"Spanish Guitar Music is an older recording, done at Williams peak. He is a technical master. The Miller's Dance is exquisite...in fact, it is hard to believe anyone could possibly play this piece with the energy and accuracy Williams displays. Classical guitarists and enthusiasts alike will appreciate his artistry. It has been one of my favorites for years."
Matthew Richard | Canton, Il | 09/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm 16, and an amateur classical guitarist. This C.D. is one of williams best, he is the apex of guitar evolution. There is no better at technical development than he. I especially enjoyed the fisherman's song, a definate reccomendation, 5 stars"
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 07/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A treat for the solo guitar enthusiast, this is a sparkling collection of Spanish classics, full of drama and passion, played to perfection by John Williams. His technique is dazzling, with a purity and clarity even in the fast and fiery parts, and never a squishy note to be heard.
The music takes us back to the mid 16th century with Alonso Mudarra's "Fantasia", which is short and charming, as well as another early composer, Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710), with his "Canarios", up to many 20th century masters like de Falla, Torroba, and the only non-Spaniard represented, the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Favorites include Albeniz' "Cordoba", which has a marvelous "rasqueado", and the familiar but exciting "The Miller's Dance" by de Falla, but every track is impressive on this CD, as well as entertaining, something solo guitar music occasionally fails to be.Having been reared by a mother who loved her guitar almost as much as her children, I have heard these pieces played often and by many great artists, but never better, or more enjoyably. This is a compilation that consists of previously released material, some from the 70's and 80's; the sound throughout is excellent, and the total time 73:46."
The Best Classical Guitarist in the World
Stuart M. Paine | Arlington, VA USA | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of the music on this disc was recorded for Columbia Records between 1964 and 1970 for release on four different LP albums. These are those albums (and I've had them all for 35 years):
COLUMBIA RECORDS PRESENTS JOHN WILLIAMS (1964) VIRTUOSO MUSIC FOR GUITAR (1965) MORE VIRTUOSO MUSIC FOR GUITAR (1967) JOHN WILLIAMS PLAYS SPANISH MUSIC (1970)
Fourteen of the first fifteen tracks here are from the 1970 LP and are presented in their original sequence. Track 6, "El Colibri" by Segreras, is not from that LP. It here replaces the proper sixth LP track, "Valses Poeticos" by Granados, which strangely has been omitted from this collection entirely. Otherwise, the album, certainly one of Williams's greatest, would have been complete on this disc.
What follows is a complete list of the Spanish and Latin American pieces included on the three earlier LPs and in the original sequences (* signifies omission from this collection):
COLUMBIA RECORDS PRESENTS JOHN WILLIAMS "Sevilla" "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" "Fandanguillo" "Soleares" (Turina) * "Rafaga" (Turina) * "El Testemen de Amelia" "Scherzino Mexicano" (Ponce) * "El Colibri"
VIRTUOSO MUSIC FOR GUITAR "Spanish Dance No. 5" Etude No. 8 (Villa-Lobos) * "Homenaje a Debussy"
MORE VIRTUOSO MUSIC FOR GUITAR "Fantasia..." (Mudarra) "Diferencias Sobre el Conde Claros" (Mudarra) * Prelude No. 4 (V-L) Prelude No. 2 (V-L) * "Aires de la Mancha" (Moreno-Torroba) *
Better choices could have been made from this pool. I myself would have included the "Valses Poeticos" and left out the Villa-Lobos. I've always been bowled over by JW's approach to Spanish repertoire, but don't find him completely convincing with Villa-Lobos' music which in my opinion benefits greatly from a "warmer" touch (like Bream's). Most certainly, the inclusion of these Segreras and Villa-Lobos pieces in a "Spanish" recital is a bit strange, although they're both showy and can be loosely associated with Spanish guitar. Turina's "Rafaga" is one of JW's most fiery performances and could have made the cut. One could in fact make a compelling case for all three Turina pieces from the first LP. Happily, another JW disc which draws from the same recordings, SPANISH GUITAR FAVORITES, does have both the "Valses Poeticos" and all the Turina, and is also available on Amazon.
Quibbling aside, these performances were at the time (and still are) STARTLINGLY good. It's difficult to convey nowadays just how impossible it seemed in 1970 that a human being could play like this. This music is difficult to play and nobody had ever done it with such confidence and ease. I'll never forget seeing JW in 1971 and looking around the hall to see faces uniformly agog.
There are three different packagings for this same disc. I have not heard them all and am in no position to comment as to their relative value. Thank you for reading. "
Williams is the best player
Alejandra Vernon | 02/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Williams is by far the best guitarist alive! His ability sets the pace for all others. The selections on this CD include some that don't personally appeal to me, but Williams' version of "Asturias" is incredible."