Among more than 15, 800 classical guitar recordings listed in my CG database, I found 304 different Guitar Concertos : 10 by Leo Brouwer, 7 by Federico Moreno Torroba, 6 by Radamés Gnattali, 5 by Angelo Gilardino and 4 each by Joaquín Rodrigo (let’s not forget that his Concierto de Aranjuez is the TOP 31 most recorded original piece for guitar and his Fantasía para un Gentilhombre – not a concerto – is TOP 79), Stephen Dodgson and Ernesto Cordero. But how many existing guitar concertos are there? That’s another question!
Roland Dyens’ discography has been growing steadily since his passing. Last October 5, 2018 I found information on a 400th recording with at least one piece composed by him. One of these very recent CDs stands out: First, it is completely dedicated to him. Second, it is the first recording of Concerto Métis since the composer’s own recording in 1997. A great way of honoring Dyens’ memory!
Concerto Métis by Enno Voorhorst
Johann Kaspar Mertz was a Hungarian guitarist and composer born on August 17, 1806 and who died on October 14, 1856. His beautiful Elegie is the TOP 96 most recorded piece for classical guitar.
Of the group of most renowned and recorded contemporary Romantic guitarists (Napoléon Coste, Luigi Legnani, Giulio Regondi) Mertz is the only one that has achieved TOP 100 status. His own Fantaisie hongroise, Op. 65 is a close runner-up to Elegie as a favourite choice by recording artists.
Photo courtesy of Classical Guitar Magazine (UK)
In a few days, on the 25th, we will commemorate the death of Alberto Ginastera, the great Argentinian composer who left us 35 years ago. He wrote his Sonata, Op. 47 in 1976
This powerful piece comes in four movements :
I Esordio (Solenne – Poco più mosso) • II Scherzo (Fantástico) • III Canto (Rapsódico)
IV Finale (Presto e Fogoso)
It reached the TOP 51 rank of the guitar’s most recorded original pieces. We recommend the following recordings of his Sonata if you are not familiar with it:
Ducharme, Jérôme • Naxos • 8.570189
Pierri, Álvaro • Alpha Omega Sound • AOS 071001
Zanon, Fábio • EGTA • SGV10.150-01
At the beginning of May, on the fifth, we celebrated the birth of Agustín Pío Barrios (1885-1944) [1185 recordings found], Paraguayan guitarist and composer of note.
Barrios has 10 compositions among the TOP 100 most recorded original pieces for classical guitar. The only other composer on a par with this achievement is Francisco Tárrega y Eixea (1852-1909) [1584 recordings] and Barrios’ popularity is still growing strong as one can regularly see CDs issued that present many of his pieces or entirely dedicated to his compositions [in this case, 46 recordings]. The universal appeal of his music is confirmed by the origin of many guitarists recording his compositions: The Americas and Europe but also Greece, Japan, Turkey, Slovakia and many others.
His music has all the ingredients for success: it is complex but touching, virtuosic, varied and exciting. ¡Gracias Agustín!
Composer Carlo Domeniconi
During April 2018, the Naxos Recording company reached more than 300 guitar, lute and vihuela CDs with their recording of music by Italian composer Carlo Domeniconi played by Turkish guitarist Celil Refik Kaya. Domeniconi’s most popular piece is Koyunbaba, TOP 34 most recorded piece for guitar (see my May 4, 2015 post).
As you surely know, Naxos are leaders in promoting new talent through their Laureate series, featuring competition winners of many countries. They also championed innumerable composers, producing remarkable collections extending from the Renaissance to modern times. So, well done Naxos, and keep up your excellent work!
Two international competitors told me they had the impression that everyone played the same 15 pieces in competition: Rodrigo’s Tres piezas españoles (it’s Fandango being TOP 18 most recorded piece) or his Invocación y Danza (Top 24); Ginastera’s Sonata (TOP 51), or Antonio José Martinez Palacios’ beautiful sonata (Top 65) etc…
So, this is simply a list of less recorded pieces (No TOP 100 pieces here) that also fit the bill for a competition (virtuosic and musically worthy) without being recorded too much. As usual, the brackets give the number of recordings of a composer or a piece. Thank you to Thierry Bégin-Lamontagne (http://www.thierrybeginl.com), who agreed to act as music consultant.
Arnold, Malcolm (1921-2006)  Fantasy for Guitar, Op. 107 (1971) 
Asencio, Vicente (1908-1979)  Collectici íntim (1970) 
Berkeley, Lennox Sir (1903-1989)  Sonatina, Op. 52 No. 1 (1957) 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario (1895-1968) 
Escarramán, Op. 177 (1955) 
Haug, Hans (1886-1967)  Prélude, Tiento et Toccata (1961) 
Llobet, Miguel (1878-1938) 
Variaciones sobre un Tema de Sor, Op. 15 (1908) 
Rodrigo, Joaquín (1901-1999) 
Elogio de la Guitarra (1971) 
Un tiempo fue Itálica famosa (1981) 
Toccata (1933, discovered 2005) 
Tansman, Alexandre (1897-1986) 
Variations on a Theme of Scriabin (1972) 
On March 15, 2018 my Classical Guitar Computerized Discography (started in 1985) reached 15, 000 recordings. The 15, 000th CD I entered on that day was Weber’s Complete Songs for Voice and Guitar featuring guitarist Adriano Sebastiani and soprano Patricia Cigna as recorded by Brilliant Classics (No. 95323). Congratulations to all!
Russian composer Nikita Koshkin turns 62 today. His most celebrated work is:
Koshkin, Nikita (1956-) [134 recordings]
Usher Waltz after The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, Op. 29 (1984) [54 recordings]
It is dedicated to Vladislav Bláha, a guitarist from the Czech republic. Koshkin, wanting to write a concert-scale waltz, was inspired by his memory of reading Poe’s text when he was a young adolescent. The mood alternately goes from romantic to gloomy to violent, then using strong rasgueados and Bartok pizzicati but still ending in a whisper, shortly after some delicate harmonics.
I recommend Elena Papandreou’s beautiful version of this piece as recorded for the Bis label (CD-1236) in 2003. The whole CD is dedicated to Koshkin’s music.
Browsing through my CG computerized discography, I found 2409 composition titles with the word love: in English (love), French (amour) and Spanish (amor). Here is a small sample of what I have found. Happy Valentine Day!
Sappho. Trois poèmes d’amour [Three Love Poems] (1979) [Soprano and Guitar]
Brouwer, Leo (1939-)
From Preludios Epigramáticos (1981) [solo guitar]:
VI Llegó con tres heridas: la del amor, la de la muerte, la de la vida
[He arrived with three wounds: the love one, the death one, the life one]
Goss, Stephen (1964-)
From Songs of Ophelia (2016) [Soprano and guitar]: II. Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine’s Day
Gray, Steve (1947-) From Guitar Concerto: II Love Song
Houghton, Phillip (1954-) Kinkachoo [a sacred bird], I Love You [Solo Guitar]
Kleynjans, Francis (1951-)
Variations sentimentales et capricieuses sur une mélodie d’amour [Solo Guitar][Sentimental and capricious variations on a love melody]
Kučera, Václav (1929-2017)
From “Diario”, Omaggio a Che Guevara (1971): I Day of Love [Solo Guitar]
Marco, Tomás (1942-) From 22 Tarots (1991): VI L’Amoureux [The Lover] [Solo Guitar]
Merlin, José Luis (1952-)
From Cinco Canciones De Amor: I Canción Del Caminante Enamorado [Enamored Walker Song] [Solo Guitar]
Paganini, Niccolo (1782-1840)
From Duetto amoroso for mandolin and guitar: VIII Marques d’amour [Love marks]
Rak, Štěpán (1945-) First Love [Solo Guitar]
Sor, Fernando (1778-1839)
From 12 Seguidillas for soprano and guitar: II De amor en las prisiones [Of Love in jails]
Tesař, Milan (1938-) From Suite Pinocchio: III Avec amour [With Love] [Solo Guitar]
Walton, William (1902-1983) Anon. in Love (Song Cycle for Tenor and Guitar]