Gerald Garcia – Romantic Guitar Favourites (1992)

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Gerald Garcia (born 1949 in Hong Kong) is a classical guitarist and composer.

After studying chemistry at Oxford University, he became a professional musician, making his debut at the Wigmore Hall in London. His more than fifteen CDs have sold more than 30,000 copies worldwide. In addition, he has performed with other musicians including John Williams, Paco Peña and John Renbourn.

Garcia is also known as a composer, particularly for his Etudes Esquisses for guitar, GeraldGarciarecorded for Naxos Records by John Holmquist. He is musical director of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble.

Gerald Garcia lives in Oxford, where, according to his website, he enjoys “cooking, computer music, Taoist Yoga and conducting the odd chamber orchestra.”

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This beautifully studio-recorded disc from 1989 was, if I am correctly infomed, Gerald Garcia’s fifth CD for Naxos (following on from “Concierto de Aranjuez”, “Brazilian Portrait”, “Latin American Guitar Festival” and “Baroque Guitar Favourites”). It contains some of the “prettiest” music for classical guitar that I have ever heard, although I should add in the same breath that there is, in fact, no music for classical guitar at all on the disc – all the pieces here recorded are transcriptions of music for violin solo (Paganini’s Caprices), for violin and guitar (Paganini’s Grand Sonata), for piano (Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words) and for voice and piano (Schubert’s Lieder). The Paganini and Mendelssohn appear to have been transcribed by Garcia himself, whereas the Schubert was congenially adapted for the instrument by Johann Kaspar Mertz, a 19th century Bohemian guitarist. The title of the CD, “Romantic Guitar Favourites”, is therefore a complete misnomer, but that in no way affects the enjoyment to be had from listening to what, to my non-expert ears at any rate, is some excellent guitar-playing in first-rate audio quality. The notes, written by Gerald Garcia himself, are brief but informative. (Leslie Richfordon)

Gerald Garcia has made an estimable series of CDs for Naxos, and this one is no exception. He has a beautiful sound for Romantic guitar music. His tone is large, his passage work never becomes coarse or astringent, and his overall conceptions are lush sounding and warm. The Mendelssohn and Schubert transcriptions are preformed with a great deal of delicacy, almost dreamy. The two Paganini Caprices are brilliant display pieces that Garcia dispatches with style and ease. As for the Paganini Sonata, it is an engrossing work that Garcia never lets sound heavy. Add a full spectrumed sound engineering picture, and you have a very appealing album. (David Saemannon)

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Personnel:
Gerald Garcia (guitar)

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Tracklist:

Niccolò Paganini:
01 Caprice Nº91 + Caprice Nº9

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy:
02. Venetian Boat Song I (Song Without Words Op. 19 Nº 6)
03. Song Without Words, Op.19 Nº4
04. Song Without Words, Op.53 Nº4
05. Song Without Words, Op.85 Nº2
06. Song Without Words, Op.62 Nº4
07. Venetian Boat Song II (Song Without Words Op. 30 Nº 6)
08. Allegro Risoluto

Niccolò Paganini:
09. Romanza

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy:
10. Andantino Variato
11. Caprice Nº24

Franz Schubert:
12. Praise Of Tears
13. Love’s Messenger
14. Serenade
15. Delay
16. Fisher Maiden
17. The Post

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More Gerald Garcia:

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Gerald Garcia – Camerata Cassovia – Peter Breiner ‎– Baroque Guitar Favourites (1993)

FrontCover1“Baroque Guitar Favourites”: Arrangements for Guitar of Music by Antonio Vivaldi (Trio Sonatas RV 82 and RV 85; Lute Concerto RV 93; Violin Concerto RV 277) and by Johann Sebastian Bach (Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1052). All arrangements by Gerald Garcia. Performed by Gerald Garcia, guitar, and members of the Camerata Cassovia, directed by Peter Breiner. Recorded at the House of Arts in Kosice, Slovakia, in June 1990. Music notes by Gerald Garcia (not, as stated on the cover, by Keith Anderson). Released in 1992 as Naxos 8.550274. Total playing time: 75’23”.

Over the last 20 years, the Naxos label has done a great deal to obtain its reputation as one of the leading classical guitar labels. Its very first guitarist was Gerald Garcia, who was not slow to show the way forward by extending the rather limited guitar repertoire by making arrangements of pieces originally written for other instruments. This is what he has done here, too: None of the music on this disc was written for guitar, it is all arranged by Garcia himself, who plays a modern guitar and definitely not a baroque instrument. This rather makes the title of the disc a misnomer: no baroque guitar, no guitar music at all in the original, and certainly no guitar favourites as these arrangements were only made shortly before the disc was recorded! It would have been more to the point to entitle the whole: “Baroque Favourites arranged for Modern Guitar”, but I suppose the marketing strategists wouldn’t have liked that very much!

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What we do get to hear here is some very pleasant, tuneful, harmonic baroque melodies in which the part of the main soloist (lute, violin, harpsichord) is replaced by Garcia’s skilful and tasteful guitar-playing which is, in its turn, put very much in the forefront by the engineer. For the concertos, the necessary accompaniment is by the Camerata Cassovia, a chamber ensemble taken from members of the Slovak State Philharmonic of Kosice in Eastern Slovakia; the higher string parts sound quite acceptable, while I found the lower strings (the “basso continuo”) to be rather dull and uninspired. For the Bach, this continuo includes a harpsichord, providing a sonic background that does not let the listener forget that it is an arrangement of a harpsichord concerto that he is listening to. The Vivaldi trio sonatas were originally for violin, lute and continuo, and they are here played with the guitar as a suitable replacement for the lute, but with a viola d’amore in place of the violin, a decision which not only subordinates the string playing to the guitar, but which also sounds quite pleasing. Unfortunately, the strictures on the basso continuo apply here, too: Pavol Gimcik, cello, and Maria Lickova, modern harpsichord, provide nothing more than the absolutely necessary accompanying chords, so that it is definitely better to concentrate on Gerald Garcia’s delightful guitar playing.

Peter Breiner

This is definitely music that you can listen to for hours on end in the background. If you are not worried about historical authenticity and love the sound of the classical guitar, and if you are prepared to accept the rather lame continuo accompaniment, you will find this disc most enjoyable. Vivaldi’s and Bach’s music is so optimistic and so harmonically rich that it can bear any number of such arrangements. (by Leslie Richford)

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Personnel:
Gerald Garcia (guitar)
Pavol Gimcik (cello)
Maria Licková (harpsichord)
Karol Petroczi (viola d’amore)
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Camerata Cassovia conducted by Peter Breiner

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Tracklist:

Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in E Minor, RV 277, “Il Favorito”:
01. I. Allegro 5.22
02. II. Andante 5.56
03. III. Allegro 5.22

Antonio Vivaldi: Trio Sonata in C Major, RV 82:
04. I. Allegro non molto 4.05
05. II. Larghetto – Lento 4.13
06. III. Allegro 2.33

Antonio Vivaldi: Trio Sonata in G Minor, RV 85:
07. I. Andante molto 4.14
08. II. Larghetto 2.40
09. III. Allegro 2.19

Antonio Vivaldi: Lute Concerto in D Major, RV 93:
10. I. Allegro giusto 3.45
11. II. Largo 4.38
12. III. Allegro 2.31

Johann Sebastian Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052:
13. I. Allegro 9.14
14. II. Adagio 8.21
15. III. Allegro 10.10

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Gerald Garcia – Brazilian Portrait – Villa-Lobos & the Guitar Music of Brazil (1988)

FrontCover1The music which will be known to most is that by Villa-Lobos which here includes the Preludes and Choro No. 1. However the disc has much more to offer and much of it rarely played, with performances as good as these this situation should quickly change. Music by Savio, Bonf, Almeida, Machada, Baden Powell and Jobim is all beautifully played. Garcia has matured into a guitarist of stature and this is perhaps his best recording to date. – Classical Guitar – October 1990

The Five Preludes and the first Choro by Villa-Lobos are accompanied on this CD by a considerable number of Brazilian pieces of the more popular kind. That is not meant disparagingly: this is popular in the best sense, music easily accessible to untrained ears, yet good enough to be enjoyed by the most fastidious. Bonfá, Jobim, Almeida, Pernambuco, Baden-Powell and Machado fall into this category. They are well represented here. So is Isaias Savio, with a delightful Sonha laia, Seroros and the ever-popular Batucada… . The Preludes are given a good performance by Gerald Garcia. He plays all the repeats in No. 3, and manages to convince you that the exercise isn’t as boring as it looks on paper. This in itself is a rare achievement. But Garcia has always been a characterful guitarist: his musical intelligence and perception are to be treasured in an age where bland fluency seems to carry off the major prizes in international competitions… . Garcia’s own arrangements of three Brazilian children’s songs are charming, and well worth a place… . A disc of unusual interest. – Guitar International – August 1990

Gerald Garcia“Garcia’s performances are stylish and intense” – Fanfare

“all beautifully played. Garcia has matured into a guitarist of stature” – Guitar International

“Garcia has always been a characterful guitarist; his musical intelligence and perception are to be treasured… a disc of unusual interest” – Classical Guitar (UK)

BackCover1Personnel:
Gerald Garcia (guitar)

Booklet1Tracklist:

Luis Bonfá:
01. Manhã De Carnaval (Morning Of The Carnaval) 2.27
02. Passelo No Rio (Walking In Rio) 3.10

Antonio Carlos Jobim:
03. Wave 2.33
04. Samba De Avião (Airplane Samba) 3.17

Isalas Savio:
05. Sonha Ialá (Dreams Of Iaiá) 3.02
06. Serões 2.17
07. Batucada (African Dance) 3.23
08. Sonha De Magia (Dreams Of Magic) 2.50
09. Pô De Mico (Itching Powder) 3.01

Heitor Villa-Lobos:
10. Prelude 1 4.26
11. Prelude 2 2.47
12. Prelude 3 6.18
13. Prelude 4 3.58
14. Prelude 5 3.24
15. Chôro No. 1 Traditional 5.03
16. Como Pode E Peixe (How Can You Live Like The Fish) 2.15
17. Nesta Rua (In Our Street) 1.50
18. Samba Lele 1.42

Laurindo Almeida:
19. Brazilliance     3:19

Roberto Badel-Powell:
20. Retrato Brasileiro (Brazilian Portrait) 3.34
21. Deve Ser Amor (It Had To Be Love) 2.52
22. Canto De Osanha 2.48

Celso Machado:
23. Xâranga Do Vôvo 2.30

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Gerald Garcia – Latin American Guitar Festival (1990)

FrontCover1I will start this “new” blog with a fantastic piece of guitar music by Gerald Garcia:

Gerald Garcia (born 1949 in Hong Kong) is a classical guitarist and composer.

After studying chemistry at Oxford University, he became a professional musician, making his debut at the Wigmore Hall in London. His more than fifteen CDs have sold more than 30,000 copies worldwide. In addition, he has performed with other musicians including John Williams, Paco Peña and John Renbourn.

Garcia is also known as a composer, particularly for his Etudes Esquisses for guitar, GeraldGarciarecorded for Naxos Records by John Holmquist. He is musical director of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble.

Gerald Garcia lives in Oxford, where, according to his website, he enjoys “cooking, computer music, Taoist Yoga and conducting the odd chamber orchestra.”

Some quotes about this album:
Although I didn’t enjoy this disc quite as much as Garcia’s “Brazilian Festival”, I thought it was a fine recording that opened up to me new areas of repertoire at a price that I couldn’t resist. I’m not a guitarist and cannot really comment on Garcia’s achievement as a musician, but the whole came across to me as a layman as perfectly convincing. Listen especially to Piazolla’s Cinco Piezas, and there to “Acentuado”! But the Lauro, the Brouwer and the rest are definitely not to be despised either. The recording quality (made at Tonstudio van Geest in Heidelberg, Germany, 1989) is excellent, with none of the “early Naxos” problems sometimes encountered. If you are out for some relaxing, interesting guitar music, this could be for you. (by Leslie Richford)

Excellent interpretation of some famous pieces by A.Lauro.
I also warmly recommend the marvelous early composition by Brouwer, the suite No. 2 in D. (by Leslie Richford)

Listen to this wonderful album !

Personnel:
Gerald Garcia (guitar)

BackCover1Tracklist:

Antonio Lauro:
01. Maria Luisa  2.32
02. Canciòn De Cuna 1.19
03. Joropo 1.49

Jorge Morel:
04. Prelude (For Olga) 2.28
05. Danza Brasileira 2.15

Jorge Cardoso:
06. Milonga 4.09

Antonio Lauro:
07. Cororá 1.58
08. Natalia 1.50

E. Grenet (arranged by  L. Brouwer):
09. Drume Negrita     3:01

Leo Brouwer – Suite In D:
10. Preludio 2.58
11. Allegro Buriesco 1.31
12. Andantino 2.06

Heráclio Fernandez (arranged by. A. Diaz):
13.  El Diablo Duelto 2.57

Antonio Lauro:
14. Nelly 3.25

Heráclio Fernandez:
15. Alfonsina Y El Mar 4.46

Astor Plazzolla – Cinco Plezas:
16. Campero 4.36
17. Romántico 5.02
18. Acentuado 3.42
19. Tristón 4.13
20. Compadre 3.03
21. Tristón 4.13

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