Cinco Piezas Populares for Guitar Trio by Enrique Granados

Cinco Piezas Populares
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Arranged for three guitars by Gregg Nestor

  • Añoranza
  • Zambra
  • Zapateado
  • Moresque
  • Miel de la Alcarria

Composer Enrique Granados, along with Isaac Albéniz, brought modern Spanish music into the home of the avid music lover. Most of Granados’ works are for piano solo, and through them he created a unique style of writing for the [then] modern school of Spanish keyboard music. Many of his works have been successfully arranged for guitar and are among the all time audience favorites in the instrument’s literature.

This collection, arranged for guitar trio by Gregg Nestor, are works from the composer’s youth (circa 1890 – 1895) and strongly convey the nationalistic elements so pronounced in his elegant style. They have been organized as a suite of contrasting movements, but can successfully be played as stand alone pieces.

Cuatro Pièzas Españolas by Manuel De Falla arranged for Three Guitars

Cuatro Pièzas Españolas (1908)
by Manuel De Falla (1876-1946)
arranged for three guitars by Gregg Nestor

  • Aragonesa
  • Cubana
  • Montañesa (Paysage)
  • Andaluza

“My principal idea was to express musically the soul and the atmosphere of each of the regions indicated by their respective titles.”

Manuel de Falla

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), is considered the most distinguished Spanish composer of the early 20th century. In his music he achieved a fusion of poetry, asceticism, and ardor that represents the spirit of Spain at its purest.

Cuatro Pièzas Españolas is considered de Falla’s first major piano work, in which he arrived at a technical command and maturity in both compositional and pianistic practices. He had begun composing them in 1906 in Madrid and completed them in Paris. They are exemplary of his development from Romantic tonality to the modalities of Spanish folk music. Furthermore, he was to absorb the influence of Debussy’s Impressionistic style and move beyond it. Through rhythm, the melodic lines, and the characteristic ornaments, he evoked the soul of Spain.

The first of these, Aragonesa, displays the energetic character of a folk theme by applying the jota rhythm in the descending triplet-figure which appears fairly often throughout the piece.

The themes of the Cubana, the second movement, are based on the guajira rhythm which combines 3/4 and 6/8 meters alternatively and simultaneously.

In commenting on the third movement, Montañesa, de Falla wrote… Its themes are a major alteration of two folk ones. I wrote this piece in Paris after returning from a stay in the north of Spain the previous winter. What an effect the atmosphere and landscape of that part of my country had on me!.. The church bells ringing in the distance, slow and sad songs, dances, and all this with a superb backdrop of imposing snow topped mountains.

The final piece Andalucia, portrays lively and virtuoso style which explores the many well-known characteristics of Andalusian music, such as flamenco dance, guitar figures, and cante-jondo.

This adaptation for guitar trio by Gregg Nestor can either be performed in its entirety or individual movements. Metronomic tempo markings are suggestions by the arranger.

Don Quichotte à Dulcinée by Maurice Ravel Arranged for Three Guitars

Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1932-1933)
by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Arranged for three guitars by Gregg Nestor

  • Chanson romanesque
  • Chanson épique
  • Chanson à boire

“Let no one think it was by chance that he made his entrance into music by way of Spain… I recognize Spain in every part of Ravel – what he was and what he did. His art, still more decidedly, is the French tongue touched with a Spanish accent.”

André Saures

Ravel’s setting of contemporary French writer Paul Morand’s Don Quichotte inspired poetry came at the very end of his creative life, and only upon a commission from the Austrian filmmaker G.W. Pabst for a film he was making on Don Quichotte. Pabst was plainly not devoted to Ravel’s work, however; – when Ravel was slow in producing the specified scores, Pabst readily accepted music from Jacques Ibert instead. The result of this aborted collaboration, Ravel’s set of three songs entitled Don Quichotte à Dulcinée ended up being his last completed work.

Ravel based each movement on a traditional Spanish dance: “Chanson romanesque” is a quajira, which alternates bars of 3/4 and 6/8. Although “Chanson épique” is hymnlike, introduced with a low spiritual chorale, it too is a dance: the 5/4 Basque zortzico. Its naturally languid rhythm is here extrapolated to a state of reverent suspension, as Don Quichotte invokes the medieval patrons Saint Michael and Saint George as witnesses to the purity of his love for Dulcinea.

Don Quichotte is human after all, and he boisterously comes back down to earth in the final movement, called, inevitably “Chanson à boire”. Underlying this “Drinking Song” is the quick accented 3/4 of the jota.

Suite from “The Magic Opal” by Isaac Albéniz Arranged for Guitar Trio and Guitar Quartet

Suite from “The Magic Opal” (1892) (for guitar trio)
Suite from “The Magic Opal” (1892) (for guitar quartet)
by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
. Arranged for guitar trio and guitar quartet by Gregg Nestor

  • Prelude
  • Intermezzo
  • Ballet

Isaac Albéniz’s (1860-1909) name immediately conjures up his piano masterpiece Iberia and various works that have met their success in fine transcriptions for guitar and that are a staple of the repertoire for the instrument. But sprinkled through his tremendously active career as a composer and piano virtuoso, ensemble musician, conductor, impresario and piano teacher are his operas and operettas, written during his stay in London from 1890 until late 1893.

The music revolves around an opal ring that has the power to cause anyone touching it to fall in love with the person wearing it. Although the story takes place in Greece, the music does not stray far from the composer’s love of Andalucía, and displays Spanish rhythms and melodic influences.

This suite, comprised of three instrumental pieces from the operetta have been arranged for guitar trio and guitar quartet by Gregg Nestor. Together, these movements mirror in microcosm the development of his unique voice and style in masterworks that were to come and that tie him as a major musical icon in the Spanish Nationalist style.

The trio guitar arrangement was commissioned, premiered and recorded by The Great Neck Guitar Trio (Matthew Rohde, Adam Levin and Scott Borg).

Poema en forma de canciones by Joaquín Turina Arranged For Three Guitars

Poema en forma de canciones Op. 19 (1918)
Arranged For Three Guitars by Gregg Nestor

  • Dedicatoria
  • Nunca olvida…
  • Cantares
  • Los dos miedos
  • Las locas por amor

My music is the expression of the feeling of a true Sevillian who did not know Seville until he left it … yet, it is necessary for the artist to move away to get to know his country, just as it is for the painter who takes some steps backwards to be able to take in the complete picture.

Joaquín Turina

Joaquín Turina’s successful synthesis of the early-twentieth-century French School and Andalusian folklore, embodied in the classical genres of chamber music, was no small feat. As a Spanish composer seeking to express his national identity through chamber music, he had very few precedents to emulate. Falla and Albéniz advised Turina to embrace his heritage as an Andalusian musician. Albéniz is reported to have said: You must base your art on Spanish popular song, on Andalusian music, because you are from Seville.In later years Turina would recall this conversation saying: Those words were decisive for me, [and] they are a piece of advice that I have tried to follow throughout my career.

The result of this encounter with Albéniz and Falla was an outpouring of music that established Turina as one of the outstanding Spanish composers of the early twentieth century. Nearly all of his works bore allusions to Spain, and more specifically to Andalusia.

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.

 

 

 

Schubert

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

Schumann

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

Brahms

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

Mendelssohn

  • 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.