After a little break in the workshop Muriel Anderson did at Keith Holland Guitars on August 15, 2015, one of the attendees, Gretchen Menn was practicing Leo Brouwer’s Etude #6 and Muriel sat down to listen, then offer some advice on improving it.
Muriel had some suggestions that Gretchen implemented immediately. The video crew was a little late to the party but captured the end of Gretchen’s piece along with all of Muriel’s input.
Gretchen is well known in many rock and metal circles, particularly as part of the band Zepparella. Be sure to check her website gretchenmenn.com. Muriel’s entire 2015 Workshop is available as part of the Target Program at TotallyGuitars.com.
In early August, 2015 I had the great pleasure of visiting with Muriel Anderson at Oak Beach, near Fire Island in New York. My wife Nani and I spent a couple days with Muriel and our host Bryan Allen sailing, swimming, and all round relaxing. Just before heading back to our temporary digs in Brooklyn we sat down for a little musical discussion.
I didn’t really have a plan as to the direction we might go but we talked about her harp guitar, she played a few songs, went through her upcoming West Coast itinerary, and even compared notes on composing. It was particularly a treat to hear some works in progress.
In Part 1 Muriel played View From Space, featuring arpeggiated harmonics under a gentle melody, along with a new ragtime piece, A Fine Pickle.
The recent lesson that Vanessa did on My Immortal reminded me of a video I shot about four years ago with a couple of my teenage students. I had not really had much contact with either of them for a few years until Ryan came by for a visit recently. One of the things we talked about was the time when he and Paris collaborated on this beautiful piece.
I got back in touch with Paris and both kids (well, now young adults) agreed they would like to see the video again and posting it here at TG was fine. I believe they were in ninth grade when we shot this and they are both done with high school now.
In early 1965 Brian Wilson stopped touring with the Beach Boys in order to concentrate on writing and recording. The first album from this next phase was Pet Sounds, an album not well received immediately by the public but now considered a historic masterpiece.
God Only Knows is a beautiful collaboration from Brian Wilson and Tony Asher that combined unusual chord inversions and tonal centers (what key was that?), with a tear-jerking vocal from Carl Wilson. This arrangement tries to bring as much as possible of the original parts into a coherent solo guitar piece. It always comes out a little different but here is how it went in July, 2015.
One of the most recognized classical guitar pieces of the last 50 years, Cavatina started out as a short piano piece by English composer Stanley Myers. In 1970 John Williams encouraged Stanley to stretch it out and they put together an orchestra version with two guitars. It was first recorded for Williams’ 1971 album, Changes, and was used as a theme in the movie The Walking Stick in 1970. The movie The Deer Hunter then used the song as its main theme in 1978, launching the piece into the mainstream. Almost every classical guitar player since then has worked on playing the solo version, mostly as arranged and performed by John Williams.
After unexplainedly neglecting this beautiful piece for all these years, I finally figured I should put together a lesson on it for Totally Guitars. With some assistance and advice from my old friend John Dimick, I took most of John Williams’ fingerings and changed or modified a few for various reasons that I go into in the lesson.
Here is what I really consider a rough draft of Cavatina as I am still exploring fingering options and overall tone and continuity. I have a feeling this will always somewhat be a work in progress, or maybe a work in evolution.
Completing this series of Waltzes by Antonio Lauro, we have the last of the four. This one is more dissonant and dynamic than the other three, and not as commonly played or heard. I tend to take this slower than most of the versions I have heard as it is easy to lose the beauty and spirit of the melodies when played quickly.
Continuing our series of classical pieces played on the steel-string guitar, we have the third Venezuelan Waltz by Antonio Lauro. This one is also known as Natalia and is probably the most recorded and well-known.