John Williams - The Great Guitar Concertos (2 CD, APE)
John Williams - The Great Guitar Concertos (2 CD, APE)

Performer: John Williams
Conductor: Louis Fremaux, Sir Charles Groves, Daniel Barenboim
Composer: Antonio Vivaldi, Joaquin Rodrigo, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mauro Giuliani, Heitor Villa-Lobos, et al.
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Sony
Size: 593 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes
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# Lute (Chamber) Concerto, for lute (or guitar), 2 violins & continuo in D major, RV 93
Composed by Antonio Vivaldi
with John Williams

# Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar & orchestra
Composed by Joaquin Rodrigo
with John Williams, Christine Pendrell
Conducted by Louis Fremaux

# Fantasía para un gentilhombre, for guitar & orchestra
Composed by Joaquin Rodrigo
with John Williams
Conducted by Louis Fremaux

# Concerto for guitar & orchestra No. 1 in D major, Op. 99
Composed by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
with John Williams
Conducted by Sir Charles Groves

# Guitar Concerto, for guitar, strings & continuo in A major (arranged from Trio Sonata in C major, RV 82)
Composed by Antonio Vivaldi
with John Williams

# Guitar Concerto No. 1 in A major, Op. 30 (versions for guitar & orch; gt. & string quartet)
Composed by Mauro Giuliani
with John Williams

# Guitar Concerto, A. 501
Composed by Heitor Villa-Lobos
with John Williams
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim

# Concierto del sur for guitar & orchestra
Composed by Manuel Ponce
with John Williams
Conducted by Andre Previn

Disc 1:
01. Concerto in D Major for Guitar and String Orchestra/I. Allegro
02. Concerto in D Major for Guitar and String Orchestra/II. Largo
03. Concerto in D Major for Guitar and String Orchestra/III. Allegro
04. Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra/I. Allegro con spirito (Instrumental)
05. Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra/II. Adagio (Instrumental)
06. Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra/III. Allegro gentile (Instrumental)
07. Fantasía para un gentilhombre for Guitar and Orchestra/I. Villano y Ricercare. Adagietto – Andante moderato
08. Fantasía para un gentilhombre for Guitar and Orchestra/II. Españoleta y Fanfare de la Caballeriade Napoles. Adagio – Allegretto, molto ritmico; Tempo de Españoleta
09. Fantasía para un gentilhombre for Guitar and Orchestra/III. Danza de las Hachas. Allegro con brio
10. Fantasía para un gentilhombre for Guitar and Orchestra/IV. Canario. Allegro ma non troppo
11. Concerto No. 1 in D for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 99/I. Allegretto
12. Concerto No. 1 in D for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 99/II. Andantino alla romanza
13. Concerto No. 1 in D for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 99/III. Ritmico e cavalleresco

Also available:  Beethoven - Concert Collection (FLAC)

Disc 2:
0 1. Concerto in A Major for Guitar and String Orchestra/I. Allegro non molto
02. Concerto in A Major for Guitar and String Orchestra/II. Larghetto
03. Concerto in A Major for Guitar and String Orchestra/III. Allegro
04. Concerto No. 1 for Guitar and String Orchestra in A Major, Op. 30/I. Allegro maestoso
05. Concerto No. 1 for Guitar and String Orchestra in A Major, Op. 30/II. Andantino siciliano
06. Concerto No. 1 for Guitar and String Orchestra in A Major, Op. 30/III. Alla polacca
07. Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra/I. Allegro preciso (Instrumental)
08. Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra/II. Andantino e andante: Cadenza (Instrumental)
09. Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra/III. Allegretto non troppo (Instrumental)
10. Concierto del Sur for Guitar and Orchestra/I. Allegretto
11. Concierto del Sur for Guitar and Orchestra/II. Andante
12. Concierto del Sur for Guitar and Orchestra/III. Allegro moderato e festivo

The one-stop listen for guitar concertos

I was a bit hesitant about buying this because of the price, but after listening a few times and hearing the all-around excellent quality (compositions, performance, recording), I consider this the same type of bargain as when I had purchased the Beethoven Symphony cycle conducted by Herbert von Karajan (DG 29036).

These two cds also make for a good listening avenue for those who are interested in guitar but may be unfamiliar with “classical” music. In fact, it was Pat Metheny’s “Secret Story” that inspired me to listen to music beyond “jazz” and become more receptive to orchestral music. And I view compositions, such as Ponce’s “Concierto Del Sur”, Villa-Lobos’s “Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra” and Rodrigo’s “Concierto De Aranjuez” as good second steps to the appreciation of guitar with orchestral music.

When I think about what attracts me to this music and the playing of John Williams, I think of two words: virtuosity and humility; the idea of being excellent as a guitar player, but aware of being part of an overarching theme of which he is only one out of many musicians who bring it to fruition.

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