A little test

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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A little test

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:18 pm

I was recently sent this link in an email simply headed, "Bizarre" :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JewhsH ... MDAzMjAxNw

The sender couldn't understand why the guitarist is considered, as he put it, "a PROPER player."

Now - I don't want to get involved in a discussion of Mr. Fletcher's work in general - I have never seen him perform elsewhere and he obviously has some facility; but how does one politely explain something like this to an aspiring student, himself working hard in order to execute the work correctly?

A few measures are all that's required to comprehend his consternation but I wonder what everyone else thinks? Is Bach performed in this manner the norm? I certainly wouldn't allow any of my students to get away with it, yet the guys at GSI apparently hear nothing wrong - after all they're happy enough to append their name to the video. So how far do we trust their critical judgement?

Does everyone hear it and if so do you find this kind of loose "interpretation" acceptable in a professional performance?

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: A little test

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:30 pm

His tone is poor, his timing in several places fore-shortens the bar. I've not seen or heard of the player before, and am surprised indeed that the video was released. Perhaps he has some hold over GSI.
If a player delivered that performance at a summer school masterclass, I think the audience would assume he was a keen amateur, perhaps aiming for a diploma. Such a performance may be the norm among players of that level of experience, not among those who normally get to grace the scene at that particular shop.
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Re: A little test

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:40 pm

Sorry but it's a very harsh sound. I didn't get half way through the video. If I was the maker of that guitar I'd be livid.

Pat Dodson
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Re: A little test

Post by Pat Dodson » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:44 pm

A different interpretation :

Jason Vieaux live


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Re: A little test

Post by David_Norton » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:13 pm

I think my esteemed English friends have had too cold of a winter.

I could only wish that I could, or every DID, play so "poorly" as Mr. Fletcher.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: A little test

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:21 pm

David_Norton wrote:I think my esteemed English friends have had too cold of a winter.

I could only wish that I could, or every DID, play so "poorly" as Mr. Fletcher.
Not really David, its been quite mild (but I am quite near the south coast!). The point, obviously, is that this player is being filmed at GSI, and in that is among wonderful company. If you played that well in a video or audio submission here, we would be encouraging your efforts, while not recommending it to our students for a model or to potential customers of the luthier as an example of tone. Is all.
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Re: A little test

Post by lucy » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:46 pm

I agree his tone is extremely poor. He also seems a little shaky, rhythmically, but, does Bach have to be played quite so rigidly anyway? I'm not after a big discussion on this btw!! I'm aware people have different opinions on this!

For me, his tone quality is the worst aspect of this. However, a quick Google search will reveal he gives about 100 concerts a year, including a performance in the Weill concert hall. Evidently, enough people like how he plays.
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Re: A little test

Post by Mr Kite » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:14 pm

Disjointed would be my word for it.

I would be disappointed if I paid money to listen to this, but in a funny way, also encouraged. He's a pro and he's not really all that unimaginably I-could-never-do-that-if-I-practised-all-day-for-a-hundred-years amazing. I'm not in awe, he seems like an ordinary mortal. Good to know.

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Isabelle Frizac
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Re: A little test

Post by Isabelle Frizac » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:19 pm

A prelude is also made to play "rubato".

There is no breathing between phrases.

I feel this guitarist is in a hurry to finish his piece (he may have made several recordings before), and the guitar does not seem to please him much.
Technically, the whole is very correct. It's clean.

It 's just my impression.
Last edited by Isabelle Frizac on Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A little test

Post by BellyDoc » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:44 pm

The most disturbing lesson for me here is how underequipped I am to evaluate these musicians. I watched both the Fletcher video above and the Vieaux video below, and then listened to them both again without watching. All the things I'm trying to learn about in my studies are there.

I'm going to accept that the consensus is that there are aspects left wanting in the first performance, that with time I may be able to identify for myself. However, until then, I will be forced to merely enjoy the musical window into the musician and into the past to the composer. For the time being, ignorance serves me. ;)

I have to wonder, though... I can detect a type of tonal difference between these two recordings immediately. To my ear, the microphone sounds closer to the first performer. I can hear small sounds that I don't detect in the second recording. I hear what I believe may be the almost imperceptible contact of the nail to the string before the note is struck. I certainly hear what sounds like the artist's breathing. Neither are audible on the second recording. In the second recording, I believe I can hear reverberation suggestive of a more voluminous recording venue, more distance between the artist and microphone, and less intensive volume dynamics as a result.

Is there a possibility that a less-than-stellar recording set up has muddied the musical waters? I ask this in genuine interest.
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Sharon Vizcaino
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Re: A little test

Post by Sharon Vizcaino » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:28 pm

Much like BellyDoc I can't properly evaluate him myself. I will say that it sounded nothing like Bach to me, though, and that his loud breathing is distracting. They really need to find a better way to record those guitars. A lot of the GSI videos have the same problem about the breathing. I wonder where they're placing the mic. They're not the only ones with problems like these, though. I reacted very much like everyone in this thread after hearing a performance of Estudio Sin Luz from the SiccasGuitars channel. It certainly made me feel a lot more confident in my own choppy performance...
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Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: A little test

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:38 pm

I'm pleased to see Jason Vieaux has the music on a stand in front of him...and it detracts not one whit from his wonderful smooth performance. Although I wonder how he sees through his hair...
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Re: A little test

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:43 pm

Okay, so you come across a video on youtube played by someone whom you do not know, and then you post it here apparently to publicly shame and humiliate the player. And then you ask how to "politely" explain the existence of said video to an aspiring student. I would think that being "polite" would include not making a post such as this.

Nonetheless, this reminds me of that old saying, "Don't believe everything you hear/read". The same principle applies to videos: there are an awful lot of videos of guitarists on youtube, and some of the players are obviously going to be more accomplished than others, and so a person has to employ some critical thinking and judgement before assuming that they ought to follow every example they see, in the same way that a person ought not to believe everything they hear/read. Maybe you could say that to your aspiring students.

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Re: A little test

Post by Luuttuaja » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:50 pm

For me, the most distubing thing was the nasal bass sound. Also, the player makes some of the phrases almost unrecognizable and seems to lose the rhythm. But I also have to say that there are elements in his playing that I'm happy if I ever reach that level. Most of us don't have the talent to become the next Jason Vieaux anyway.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: A little test

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:10 pm

A few quite harsh comments on here.

For a start, the close mic position can make an enormous difference. Record the same player from a few feet back and the nail sound would disappear. I get the feeling that his sound will project. Some players with very refined and pure tone cannot project their sound across a hall at all, which I think is an important aspect of performance.

He takes liberties, but is obviously technically accomplished.

Eliot Fisk has made a whole career taking greater liberties, and having imo a worse sound.

Perhaps some critics would like to post a video of themselves playing Bach; but it must be in one take, and no reverb added.
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