Vida Quartet and the National Youth Guitar Ensemble


Some news of the NYGE’s forthcoming concert with the VIDA Guitar Quartet. The concert is taking place at the beautiful Menuhin Hall, Surrey on Monday 21st April, 7pm. The venue is a 5 minute taxi ride from Cobham train station. This event is free for children (accompanied by an adult).

Monday 21st April – 7.00pm

The Menuhin Hall

Stoke D’Abernon, KT11 EQQ

Brighten up your Easter bank holiday with a concert performed by twenty six of the UK’s most talented guitarists and the critically acclaimed VIDA Guitar Quartet. The concert programme directed by Gerald Garcia, will include works for guitar ensemble and quartet by composers including Arensky, Arnold, Borodin, Garcia, Gershwin and Mussorgsky. Fresh from their American tour, the VIDA guitar quartet will also be performing pieces from their new album ‘Rhapsody’.
Tickets: £10 (Conc. £8) and FREE for Under 18s with an accompanied adult.

Box Office: NYGE Co-ordinator: Tel. 07761 425405

“The young musicians (NYGE) were really outstanding. The pieces played were diverse and complicated, ranging from beautiful to playful, and were all pulled off with great skill.”

Daily Info, Oxford


Stepan Rak: live concert playing his own music

selftaughtgirl’s recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980′s.
Rak: Remembering Prague, Voces de Profundis, & Danza Mauretana
Extraordinary techniques and unbridled enthusiasm.
I had lunch with Stepan and his son in Prague in the 80s, and they surprised me with a wild Russian song during dessert! Great laughs and bonhomie…

Stepan Rak: studio concert playing Matejka and Rak

selftaughtgirl’s recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980′s.
Matejka: Andante, Rondo Capriccioso (Sonata in D)
Rak: Czech Fairy Tales

Roberto Aussel: live concert playing Lauro, Brouwer, & Rodrigo

selftaughtgirl’s recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980′s.
Lauro: Variations on a Childern’s Song
Brouwer: Guajira Criolla and Danza Characteristica

Leo Brouwer: live at 1979 Eztergom Festival playing Weiss, Joplin, Brouwer, & Falla

selftaughtgirl’s recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980′s

Weiss: Sarabande
Joplin: Elite Syncopation
Brouwer: Danza Altiplana, Cradle Song
Joplin: The Entertainer
Falla: Danza del Corregidor
Brouwer: Study #6

It was around this time I went to the ORTF summer school in Arles instigated by Robert Vidal - heady days. We studied modern music (aleatoric and otherwise) with Leo in the morning and Baroque ornamentation with him in the afternoon. We were also part of his ensemble playing a piece by Juan Blanco. Other attendees included Ichiro Suzuki, a very young Costas Cotsiolis, Forbes Henderson, John Taylor, Raymond Couste, Alison Bendy, Steve Wingfield, Ben Verderey and many more.
At Arles I first heard the music of Bussotti, Mestres Quadreny, Ohana and of course, Brouwer, whose Canticum, Espiral Eterna and Parabola I played regularly in the late 70s and 80s. I wonder if there are some photos of the occasion. In the following year, I travelled again to Arles with John Williams.

Leo Brouwer, as he was when we first met

Brouwer at West Dean in 2009
Brouwer 2009

A new (European) small step toward getting instruments on planes

Slipped Disc reports:

A new small step to getting instruments on planes

February 10, 2014 by  

The European Parliament has voted to oblige airlines to allow musicians to carry small instruments on board and larger ones in the hold. The proposal has to be approved by the European Council before it acquires force of law, and I cannot see budget airlines like Ryanair allowing it to happen without hidden penalties. Or stop bucket shops like the Iberia subsidiary from forcing the Voce quartet  to remove instruments from their cases.

Full article here


The elephant in the room


The ever watchful Norman Lebrecht (Follow him on FB:Facebook and on Twitter@NLebrecht) of Slipped Disc has found more bad news for musicians wanting to enter the USA:

A federal regulation on ivory imports came into force on February 25. It applies to ivory used in musical instruments.
Worked African elephant ivory imported as part of a musical instrument will continue to be allowed provided the worked ivory was legally acquired prior to February 26, 1976; the worked elephant ivory has not subsequently been transferred from one person to another person in pursuit of financial gain or profit; and the item is accompanied by a valid CITES musical instrument passport.
What this means is that every string player who has a small piece of ivory in their bow will need to get a passport for each instrument and bow. Every time you buy a new bow, you will need to register it and pay a $75 fee.

Read more…

There’s a Menuhin Test?!

Having spent some time with child prodigy guitarists in China, the following article in the Spectator struck a resonant chord with me – probably putting a strain on my own sense of loyalty as well as East-West relationships!
NYGE is also no stranger to the Yehudi Menuhin School (which has a similar background ethos to the Menuhin Test). As well as using the school for our courses and concerts, we have also had talented musicians from its students.

‘The truth is,’ says Gordon Back (the legendary accompanist for Yehudi Menuhin) , lowering his voice, ‘that if the violin finalists from the BBC Young Musician of the Year were to enter the Menuhin Competition, they wouldn’t make it to the first round.’ Not through the first round, note, but to the first round: they wouldn’t be good enough to compete.

Back is artistic director of the Menuhin, held every two years in a different country. In effect, it’s a search for the next Yehudi Menuhin, who recorded the Elgar concerto with the composer at the age of 15.

Contentious words and I often wonder about why Eastern musicians have taken so readily to Western classical music. It isn’t a question of lack of cultural background either.

Here’s an interesting story…
and here’s an article on (mis)appropriation to stir your little grey cells this Sunday morning.

Carlos Bonell: live concert playing Sor, Villa-Lobos, Tedesco, Granados, Rodrigo, & Malats

selftaughtgirl’s recording of a radio broadcast of a lunchtime recital from St George’s, Bristol, UK, by Carlos Bonell in the late 1980s early 90s.
Sor: Andante Largo Op 5, Variations on “Marlborough s’en va t’en guerre” Op 28
Villa-Lobos: Study No 11 and Prelude No 5
Tedesco: Sonata “Homage a Boccherini”
Granados: La Maja de Goya
Rodrigo: Fandango
Malats: Serenata Espanola

Here’s a video of Carlos with Paul McCartney discussing the origin of “Blackbird”!
Nice one, Sir Paul!

Jukka Savijoki: studio concert playing Mertz and Weiss

More archives from self-taughtgirl‘s recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980s of a studio concert by Jukka Savijoki.
Mertz: An Melvina, Romanza, Lied ohne Worte, Scherzo (all from Bardenklange)
Weiss: Suite in A