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]
In content and design, this book is a masterpiece— all the more remarkable considering it was published by the author himself. Enrique Robichaud has compiled a list of the 100 most played pieces from the 10, 000+ recordings of classical guitar music at his disposal, and to that added valuable background and ancillary information. The project took twenty-eight years to complete.
In Robichaud’s organizational plan each top-100 item is allotted two pages. The first provides descriptive, historical, and/or factual information about each piece; the second, recommended recordings and further listening. Further listening sections list recordings of pieces related in some way to a top-100 piece. For instance, if the top-100 selection is a sonatina, recordings of other sonatinas by the same or other composers also appear. By this approach, Robichaud’s volume covers 555 pieces, 200 players, and 175 composers, plus 90 luthiers. Composer, instrumentation, and artist indices facilitate the search process.
Guitar’s Top 100 serves not only as a concise reference work but as a lush photo gallery. Images of performers or composers accompany every top-100 item; after every ten items, readers are treated to an additional two- or four-page photographic spread. Altogether, the book presents over 200 images, displayed within the context of Carl Robichaud’s (brother to Enrique) superb graphic layout.
To whet readers’ curiosity, I offer the top five of Robichaud’s top 100 recorded guitar works: (1) Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Tárrega (381 recordings), (2) Capricho árabe by Tárrega (301), (3) Spanish Romance by anon. (235), (4) Choros No. 1 by Villa-Lobos (229), and (5) Mozart variations, Op. 9 by Sor (214). No big surprises here.
Guitar’s Top 100 is available only through the author,
Recently, Guitar and cello duets seem to flourish everywhere. However, it is not a new occurrence since the release of the album «A Jacqueline Dupré Recital» back in 1963. Doesn’t ring a bell? Guitarist John Williams accompanied cellist Dupré in Falla’s Jota from Canciones populares españolas. A husband and wife team followed suit in 1965: Barbara (guitar) and Jan (cello) Polášek. Cello and guitar teams developed, leaving transcriptions behind to play new repertoire for this combination. This year only (2017) I located 18 cello and guitar recordings among which 5 Cds of Gnattali’s Sonata for cello and guitar. Here is a discography of the most popular original works with their numbers found between brackets (and Merry Christmas to all readers!):
Gnattali, Radamés (1906-1988) 
Sonata for Cello and Guitar (1969) : I Allegro comodo • II Adagio • III Con spirito
Bogdanović, Dušan (1955-) 
Quatre pièces intimes (1997) :
I Prière • II Mouvement • III La harpe de David • IV Chant
Zenamon, Jaime Mirtenbaum (1953-) 
Reflexões No. 6 (1986) : I Fluido • II Doloroso • III Vivissimo
Ourkouzounov, Atanas (1970-) 
Tanzologia (2000) : I Contempotango • II Valse slave • III Bulgarian Rock
Baumann, Max Georg (1917-1999) 
Duo op. 62 (1958) : I Prélude • II Invention • III Berceuse • IV Hommage à de Falla
With a total of 381, Francisco Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra holds the highest position as most recorded title in « Guitar’s TOP 100 » by Canadian aficionado Enrique Robichaud. Federico Moreno Torroba’s Suite Castellana occupies the 100th position at 42 recordings.
In his 320-page book the author is not content on merely giving a hit parade of the 100 most played classical guitar pieces but passes on extensive information resulting in a work comparable to the Myth of Sisyphus. Such a work could not have been possible without a dedication for the guitar repertoire bordering on obsession. The author shows a captivating passion for the guitar combined to precision and order but also displays the creativity and fantasy needed for the success of such a book .
Some will have suspected that Robichaud has concentrated on the works originally written for the guitar, so the music of Bach, nor the piano music of Albéniz or Granados is to be found in the book. But, this is being consequent and proves that the number of original pieces is not that small.
This very special book will be much useful to build programs and repertoire. The author lists 555 pieces, 200 artists, 175 composers and 90 guitar makers all accounted for in his computerized discography of 10, 000 recordings. He has been working on the subject for the past 28 years. Under this aspect, « Guitar’s TOP 100 » is representative of the behaviour of guitarists : we play the classic « Recuerdos de la Alhambra » as if it embodies everything the guitar seems to be.
Translation : Oliver Pabst
Sadly, news just arrived of Australian composer Phillip Houghton’s (1954-2017) passing this last October 1, 2017 (see: http://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/article/phillip-houghton-1954-2017). This, not even a year after the untimely death of Roland Dyens (1955-2016) on October 29, 2016. Each composer contributed greatly to the guitar’s repertoire and here is an excerpt of their discography. May their music live through the international guitar community.
Roland Dyens’ (360 recordings to date) compositions are three times in the TOP 100 of the most recorded pieces:
Tango en skaï (TOP 31)
From Libra Sonatine: Fuoco (Top 52)
Saudade No. 3 (TOP 76)
As mentioned in Sounboard (June 2017, Volume 43 No. 2 p. 16), Roland was the highest (then) living composer in the TOP 100 with his Tango en skaï. He was quite happy about this and asked me if he could tell, after reading the manuscript of GT 100 and accepting to endorse it.
Phillip Houghton’s (57 recordings to date) most recorded pieces are:
Kinkachoo I Love You (14)
God of the Northern Forest (12)
Stélé (9) [recommended GT 100]:
I Stélé • II Dervish • III Bronze Apollo • IV Web
Opals for guitar quartet (6) [recommended GT 100]:
I Black Opal • II Water Opal • III White Opal
“One can enjoy data on each piece of the TOP 100 and color pictures of contemporary guitarists. TOP 60 is Yuqihiro Yocoh’s Sakura Variations. It includes the same and a color picture of the composer. This is a pleasurable book that will bring enjoyment to the reader.”
Translation Jasmine Poissenot
The summer 2017 issue of Classical Guitar Magazine (classicalguitarmagazine.com) mentioned the 60th anniversary (in 2016) of the premiere of the Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra (1951) by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) on February 6, 1956.
A long-time favourite of music-lovers, the great Brazilian’s guitar output is often part of the TOP 100 of the guitar’s most recorded music:
TOP 4 Chôro No. 1 in E minor (1920)
TOP 9 From Five Preludes (1940): Prelude No. 1 in E minor
TOP 16 From Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 (1947): Aria (cantilena)
TOP 17 From 12 Studies For Guitar (1929): Study No. 11 in E minor
TOP 22 From Suite Populaire Brésilienne (1908-1912): I Mazurka-Chôro
TOP 75 Distribuição de flôres (1932) W 381
My wish for the future is to see his Concerto be part of the TOP 100. At the time of publishing Guitar’s TOP 100, I could only find 27 recordings of this marvellous piece !
As you might know, the basis of my book, “Guitar’s TOP 100. A guide to classical guitar’s most recorded music”, is a computerized discography of soon 14, 000 recordings. This means a reader knows how many recordings exist of each of the 555 pieces that are suggested in the book.
Now, is this information just for me? No. For example, I recently helped out 2 Norwegian students for lectures. One on Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Sonata, the other on Britten’s Nocturnal and Tippett’s The Blue Guitar Sonata. I provided the accurate (to my knowledge) discographical information they needed and I did it fast. So, this is an example of what I can do for you or your Master or Doctoral students.
Here are more examples of the reasons one can have to contact your friendly neighbourhood discographer:
Choose your title wisely!
You are a budding professional guitarist and will soon publish your first CD. Why should you ponder on a title? Because it makes it easier to find and sell on the internet. Because it is easier for a customer to memorize a well-chosen title. Because it gives a link or unity to all the pieces you will play on your CD. Forget “Guitar recital” as a title, it has been used 221 times and chances are your customers will not find it on the net because it is too general and lacks focus. “Dream” and derivatives (dreaming, dreamer…) 67 times. Fandango, 25; Fire 19; Voyage 18 etc..
Claims. Make sure you are sure!
A record company recently claimed theirs was the first recording of Napoléon Coste’s 25 Studies, Op. 38. False! They put the fourth set, not the first, of the complete Op. 38 on the market.
Get the idea? Write!