Magical Performances from OMNI Foundation

One of the positive things to emerge from the pandemic has been the OMNI Foundation’s pairing of world class filming with world class guitarists from all over the world. I wanted to highlight a few of these OMNI on Location Series performances which I’ve listened to multiple times for their displays of stunning musicality, virtuosity, and beauty.

Alberto Mesirca plays Regondi

Carlotta Dalia playing Rodrigo, Scarlatti, and Piazzolla

Kristina Varlid plays Theodoroudis, Vasks, and Rodrigo

Great Marco Tamayo Interview on Tonebase YouTube

I just stumbled upon Tonebase‘s Marco Tamayo interview as it was live the other day (lucky me!) and thought I would share it here since there is so much valuable insight from one of the guitar world’s most gifted artists. As many of you already know, Marco’s command of the guitar is legendary. He is also a gifted educator who teaches at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. I’d also recommend checking out his technique videos on Tonebase (and if you use the code SSJ-30 you’ll receive 30% a subscription to all of their guitar videos after the free trial period).

Mateusz Kowalski plays Bach, Tárrega, and Ravel

Brilliant rising star of the guitar world, Mateusz Kowalski, just released a magical rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze from Cantata, BWV208 and is about to release two wonderfully produced videos to bring in the New Year. Six String Journal is offering a preview here as a short recital to inspire those New Year resolutions.

In case you missed it, here is Six String Journal’s Interview and Artist Profile with Mateusz.

Enjoy!

Johann Sebastian Bach Sheep May Safely Graze from Cantata, BWV208

Francisco Tárrega Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Maurice Ravel Pavane pour une infante défunte

33 Ways to Improve Ears, Fingers, and Fingerboard Familiarity

Moveable Scale Forms for Development

by Leo Garcia

After watching Eliot Fisk demonstrate all of these, I thought I would write them out and share them with students. I have to confess that although I practiced scales religiously (and still do) I rarely ever went through modes. There are many reasons to work on these though: ear training, technique development, and for fingerboard familiarity.

The first form has the root starting on string 3, the second form has the root starting on string 4 and the third form works for both strings 5 or 6. Two-octave forms can easily be assembled by combining two forms. Scale diagrams have been included as I find them extremely helpful for visualizing the pattern as it falls on the fretboard.

There are 33 forms ahead, better get started. : )

For a pdf click here: Moveable Scale Forms











Here are some more resources for scale practice:


Leo’s Scale Book: https://sixstringjournal.podia.com/si…

More Guitar Publications: https://sixstringjournal.podia.com/

More Publications: https://sixstringjournal.com/music/

Leo’s YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/c/LeonardoGarciaguitar

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Leo Garcia plays Sonata in A Minor, K.175 by Scarlatti


Ever since hearing Eliot Fisk’s recording of this sonata, I’ve wanted to learn it. I tried Eliot’s brilliant transcription years ago but my smaller hands couldn’t even play it poorly. Then a good friend showed me French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau’s version and it rekindled the desire to learn it. This edition was transcribed by the Spanish guitarist Marcos Díaz, which is a bit more tame of a transcription but nonetheless it retains a good amount of substance on the guitar. I’ve changed some minor things that work better for my hands and for my ear. The manic quality of this sonata is another glimpse into Domenico Scarlatti’s fertile musical mind. It conjures images of chaos, bliss, seriousness, dementia, and lots of emotions that I cannot pinpoint. A bit trippy. : )

Leo Garcia plays Villa-Lobos Prelude Nº1

This is the first of five wonderful preludes by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. With his gift for sorrowful lyrical melodies to the rhythmic and joyful interlude with its changing meters and Spanish flair, Villa Lobos creates a true guitar masterpiece which fully exploits the richness, emotional depth, and colors of the guitar. Hope you enjoy it.

Carlotta Dalia plays Schubert’s Ständchen

One of Italy’s rising guitar virtuosas, Carlotta Dalia, plays Mertz’s arrangement of Schubert’s Ständchen. Producer Open Strings Berlin manages to align all the the stars: Carlotta’s sublime artistry, a forest in Berlin, the magnificent guitar, and beautiful camera work.

Leo Garcia plays Sonata in E Major, K.380 by Domenico Scarlatti

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) wrote over 500 sonatas for harpsichord. Fortunately, many have been arranged and transcribed for guitar and many await transcription. During 2020 and 2021 I found myself in the Scarlatti rabbit hole. I listened to hundreds of them, read through ones that I thought might work that to my knowledge had not been transcribed, transcribed many for solo and duo guitar, learned too many to keep track of, and am still learning. They captivate my imagination and they teach me a lot about myself and my playing.

Sonata in E Major, K.380 is, perhaps, one of Scarlatti’s most famous sonatas. With its march-like rhythm to the emerging beautiful lyrical lines, Scarlatti’s boundless imagination sparkles. I used a combination of editions (but primarily Manuel Barrueco’s) and the original score to find a version that works for my hands. Hope you enjoy it.

And as a bonus, while researching some of the sonatas, I came across this hilarious article ranking the Sonatas. : )

New CD Review – Yuri Liberzon plays Konstantin Vassiliev, Guitar Works 1

Virtuoso guitarist, Yuri Liberzon, has just released a wonderful recording dedicated to the works of Russian composer Konstantin Vassiliev. On first listen, it is evident that there is a current of very high quality running through this recording – the music is played with the usual high musical standard I have come to expect from Yuri (and on a few tracks by his Duo Equilibrium partner, Patrick O’Connell) and recorded masterfully by Norbert Kraft on the NAXOS label. If you are not familiar with Vassiliev’s compositions for guitar, the selected pieces from the project span over 20 years of stylistically-diverse musical output and states a strong case for including Konstantin Vassiliev compositions in the modern guitar compositional canon.

The CD opens with Vassiliev’s Hommage a Tom Jobim. A great opener, the three movement piece evokes the spirit of Jobim’s music with Brazilian grooviness, rich harmonies, and an ample assortment of percussive effects. Yuri’s flexible technique makes all of it sound so natural that it is easy to forget you are listening to just one guitar. The middle movement Contemplación, with it’s meditative melodic quality allows Yuri’s expressivity to shine through.

photo credit: Jon McCormack

In both Cavatina and A Rose in the Snow (written for Yuri), Vassiliev’s use of jazz harmonies is magical and thoroughly convincing. Yuri’s crisp and clear sound portrays the soundscapes openly and without pretension. The earliest work on the CD, Fatum, was one of my favorites. Perhaps a bit more of an emotionally-laden piece, the themes woven through the piece are masterfully enveloped with rich counterpoint, canonic echos, and evocative elaborations, and clearly point to the fact that Vassiliev’s compositional talents were firmly in place decades ago. This work also highlights some of the qualities I admire most in Yuri’s playing, namely, his sense of pace and rhythm. The arc of the work is masterfully revealed only as Yuri can do.

Another wonderful composition is A Wanderer in Time. The emotions Vassiliev captures throughout the piece, from sadness to hope, is a testament to his ability to let a story unfold. Obrio and Two Russian Pieces were ear-opening and an effective way to guide the project to an end by adding another guitar. Yuri and Patrick complement each other well throughout these technically demanding pieces.

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a recording from beginning to end of a composer’s music that I am not very familiar with and found this particular CD particularly compelling. It is no wonder why other notable players like Carlo Marchione and Roman Viazovskiy champion his music. Give this a listen, Yuri’s playing is fantastic and the music is wonderful.