Classical Vienna: Music for Guitar and Piano

Classical Vienna: Music for Guitar and Piano
James Akers, romantic guitar, Gary Branch, fortepiano
Resonus RES10182. 67’47

Music by Ferdinando Carulli, Anton Diabelli, Ignaz Moscheles, Mauro Giuliani

The title of Classical Vienna is a bit misleading, and is not perhaps as you know might know it. Firstly the dates of the composers and pieces are rather late for the usual definition of the Classical period of music. Secondly, using an alternative meaning of the word ‘classical’, the combination of guitar and fortepiano is not exactly a mainstream aspect of Vienna’s musical life. For those not familiar with the sound world of period instruments, the notion of music for guitar and piano might seem bizarre. But as demonstrated on this recording, it works perfectly well. Gary Branch’s contribution to the extensive programme notes explains the history of the Viennese fortepiano and why it was suitable to balance with a guitar. Continue reading

The Soldier’s Return

The Soldier’s Return
Guitar works inspired by Scotland
James Akers
Resonus RES10165. 61’00

Music by Mauro Guiliani, Lauigi Legnani, Fernando Sor & Johann Mertz

If the composers aren’t familiar to you, some of the melodies will be in this selection of 19th century guitar pieces inspired by Scotland during the early Romantic era. Scotland was an influence to many artists and musicians of that period, famously Mendelssohn after the 1829 visit that produced the Scottish Symphony, Hebrides Overture and Fingal’s Cave. Giuliani Mauro is given most coverage, with six simple pieces, some of which are enlarged into a larger format by combining, repeating, and adding a prelude. Fellow Italian Lauigi Legnani has the most extended and elaborate pieces with his two variation sets on themes from Rossini’s opera La donna del lage, based on Sir Walter Scott’s poem on James V of Scotland. Continue reading