Saturday, December 15, 2007

Music for the mind, body and spirit: John Williams and Julian Bream

I discovered a love of classical---or Spanish---guitar when I was fairly young. The daughter of a pianist, I had, of course, studied classical music and multiple instruments (piano and viola). But what I really wanted to play was the guitar.

In my opinion, the top classical guitarists in my lifetime are:

1. Andrés Segovia (the master)
2. John Williams (click to his site to hear samples of his latest album, which is awesome)
3. Julian Bream (very interesting range)

I wanted to share some of their music here today, but really struggled with which artist and what song. Up tempo? Slower? Classical? Or with a Spanish theme? I didn't figure you'd be willing to spend an hour sampling songs at my blog.

So, in honor of my girls' and their birthdays, I chose Debussy's Clair de Lune performed by John Williams and Julian Bream.

John Williams studied under Andrés Segovia, and is brilliant in almost any style. He is a true musician. Watching his fingers move over the strings, the strength or softness he can invoke, is gorgeous.

Julian Bream is as amazing with the lute as the guitar, and I haven't even mentioned the cello or piano yet.. Anyone who can be a jack of all trades and master of many is truly talented, in my book.

When Patience was born, she had a rough first year (which meant we did, too). One of the few things that soothed her was classical guitar music.

This song was one of her favorites:

I highly recommend classical guitar for soothing the savage baby. Bach is excellent, as is Brahms, but don't neglect the amazing Spanish style composers, such as Isaac Albéniz.

(Slightly off-topic: Probably my favorite of the classical composers is Antonin Dvořák, and not just because of the viola. Probably because---like Albéniz---he incorporates local folk music into many of his compositions. His music is fairly intense and slightly chaotic in a woven seamlessly sort of way, in my opinion. It's not pattern interruption, as Mozart's music is, which I find irritating. Just my humble opinion. Patience loves Dvořák too, especially the cello concerto.)

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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melissa said...

Dvorak cello? Now you are just kissing up. :)

And you are right about John Williams on guitar. He is fabulous! Most people only know him as a composer/conductor, but he is so much more.

Bartok is another one who incorporated a lot of folk dances in his pieces. Great stuff all!

I'll stop now, or this will become *MY* blog entry for the day! :)

Julie Pippert said... know it!!

I will kiss up about the cello all day long. :)

We were listening to the cello concerto this morning.

I know...I think a lot of people don't know John Williams which is why I ended up choosing him.

We could just go back and forth all day on this (and wouldn't that be nice!).

I have to tidy and clean then figure out what to do since I think our plans for the day are spoiled by rain. And that sucks since we had two birthdays to celebrate. We still will, just maybe not outside LOL.

Mimi Lenox said...

I loved Bartok in college. Haven't listened much since I must confess. Music majors are inundated with styles and eternal "listening assignments ala research papers" that sometimes the technical aspects of the musicians can pollute the aesthetics...if ya know what I mean.
I think I need to revisit Bartok.

And I'm coming back to listen to your video!

Thanks for visiting me. I had no idea how much we do have in common.

Jeff said...

Being a piano player for the last 40 years, I thought it would be relatively easy to learn guitar, so I started taking lessons 2 years ago. Know what? It's not easy! So I now have an extremely high appreciation for people like Williams and Bream who can play effortlessly and with musical purity.

Beautiful choice by the way. I can see why it was one of your daughter's favorites.

Gunfighter said...

I love this piece of music,

dharmamama said...

That was beautiful, thanks so much for sharing that.

Feeling slightly ashamed that my introduction to classical guitar came via the movie Crossroads, with Ralph Macchio. LOLOL

Professor J said...

Thank you for this lovely interlude.

Magpie said...

That's lovely, Julie.

Do you know John Fahey's Christmas records? You might like him.

flutter said...

beautiful, Julie thanks for sharing

Jen M. said...

Classical music has helped us with our kids, too. Not just the savage baby, either. It seems to calm all of them when I play it.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I've never been a huge fan of classical music in the traditional sense, but classical and spanish guitar I love. My father studied classical guitar as a kid and had hoped I would too, but I was much too wimpy. My fingers couldn't take it!

Rob said...

I love all guitar music but must admit to being a bit ignorant of classical guitarists.

However, I do really enjoy some of the New Agey Spanish & Flamenco players like Ottmar Liebert & Jesse Cook. Also well worth checking out is Marc Antoine.

jen said...

i love that this is one of your passions in life.

liv said...

oof. someone beat me to it. yes, to jesse cook.

Casdok said...


Lawyer Mama said...

I love classical guitar. Frankly, it's been quite awhile since I've listened to any classical music. I think it's rebellion from being so immersed in it until I went off to college.

(I play the violin, by the way. Yet another thing we have in common.)

Angela said...

Hi Julie, I thought I would share a post from years ago about classical guitar. Also check out item #3 on Jason Vieaux here.