Sunday, October 4, 2009

Have Classical Guitar, Will Travel

I get a special sense of satisfaction when I do a classical guitar gig, even if it's a noisy social situation and no one seems to be listening. (it is always best to go on the assumption that someone is actually listening, even if you don't see them. It is almost always true.)

A recent gig I had was to provide background music for a cocktail party at a hotel grand opening. My understanding was that, for this situation, the music needs to be sophisticated, dynamic, and diverse. It needs to blend into the background but also be enjoyable to anyone who stops to listen. To accomplish that, I play a mix of mostly upbeat classical, Spanish/Latin, and easy-listening versions of pop tunes. I also include some contemporary finger-style pieces by Steve Morse, Phil Keaggy, Earl Klugh and others.

The pieces are fun, challenging and/or just beautiful, sometimes all of the above. I have been building up my repertoire for many years, and I enjoy this music very much. I have enough pieces in a variety of styles that I can choose what feels right for the situation, and play music I love at the same time. Some current and all-time favorites of mine to play:

Bach, "Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude"
Sanz, "Canarios"
Satie, "Gymnopedie I"
Ponce, "Scherzino Mexicano"
Steve Morse, "Picture This"
Genesis, "Horizons"

So that's a little insight into the classical side of my musical life.

To wrap it up, here's a clip from one of my heroes, the great British guitarist John Williams. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me!

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