29 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Here Sharon Isbin follows her lifelong passion for folk music on an engaging artistic sojourn that spans four centuries and an ocean. The journey begins with a stately quartet of Isbin-arranged Renaissance lute works and spirited performances of the familiar English traditionals "The Drunken Sailor" and "Wild Mountain Thyme." But it’s Isbin’s admiration of American folk legend Joan Baez (whom the guitarist touts as her first musical hero) and country fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor that inspire the album’s accomplished focal points. John Duarte’s "Joan Baez Suite" was arranged specifically for Isbin, and the guitarist’s world-premiere recording here emphasizes the subtle, sophisticated contours of the folksinger’s muse, before Baez herself takes a welcome guest turn on the melancholy "Go ‘Way from My Window." The album’s historical/artistic arc concludes with a spirited delight: O’Connor’s expansive "Strings & Threads Suite" (in another premiere recording), where Isbin alternately backs O’Connor’s own sprightly fiddle playing and bridges the country-classical gap with her fleet fretwork.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Here Sharon Isbin follows her lifelong passion for folk music on an engaging artistic sojourn that spans four centuries and an ocean. The journey begins with a stately quartet of Isbin-arranged Renaissance lute works and spirited performances of the familiar English traditionals "The Drunken Sailor" and "Wild Mountain Thyme." But it’s Isbin’s admiration of American folk legend Joan Baez (whom the guitarist touts as her first musical hero) and country fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor that inspire the album’s accomplished focal points. John Duarte’s "Joan Baez Suite" was arranged specifically for Isbin, and the guitarist’s world-premiere recording here emphasizes the subtle, sophisticated contours of the folksinger’s muse, before Baez herself takes a welcome guest turn on the melancholy "Go ‘Way from My Window." The album’s historical/artistic arc concludes with a spirited delight: O’Connor’s expansive "Strings & Threads Suite" (in another premiere recording), where Isbin alternately backs O’Connor’s own sprightly fiddle playing and bridges the country-classical gap with her fleet fretwork.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
24 Ratings
24 Ratings
Boolez

A change of pace for Isbin

I confess for not being a fan of Joan Baez but she appears for only a bit. This is overall nice folk arrangments of origional and traditional tunes. The O'Connor Isbin duo at the end is a real winner. I told myself I wasn't going to like this experiment but it grew on me and have no hesitations recommending it to others. Fine playing all around.

billy102

wonderful

so relaxing and clean sounding. i love it.

Definitive_Reviewer

Great classical music

One of the better classical albums I've seen, well played and recorded in good sound this is one of those albums that anyone can appreciate, not just classical fans.

About Sharon Isbin

Described by Boston Globe's Michael Manning as a musician who plays "beyond virtuosity," guitarist Sharon Isbin has been a consistent challenge for critics, who struggle to find the right superlative that would do justice to her exquisite playing. "In her hands," wrote Anne Midgette in The New York Times, the guitar takes on the precision of a diamond, each note a clear, shining facet that catches, prism-like, a glimpse of the spectrum." In essence, a performance by Isbin is like a painting by Vermeer: a formally impeccable and inexhaustible work of art. A Renaissance woman of the guitar, Isbin performs worldwide at famous venues, commissions new works from distinguished American composers (more than any other guitarist) for her instruments, collaborates with a wide variety of musicians, and indefatigably searches for new music to play. As a child, Isbin wanted to be scientist, like her father. However, she started guitar lessons at the age of nine (the family was living in Italy at that time) and found her vocation. Her teachers included Andrés Segovia and harpsichordist Rosalyn Tureck. With Tureck, Isbin worked on the first performance edition, for guitar, of J. S. Bach's Lute Suites. This project eventually resulted in a critically acclaimed disc. In 1989, Isbin founded the guitar department at the Juilliard School of Music and became that institution's first professor of guitar. Isbin's recordings have consistently been assessed as groundbreaking musical events. In 1995, her disc, the first ever, of an American guitar concert, was presented to a Russian cosmonaut during a rendez vous between the space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian spaceship Mir. Journey to the Amazon, performed with Brazilian percussionist Thiago de Mello and saxophonist Paul Winter, earned Isbin a Grammy nomination in 1999. She received a Grammy in 2001 for her Dreams of a World: Folk-Inspired Music for Guitar. Significantly, this was a first classical guitar Grammy in 28 years. In 2002, Isbin got another Grammy, for an extraordinary performance of concerti by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun. The concerti featured in this world premiere disc were dedicated to Isbin. Spanning various styles, genres, and periods, Isbin's other recordings include Aaron Jay Kernis' Double Concerto (with violinist Cho-Liang Lin), Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjues, and Sharon Isbin Plays Baroque Favorites for Guitar. The last-named album features a truly astounding performance of a transcription of Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor. ~ Zoran Minderovic

BORN
August 7, 1956

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