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Classical 101

Mandolin Virtuoso Chris Thile Plays Bach

Chris Thile

Mandolin player, singer, songwriter Chris Thile is best-known as a founding member of the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek and for the quintet, Punch Brothers, where he gets to amply demonstrate his dazzling virtuosity.

He has extended that ability on his instrument to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach by recording his arrangements of Bach's Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas, works considered the summit of the solo violin literature.  On the next Fretworks, I'll have Chris Thile's performance of the Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor.

Heitor Villa-Lobos was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1887 and is that country's most important classical music composer.  He wrote a series of nine pieces for various combinations of instruments he called Bachianas Brasileiras, inspired by both the Baroque style of J.S. Bach and the native music of Brazil. Unique, enjoyable and very interesting music, in other words.

Villa-Lobos also composed one of the most popular guitar concertos for the great Andres Segovia.  Segovia was the soloist for the premier in Houston, Texas in February of 1956 with the composer conducting the Houston Symphony Orchestra.  I'll have a recent release from Naxos called "Villa-Lobos, The Guitar Manuscripts, Vol. 1," featuring Italian guitarist Andrea Bissoli with the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra from the state in East Brazil.

Irish flutist James Galway teamed up with Japanese guitarist Kazuhito Yamashita in the 1980's for a fine recording from RCA called "Italian Serenade," that featured works by Giuliani, Cimarosa, Rossini, Bazzini, and Niccolo Paganini.  On the next program, we'll hear them play Paganini's Sonata Concertata.

Join me for music of the classical guitar, and mandolin this week, on Fretworks Saturday and Wednesday evening at 7 on Classical 101.