Desert Island CDs

This post is about favourites. Cds that I often listen to and give me repeated pleasure. Cds that I would absolutely want to bring on a desert island. I decided to share 3 with you. They are all played with plenty of charm, passion and inspiration. Which ones are your own favourites?


1- Giuliani’s Opuses  19, 25 and 52

Kazuhito Yamashita, (guitar)/James Galway, (flute)/ Joseph Swensen, (violin)/ Elizabeth Anderson (cello)

RCA (BMG Classics) • 09026- 60237-2 • 1992

Excerpt of Op. 52 : I Andante sostenuto



2- Guido Santórsola’s Sonata a duo No. 1 (1962) : II Lento (here played in concert)


Lars Karlsson (guitar)/ Michael Ljung (guitar) [Duodecima] [Sor Op. 54bis, Duarte Op. 32, Petit Toccata]

Opus 3 • OP 8201 • 1982



3- Laporta, Isidro de (1750-1808)

Guitar Trio No. 3 in G major, Op. 1: II. Rondo: Allegretto

Luca Trabucchi (guitar)/ Manuel Guillén (violin)/ Pierluigi Ruggiero (cello) [Trio Concertando] [Trios by Laporta and Antonio Ximénez (1751-1826)

Hungaroton • HCD 32615 • 2009

Happy Birthday David Starobin!

9520 cover 

David’s latest CD. Pictured with composer Fred Lerdahl


Today, Friday September 27 2019, will be David Starobin’s birthday. I don’t know what gifts he will receive but I certainly thank this very busy man for all the gifts HE gave us, guitarists, especially all his recordings. Talking about recordings, do you know how many he has recorded ? The answer is presently 67 recordings listed in my CG computerized discography of amazing, mostly First World Recordings to listen to. I do not know of any North American guitarist that has recorded more. My personal favourite Starobin recordings (and discoveries) are Henze’s Carillon, récitatif et masque, William Bland’s Nouveau Rag, as well as many pieces by Crumb, Jemnitz, Kolb, Lansky, Lennon and others.


So for all this hard work, thank you David and Happy Birthday !

Mauro Giuliani


Mauro Giuseppe Sergio Pantaleo Giuliani (27 July 1781 – 8 May 1829)

 This month, on the 27th, we will celebrate the 238th year of Mauro Giuliani’s birth. This great Italian guitar virtuoso and composer was born in the fortress town of Bisceglie (Puglia). His music is favourite among guitarists probably only after that of his contemporary Fernando Sor. 4 scores of his are in the TOP 100 most recorded original pieces for guitar :


TOP 48 : Grand Overture in A Major, Op. 61

TOP 64 : Grand Duo Concertant in A Major, Op. 85

TOP 71 : Rossiniana No. 1, Op. 119

TOP 77 : Variations on a theme of Händel, Op. 107


Mile grazie for your music, maestro !


Source: Heck, Thomas F. Mauro Giuliani: Virtuoso Guitarist and Composer

Carlos Chávez


Carlos Chávez (by Carl van Vechten in 1937)

Carlos Chávez [Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez], was born 120 years ago on June 13, 1899 and died on August 2, 1978.


Chávez was an important Mexican composer who wrote extensively for the piano as well as chamber and choir music, 6 symphonies and 5 ballets. Incidentally, he was a prominent student of the piano under Manuel María Ponce, and wrote 2 pieces for the guitar.


First, his Tres piezas para guitarra [Three pieces for Guitar] of 1923. According to guitarist Adam Brown, it was initially left unfinished until 1954, when Mexican guitarist Jesus Silva requested a piece from Chávez. Second, his Feuille d’album [Hoja de álbum in Spanish or Album Page in English] of 1974 . I found 13 recordings of the first and none of the second.


I recommend Manuel Barrueco’s thoughtful recording of the Tres piezas(VoxBox 3/ Turnabout-Vox • CD3X 3007) played on the late Robert Ruck guitar No. 58 built in 1972.


Sources :

About the Tres piezas :ávez

Otero, CorazónManuel M. Ponce and the Guitar, 1983.Page 13


About the Ruck guitar :

Noted Luthier Robert Ruck (Builder of Manuel Barrueco’s Famous ‘No. 58’) Passes Away at 72


Sir Lennox Berkeley


Guitarist Julian Bream, dedicatee of Berkeley’s Guitar Sonatina

Born 116 years ago on the 12th of this month, guitarists may not be aware of Sir Lennox Berkeley’s quality contributions to our repertoire.


Here are the main features of Berkeley’s music according to British composer Francis Routh : « a textural lightness and lucidity, a harmonic piquancy, an eighteenth-century galanterie, and a thematic brevity »


As a composer, several of his works have come to occupy a special place on the British music scene such as Serenade for String Orchestra, Op. 12 ; PianoSonata, Op. 20;  Concerto in Bb for piano and orchestra, Op. 29 among many others.


As for the guitar, he brought elegant contributions to the its repertoire with, as usual, their discography between brackets, and thank you Sir Lennox! :


Berkeley, Lennox Sir (12 May 1903 – 26 December 1989) [84] :


Quatre Pièces pour la guitare, Op. post. (1927-32) for Andrés Segovia [9]

Sonatina, Op. 52 No. 1 (1957) for Julian Bream [39]

Songs of the Half-Light, Op. 65 (1964) for Peter Pears [5]

Theme and Variations, Op. 77 (1970) for Angelo Gilardino [21]

Guitar Concerto, Op. 88 (1974) for Julian Bream [3]


Sources :

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)


Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born on April 3 , 1895. That was 124 years ago. Three of his pieces are among the 100 most recorded pieces for guitar:


Tarantella, Op. 87a (1936) (TOP 67)

Capriccio Diabolico (Omaggio a Paganini), Op. 85 (1935) (TOP 93)

Sonata in D major for Guitar Solo, Op. 77 (1934) (Omaggio a Boccherini) (TOP 96)


In recent years, several young guitarists have been recording more of his music, especially his Sonata. Castelnuovo-Tedesco shows an astonishing melodic gift in his pieces for guitar, and for all these gems: Mile grazie caro Mario!


PS: If you would like to read more about Castelnuovo-Tedesco, here is a 1995 article by Graham Wade: The relevance of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Guitar Quintets


Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)

Classical Guitar Magazine (USA) published, in the Spring 2019 issue, an article by Dr. Kevin Garry titled: The Guitar Quintet . From Obscurity to Celebrity. Read the article here :

The author writes about a list of more than 300 existing works for guitar and string quartet. I already had started researching the subject, so this gave me the occasion to resume my work and identify another 30 quintets for a total of…97! As a rule of thumb, I considered any piece, of any length that was originally written (to my knowledge) for quintet.

Quintet activity on CD had a burst in the mid-1990s, then at the beginning of the 2000s and another very recent period with 25 recordings that saw the light after 2010.

Here is a list of the most recorded Quintets :

1- Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805) G 448 Fandango [34 recordings]

2- Tedesco, Mario Castelnuovo- (1895-1968) Quintetto, Op. 143 (1950) [23 recordings]

3- Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805) G 453 La Ritirata di Madrid [21 recordings]

4- Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805) G 451 [19 recordings]

5- Guastavino, Carlos (1912-2000)Jeromita Linares [15 recordings]

6- Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805) G 447 [14 recordings]

7- Giuliani, Mauro (1781-1829) Gran Quintetto,  Op. 65 [13 recordings]

8-Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805) G 445/ G 446/ G 449/ G 450 [11 recordings each]

Brouwer, Leo (1939-)Quinteto (1957) [11 recordings]

9- Pujol, Máximo Diego (1957-)Tangata de Agosto [3 recordings]

   Sierra, Roberto (1953-) Tríptico [3 recordings]

Who produced as many quintets as Boccherini?

Nobody. Still, Giuliani wrote 4 (Op. 65 , 101, 102 and 103) and Máximo Diego Pujol 3: Tangata de Agosto; Oliverianas and Guernica. Celebrity? Maybe not yet, but the guitar can have pride in a growing number of high-quality quintets!

16, 000th recording!


On February 13, 2019 my Classical Guitar Computerized Discography (started in 1985) reached 16, 000 recordings. The 16, 000th CD I entered on that day was A Salon Operaby Flauguissimo. This ensemble is a Flute and Guitar Duo featuring guitarist Johan Löfving, and flutist Yu-weiHu,recorded by Resonus Classics(RES 10233).


Furthermore, Flauguissimo plays on period instruments, an 8-keyed wooden flute (Grenser replica) and an original French guitar (ca 1850).


Two flute and guitar pieces stand out for me on this CD: Francesco Molino’s [71 recordings] Nocturne Op. 38 [only 9 recordings found] and Mauro Giuliani’s [949 recordings] Grande Serenade, Op. 82 [only 10 recordings found]. Among the solo pieces, Fernando Sor’s Op. 9 variations is, of course, the TOP 5 most recorded original piece for guitar.


Congratulations to all!

Eduardo Sáinz de la Maza y Ruiz

Eduardo Sainz de la Maza was born 116 years ago on January 5, 1903 and died on December 5, 1982. His compositions are not that familiar, except for Campanas del alba [TOP 88 most recorded piece for guitar], a beautiful tremolo piece, and Habanera [TOP 99 most recorded piece for guitar]. Guitarist Alex Garrobé recorded a beautiful CD devoted to Sainz de la Maza’s compositions (

eduardo sainz de la maza courtesy classical guitar magazine

I only found 12 different pieces by Sainz de la Maza (among a total of 144 recordings with at least one piece by him) that have been recorded. Among these, four compositions stand out :

Homenaje a la guitarra [15 recordings]

Homenaje a Toulouse-Lautrec [12 recordings]

Suite Platero y yo [11 recordings of the complete 8-part suite]

Bolero [10 recordings]

Photo courtesy of Classical Guitar Magazine

Dilermando Dos Santos Reis



Guitarist, teacher and composer Dilermando Dos Santos Reis  was born on September 22, 1916. Next January 2nd, 2019 we will be celebrating Reis’ 42nd year of death (1977). According to Brazilian guitarist Gilson Antunes, Dilermando Reis left us with a legacy of dozens of recordings spanning from 1941 to 1973, including the first recording of Radamés Gnattali’s (1906-1988) Concertino No. 1 (1951) in 1970.


The composer

According to Brazilian expert Ivan Paschoito, Reis would have written around 120 pieces for guitar. His output, a mix of infectious rhythms and touching romantic melodies, has yet to be recorded entirely but I still located 63 different pieces on disc including by Reis himself.


The Reis discography doubled in the last five years, reaching 148 recordings. This, surely thanks to many well-known artists that decided to champion his works. Among these are the Assad brothers, Paulo Bellinati, Nora Buschmann, Oscar Cáceres, Ricardo Cobo, Ahmed El-Salamouny, Gabriel Estarellas, Shinichi Fukuda, Matt Palmer, Marco Pereira, Alexander-Sergei Ramírez, David Russell, Maria Livia São Marcos and Xuefei Yang.


The most recorded pieces

A strong contender to the TOP 100 list of most recorded original pieces for guitar, Se Ela Perguntar has been recorded 86 times! Other favourite pieces include Xôdo da Baiana [35 times], Uma Valsa e Dois Amores [23 times], Doutor Sabe Tudo [19 times], Eterna Saudade and Magoado [17 times each].



Ivan Paschoito