Saturday, May 05, 2012

Guitar Ensemble Explores Music of Spain

HSU Guitar Ensemble explores music of the Spanish guitar from flamenco and classic sonatas by Scarlatti and Sor to Gypsy jazz of the modern era, on Saturday May 5 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The tour of Spanish guitar through time begins with folk music. Guitar Ensemble director and HSU Music professor Nicholas Lambson plays flamenco guitar, which is “essentially a style formed by Gypsies,” he explained. Then guitarist Michael Randall performs folk melodies with more modern words by Spanish poet Garcia Lorca, sung by HSU student Jo Kuzelka.

The classical era is represented by a Domenico Scarlatti sonata arranged for a trio and a sonata by one of Spain’s most famous composer for guitar, Fernando Sor, performed as a quartet. The program moves into the modern era with such landmark works as “Capricho Arabe” by Francisco Tarrega, “Asturias” and “Granada” by Issac Albeniz, and several pieces by Manuel de Falla.

This history is also assembled into one work: an exploration of the famous traditional Spanish dance called the Bolero, based on the Gypsy jazz version by Django Reinhardt. Students Daniel Fair and Kristofer Lang “spent the semester analyzing Django’s version and essentially reverse engineering it,” Lambson said. 

The piece they created is a progression of styles from the traditional Bolero to a more contemporary Gypsy jazz style. “A lot of music theory and analysis of style went into this composition, with fantastic results,” Lambson said. “They will be performing on Gypsy Jazz-style guitars like Djanjo’s, and will be improvising along the way as well.”

The Guitar Ensemble student players are: Daniel Fair, Jason Hall, Kristofer Lang, Jerry Olofsson, Michael Randall, Samuel Shalhoub, Tyler Vaughn, and Greg Willis. Michael Lewis plays flute on one selection.

HSU Guitar Ensemble performs on Saturday May 5 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7/$3, free to HSU students, from the Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Nicholas Lambson, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Arcata Eye, Humboldt State Now.

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