Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

The Beginning of a Legend: John Williams - His first recording
J.S. BACH (1685-1750)
Suite for Unaccompanied Cello BWV 1007 [17:50]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1751)
Sonata in E minor K11 [3:56]
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
Gavotta [3:15]
Fernando SOR (1778-1839)
Mozart Variations, op.9 [6:51]
Isaac ALBENIZ (1860-1909)
Torre Bermeja [4:11]
Manuel PONCE (1862-1948)
Tres Cancíones populares mexicanas [6:35]
John DUARTE (1919-2004)
Variations on a Catalan Folk Song [9:37]
Andrés SEGOVIA (1893-1987)
Two Studies [5:30]
Alexander TANSMAN (1897-1986)
Barcarolle [3:21]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
La Maja de Goya [5:18]
John Williams (guitar)
rec. December 1958. ADD
IDIS 6600 [65:18]

Experience Classicsonline

During the period 13-16 September 1961, the University of Orense (Spain) sponsored an international competition for the classical guitar. This was held in conjunction with Music at Compostela which Andrés Segovia had conducted in the city of Santiago de Compostela for the past several years. Headed by Segovia, the judging panel comprised eight members.

Commenting almost a decade earlier about John Williams, Segovia observed: ‘God has laid a finger on his brow. He bestowed on Williams the epithet, ‘prince of the guitar’. Such circumstances would have logically made John Williams a probable winner of the Orense competition. He did participate, but as a judge not as a competitor.

Many assumed that the nature of Williams’ involvement was indicative of his assumed place as successor to Segovia; there was no reason to compete when the hierarchy had already been clearly established by the head of the judging panel himself? Reasonable though this assumption may have appeared, comments made by Williams many years later in an interview with Austin Richard-Levy suggest otherwise.

Some years prior to the Orense Competition, Segovia had requested that Williams compete in the autumn 1956, International Competition for Musical Performers, conducted by the Conservatoire of Music, Geneva, Switzerland. Although Williams expressed anticipation of winning, for a variety of reasons he declined Segovia’s invitation. This contributed to an evolving friction between them, and to Williams’ antipathy for guitar competitions, or indeed any competition among musicians where there are individuals declared as outright winners.

There must have been something in the British water? Julian Bream, a logical competitor in the Geneva competition was on the judging panel. Some preoccupation among competitors in the Orense Competition seven years later was unfounded: Julian Bream did not participate, despite his eligibility.

One man who did respond positively to Segovia’s request for participation in a major competition was Eliot Fisk. Twenty years later at the Segovia International Guitar Competition in Leeds Castle (1981), even though Segovia was head of the judging panel, Fisk was unplaced. Segovia angrily dissociated himself from further involvement as a judge in guitar competitions, claiming: ‘You know at that competition which was in my name, I judged Eliot Fisk to be the winner, but they would not agree with me.’ Fisk expressed the same attitude towards competitions as John Williams, believing that the outcome is better shared by several, rather than dominated by one.

Should there have been any questions about the credentials of this young ‘prince of the guitar,’ internationally they were quickly dispelled with the release of his debut recordings in 1959; Williams was just eighteen years of age. Contrary to what the cover of the review disc suggests, this was not Williams’ ‘first recording’, but selections taken from his first two recordings released simultaneously in early 1959 (Delysé ECB 3149 [UK] and Delysé ECB 3150 [UK]). Delysé was part of Decca and subsequent take-overs and re-releases of this material cloud its history.

Selected from those two early recordings, the review disc programme reflects a style typical of Segovia, but with one exception. Unlike Segovia, Williams elected to record the entire Suites for Cello by J.S. Bach - BWV 1007 and BWV 1009. It took Segovia another two years to produce a recording of an entire Cello Suite (BWV 1009 - MCA MUCS 125).

Understandably, the review disc programme perpetuates the Ponce pastiche myth by identifying the Gavotta (8) as from the pen of Alessandro Scarlatti. Generally it follows the same content profile as Williams’ debut recital in November, 1958, and long-established by Segovia.

That Williams possessed total mastery over his instrument is unequivocal. It should be remembered that in 1958, only a handful of people could play to such a high technical standard. Released today, that same recording would probably elicit no comment regarding the level of technical proficiency demonstrated.

It is rare for Williams to receive other than accolades for his technical prowess. However in the area of musical interpretation, opinions are not so unanimous. Some twenty-eight years later, reviewing his Avery Fisher Hall (New York), 20 April 1986 recital, Donal Henahan commented: He is a musician who seems reluctant to reveal himself in his playing, so seriously contracting the expressive range of his music making … There is such a thing in music as brilliant sameness. These comments are representative of many who have expressed opinion about this brilliant guitarist - ‘admiring his work but not loving it’.

The listener may judge the degree to which these observations are justified in this debut recording. Having listened to much of what Williams has recorded, this writer is of the opinion that criticisms levelled at past musical interpretations are often no longer relevant to his latest work. The appeal of individual musicians is a matter of personal preference, and guitarists are no exception.

Zane Turner


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.