abilities, brought him to Paris in 1856, he did not toe the line by studying at the Conservatoire or even at any of the less prestigious musical institutions.

Chabrier was an important influence for subsequent generations of French composers (most notably Ravel who acknowledged his debt to the older composer), although his music was appreciated more by his fellow artists than by the public. His best works stand as beautiful and iridescent jewels.

Chabrier’s fascination with music of Spain music is well known from his sultry Habañera. He composed the piece in October 1885, using a theme he had collected during his five-month trip to Spain. This is a gentle masterpiece, played at a slow tempo to make the most of the characteristic rhythm (originally imported from Cuba) familiar from Bizet’s Carmen and Saint-Saëns’ Havanaise.

Borodin: Gliding Dance of the Maidens for Guitar Quartet

Though far from prolific as a composer – by day he was a scientist – Alexander Borodin nevertheless earned a secure place in the history of Russian music. As a creative spirit, Borodin was the most accomplished of the Russian nationalists composers. He had a particular gift for the distinctive stripe of exoticism so evident in his most frequently performed work, the Polovetsian Dances from the opera Prince Igor.

Under the influence of Mily Balakirev, whom he met in 1862, Borodin became interested in applying elements of Russian folk music to works for the concert hall and stage.

In 1953, the musical “Kismet” was created using melodies composed by Borodin. In this case the Gliding Dance of the Maidens (Polovetsian Dance No. 17) was used as the basis of the enormously popular song Stranger in Paradise. The song in the musical is a lovers’ duet and describes the transcendent feelings that love brings to their surroundings. Here it is adapted by Gregg Nestor for guitar quartet.

Respighi: Ancient Airs & Dances Suite #2 for Guitar Quartet

Ancient Airs and Dances – Suite No. 2 – Ottorino Respighi – for Guitar Quartet

This enjoyable suite includes the following selections:

  • Laura soave, Balletto con Gagliarda Saltarello
  • Danza Rustica – Jean-Baptiste Besard
  • Campanae Parisienses – Aria – Anonymous Mersenne Mari
  • Bergamasca – Bernardo Gianoncelli



Ottorino Respighi (July 9, 1879 – April 18, 1936) was born in Bologna, Italy. He was taught piano and violin by his father, who was a local piano teacher. He continued studying violin and viola with Federico Sarti at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, composition with Giuseppe Martucci, and historical studies with Luigi Torchi, a scholar of early music. In 1900, Respighi went to Russia to be principal violist in the orchestra of the Russian Imperial Theatre in St Petersburg during its season of Italian opera; while there he studied composition for five months with Rimsky-Korsakov. He also had composition lessons with Max Bruch in 1902 in Berlin. Until 1908 his principal activity was as first violin in the Mugellini Quintet, before turning his attention entirely to composition.

In his role as musicologist, Respighi was also an enthusiastic scholar of Italian music of the 16th-18th centuries, and was one of the first symphonic composers to have a strong interest in early music. He was actively involved in the modern editions of works by Monteverdi and other 17th- and 18th-century masters, and was fascinated by lute music from the Renaissance and early Baroque. This repertory had just become available in modern editions prepared by an Italian scholar named Oscar Chilesotti (1848-1916), a pioneer in the deciphering of the old lute notation (the so-called “tablature”). Chilesotti published several volumes of solo lute pieces and lute songs in modern scores, transcribing the accompaniment for piano in the spirit of the time.

In arranging these “ancient airs and dances,” Respighi wanted to create instrumental parts that 20th-century orchestral players would find interesting. In a form of reverse engineering, guitarist Gregg Nestor has adapted two of these orchestral suites for guitar quartet.

Bruch: Kol Nidrei Op.47 for Cello & Guitar/Violin & Guitar

Max Bruch: Kol Nidrei Op. 47 Hebrew Melody for Cello and Guitar

Max Bruch (1838-1920) had a long career as a teacher, conductor, and composer, moving among musical posts in Germany: Mannheim (1862-1864), Koblenz (1865-1867), Sondershausen (1867-1870), Berlin (1870-1872), and Bonn, where he spent 1873-78 working privately. At the height of his career he spent three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society (1880-83).

Kol Nidrei Op. 47, was one of the first pieces he set about composing when he took up his post as Principal Conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1880. It was composed specifically for Liverpool’s Jewish community, taking as its inspiration two traditional Hebrew melodies. The first, heard at the outset, originates from the traditional Jewish service on the night of Yom Kippur; the second is an extract from a musical setting of the Byron poem “Those that Wept on Babel’s stream”.

Max Bruch: Kol Nidrei Op. 47 Hebrew Melody for Violin and Guitar

The success of Kol Nidrei led to the assumption by many that Bruch was of Jewish ancestry. There is no evidence, however, that Bruch was Jewish. He was a Protestant in 1880s Berlin, but knew the city’s cantor-in-chief, Abraham Lichtenstein. Bruch learned the Kol Nidre melody and others from the Lichtenstein family. He loved the beauty of these tunes.

This much beloved composition is shown in a new and intimate light through the adaptation for cello and guitar as well as violin and guitar by Gregg Nestor, and should prove to be exciting and welcome additions to duo and chamber ensemble repertoire.

Hebraic Rhapsody: Traditional Jewish Melodies for Solo Guitar

Gregg turned his attention to solo guitar for this enjoyable collection of Jewish folk tunes that he dedicated to his two grandmothers. Hebraic Rhapsody: Traditional Jewish Melodies for Solo Guitar includes a suite of seven different tunes with lively dances like Hassidic Dance and touching songs like My Yiddische Momma. 

The guitar has long been associated with folk music and composers over the centuries have been indebted to folk songs. One only has to think of Schubert, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Bartók, Dvorák, Vaughan Williams, Brahms, Grainger, Britten, etc., to realise the extent of this umbilical relationship between so called “art” music and the folkloric.

Gregg Nestor’s arrangements of Hebrew folksongs for solo guitar are a rich reminder of the generations of anonymous musicians whose creativity endures in a wealth of traditional works. This Hebraic Rhapsody comprises melodies that were rooted in everyday living, centered around the Rabbi, the hearth, parents, and the dance, etc.- music and daily routines being inextricably intertwined. Here the emphasis is on community life and family relationships, though dance rhythms and religious cadences are never far away.



Brahms Song Videos by Duo Vitare

Brahms Songs for Cello and Guitar

Gregg recently published his Four Selected Songs for Cello and Guitar by Johannes Brahms

New Brahms Song Videos by Duo Vitare

Now Duo Vitare, with Agnieszka Kotulska-Rahunen on cello and Kimmo Rahunen on guitar, has made videos of two of these beautiful songs: Wie Melodien zieht es mir and Dein Blaues Auge.

Johannes Brahms
Wie Melodien zieht es mir, op. 105
Arr. for cello and guitar by Gregg Nestor
Performed by Duo Vitare

Johannes Brahms
Dein Blaues Auge, op. 59
Arr. for cello and guitar by Gregg Nestor
Performed by Duo Vitare