James Joyce’s guitar chord

Continuing my occasional foray into the guitar in literature, here is a famous picture of the author of “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake” presumably trying out a tune before a session (or maybe about to smash the guitar in frustration). In fact, Joyce was reputed to have had a fine tenor voice, and the singer John McCormack offered to teach him, encouraging him to take music as a career.

The original photo, taken by Ottocaro Weiss ,a friend who was “scandalized” by Joyce’s guitar playing, is housed in Cornell’s James Joyce collection, in an exhibit in a glass closet titled “Poetry and Music.”


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The Poised Guitarist

My first experience of mapping was failing to connect with a bar stool which wasn’t where I thought it was. Many of us have a misconception of how our joints connect and where an action starts from. The Alexander teacher Barbara Conable has done extensive research and written books on the subject of body mapping.

A while ago I wrote an article about focal dystonia and mentioned Jerald Harscher, a guitarist and teacher with whom I had an enlightening session on Skype (even though I was beginning to feel self conscious about the spelling of my name when talking to him.)

China Sings! Kuang Junhong and the Iserlohn Festival Orchestra

It was an exciting occasion – the world premier of the first two movements of my concerto “China Sings” – Kuang Junhong played with great delicacy and fiery virtuosity, and the orchestra was superb. Watch this space for all three movements with symphony orchestra.
Iserlohn Festival Orchestra

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Las Meninas Bailan video plus

A couple of videos – the first is the rehearsal of my piece for Organ and Guitar Quartet played by Tobias Aehlig, the Amadeus Duo and the Gruber Maklar Duo. This is in the Oberstdat Church in Iserlohn – sorry the video content is boring, but it is more or less what the audience was looking at! Las Meninas Bailan refers to the famous painting by Velasquez and is a depiction of what happens below stairs! The main theme is a Spanish Christmas Carol, “Riu, riu, chiu” from the Cancionero de Uppsala manuscript.

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David Russell’s Tips for Guitarists

While I was looking for David’s video of “My Gentle Harp”, I came across his site and David Russell’s Tips for Guitarists which been around for a while, but it took me ages to discover them – they are very simple and wise, and cover a surprising amount of ground with good humour and grounded common sense. I hope you will find these tips from an experienced musician who is also a great artist and human being helpful. Continue reading