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Album Review

Because of flamenco and other folk forms, the guitar has a special place in Spanish music's heritage. The irony is that not a single note on this disc was written for the guitar; originally, it was all piano music. Julian Bream transcribed it for the guitar himself, and even though everything on this album has been incorporated into the double volume Ultimate Guitar Collection, this disc still stands out as one of the greatest classical guitar recordings of all time. One obvious reason is the music, which is passionate and poetic. But the importance of the music may actually be eclipsed by two more specific factors: the recording and Bream's guitar range. Every tonal nuance is audible and, as a whole, it all sounds as if it's in the room with you, even on less than great equipment. The nuances which Bream coaxes out of his guitar are breathtaking. Every possible sound available to the classical guitarist is there, from rings, to buzzes, vinegary noises, violin-like pizzicatti, and some sounds that are indescribable. Bream uses these to stunning effect in creating a separation between the melody and the basslines, and more, in creating a kind of poetic phrasing that makes the music speak like an orator. Any track could serve as an example, such as Granados' "Danza Española No. 5," which alternates between tense (buzzing color) and wistful (chiming); it comes from flamenco roots (growling chords) and seems to lead up to tango (clear accents). There are a lot of proficient classical guitarists out there, but Julian Bream is one of the few who seems to understand that the purpose of proficiency is to simultaneously engage the mind and the passions.


Born: 15 July 1933 in Battersea, England

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Proclaimed by many students of classical music as the premier guitar and lute virtuoso of the 20th century, Julian Bream was born in London in 1933. After studying at the Royal College of Music, he made his public debut in 1950, quickly winning fame for his technique and mastery of a wide range of musical styles. In 1960, he founded the Julian Bream Consort, an ensemble of original instrument virtuosi which enjoyed astounding success in their chosen oeuvre, greatly revitalizing interest in the music...
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  • 15,99 €
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: 1982

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