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,

at enriquerobichaud.ca

-Robert Ferguson

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