Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby Erik Zurcher » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:52 am

gitgeezer wrote:
Erik Zurcher wrote:First of all I only judge guitarists by seeing them live, not by recordings. I have heard many excellent classical guitarists in concert: Irina Kulikova, Pavel Steidl, Amanda Cook, Alvaro Pierri, Marcin Dylla, Rene Izquerdo, Allan Neave, Enno Voorhorst, Zoran Dukic, Roland Dyens, Ana Vidovic, Johannes Mõller. I enjoyed them all, but Matthew McAllister moved me the most.

Do you want to add Matthew McAllister to the list?


Yes please. BTW Jason Caballero should be Jorge Caballero
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"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby hoppy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:31 pm

I'll keep my vote for Brouwer if you are tallying.

I'm sorry to say I hadn't even heard of the people below (being honest). I don't doubt the intentions of their nominations or that they aren't great players, but having googled all of them I'm surprised that any of these would even be mentioned as a 4th 'giant' alongside Segovia, Bream and Williams. Lagoya seems to be the only one I should have known.

Jason Caballero
Costas Cotsiolis
Anniello Desiderio
Zoran Dukic
Zoran Goric
Stefano Grondona
Tillman Hoppstock
Alexandre Lagoya

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby zupfgeiger » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:02 pm

hoppy wrote:I'll keep my vote for Brouwer if you are tallying.

I'm sorry to say I hadn't even heard of the people below (being honest). I don't doubt the intentions of their nominations or that they aren't great players, but having googled all of them I'm surprised that any of these would even be mentioned as a 4th 'giant' alongside Segovia, Bream and Williams. Lagoya seems to be the only one I should have known.

Jason Caballero
Costas Cotsiolis
Anniello Desiderio
Zoran Dukic
Zoran Goric
Stefano Grondona
Tillman Hoppstock
Alexandre Lagoya


One is not a giant with getting 100 google matches or youtube clips. Those guys you mention are among the greatest guitarists living today, they are just less concentrated on marketing than others who are more in the spotlight. If you have heard Hoppstock or Grondona live you will judge differently.
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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby UKsteve » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:08 pm

To be a "giant" you have to cross boundaries and be generally known well outside your own field.
My wife is not a massive music fan etc. but she comes with me to concerts. She enjoys it but is not an "afficianado".
The only guitarist I have taken her to see that she had heard of in advance was John Williams. She has also heard of Segovia and Bream (but sadly, we've seen neither).
In complete contrast, I have taken her to see David Russell, Ava Vidovic, Xufei Yang and Marcin Dylla. She had no idea who any of them were in advance.

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby Tom Poore » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:10 pm

I hope Zoran Goric wins the poll. He would be the Lieutenant Kijé of guitar.

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby Mr Kite » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:12 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:One is not a giant with getting 100 google matches or youtube clips. Those guys you mention are among the greatest guitarists living today, they are just less concentrated on marketing than others who are more in the spotlight. If you have heard Hoppstock or Grondona live you will judge differently.

Dunno, I think you were right here:
zupfgeiger wrote:There are more excellent players then ever before, at least a handful are absolutely brilliant. But giants? The times of giants are long gone.

The measure of a giant is cultural impact, and as we know there is only a tenuous link between that and musical talent or technical skill.

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby zupfgeiger » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:17 pm

UKsteve wrote:To be a "giant" you have to cross boundaries and be generally known well outside your own field.
My wife is not a massive music fan etc. but she comes with me to concerts. She enjoys it but is not an "afficianado".
The only guitarist I have taken her to see that she had heard of in advance was John Williams. She has also heard of Segovia and Bream (but sadly, we've seen neither).
In complete contrast, I have taken her to see David Russell, Ava Vidovic, Xufei Yang and Marcin Dylla. She had no idea who any of them were in advance.


Well, even the greatest giant of an instrument can be the victim of ignorance. Sadly, my daughter (28) is not acquainted with classical music. Some days ago I sent her a link to Jasha Heifetz playing Bach's second movement of the double violin concerto. She liked it very much but had never heard the name.
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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby hoppy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:44 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
hoppy wrote:I'll keep my vote for Brouwer if you are tallying.

I'm sorry to say I hadn't even heard of the people below (being honest). I don't doubt the intentions of their nominations or that they aren't great players, but having googled all of them I'm surprised that any of these would even be mentioned as a 4th 'giant' alongside Segovia, Bream and Williams. Lagoya seems to be the only one I should have known.

Jason Caballero
Costas Cotsiolis
Anniello Desiderio
Zoran Dukic
Zoran Goric
Stefano Grondona
Tillman Hoppstock
Alexandre Lagoya


One is not a giant with getting 100 google matches or youtube clips. Those guys you mention are among the greatest guitarists living today, they are just less concentrated on marketing than others who are more in the spotlight. If you have heard Hoppstock or Grondona live you will judge differently.


Which one of these would you put after Bream, Williams and Segovia as the fourth giant of classical guitar?

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby gitgeezer » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:25 pm

It's time to vote!

See my new thread, "Vote for the Fourth 'Giant' of the Classical Guitar."

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby zupfgeiger » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:34 pm

None of them. Read my post above. There are no giants anymore.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain)

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby gitgeezer » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:54 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:None of them. Read my post above. There are no giants anymore.

If you are voting "none," please add your vote to the thread titled, "Vote for the Fourth Giant of the Classical Guitar."

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby ddray » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:01 am

Peter Lovett wrote:
David_Norton wrote:In the GFA's "Soundboard" magazine, Vol 37 #4 from late 2011, there is a lengthy and very detailed article by Mark Small titled In Pursuit of the New Poets: Observations on whether The Segovia Phenomenon Could Happen Again". ...

Summing up, "things are different today" than 50-60-80 years ago. Record labels are no longer "kingmakers", high-profile impresarios such as Sol Hurok or Columbia Artists Management are a thing of the past. The novelty of solo guitar playing is gone, we hear solo guitar played on countless TV programs and movies and radio jingles. Social Media is now a dominant force. People balk at the idea of "paying for music" and seek free downloads and YT videos instead. There's too much competition for people's attention spans and wallets.

Taken all together, the dominance of the Segovia-Bream-Williams troika of roughly 1950 to 1975 was a unique event, very unlikely to ever be seen again.


I really don't think anyone else will ever attain the public heights that Segovia, Bream and Williams achieved which is tragic because now, in so many ways, the technical level is way up, luthier skills are second to none and more is know about musical interpretation than ever before, but the public has moved away from accepting the instrument and there is little that can be done about that, no matter how good the player may be.
I think that's true of all the arts. Technology today is amazing, there are talented actors, musicians, directors, writers, everything. But it seems sometimes that the artistic media may be a little tired. There's too much, and after a while it becomes derivative and repetitive. To put it bluntly, in terms of the guitar, how many more recordings of the Bach "lute" pieces for example do we "need"? How are the recordings made now preferable to or somehow more "dazzling" than the ones made by Williams or Bream or Parkening? How many more "fresh" and "new" recordings of (on piano) the Goldberg Variations or Beethoven's sonatas are even possible anymore? I love classical music, love learning the guitar and playing the piano. Simply for their own sakes. Maybe there are blazing geniuses out there who will inject new life into the arts, but I think new, challenging music will be required.

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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby zupfgeiger » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:29 am

ddray wrote:To put it bluntly, in terms of the guitar, how many more recordings of the Bach "lute" pieces for example do we "need"? How are the recordings made now preferable to or somehow more "dazzling" than the ones made by Williams or Bream or Parkening? How many more "fresh" and "new" recordings of (on piano) the Goldberg Variations or Beethoven's sonatas are even possible anymore? I love classical music, love learning the guitar and playing the piano. Simply for their own sakes. Maybe there are blazing geniuses out there who will inject new life into the arts, but I think new, challenging music will be required.


I use spotify and have probably listened to most of the lute suite albums available. Each one is different from the other, some I enjoyed, some not. But all were worth listening. Particularly Bach never gets boring, be it the lute suites or the Goldberg variations. Music is an ocean and thanks to our nowadays unlimited sources we can explore more musical experiences then ever before. Of course we need more composers for the guitar and contemporary music in the repertoire. But "modernists" cannot replace the classical composers. TMHO contemporary music for the guitar is either kitsch or avandgarde. Do you really prefer Ferneyhough's Kurze Schatten II over Bach's lute suites? I don't.
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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby Peter Lovett » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:08 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
ddray wrote:To put it bluntly, in terms of the guitar, how many more recordings of the Bach "lute" pieces for example do we "need"? How are the recordings made now preferable to or somehow more "dazzling" than the ones made by Williams or Bream or Parkening? How many more "fresh" and "new" recordings of (on piano) the Goldberg Variations or Beethoven's sonatas are even possible anymore? I love classical music, love learning the guitar and playing the piano. Simply for their own sakes. Maybe there are blazing geniuses out there who will inject new life into the arts, but I think new, challenging music will be required.


I use spotify and have probably listened to most of the lute suite albums available. Each one is different from the other, some I enjoyed, some not. But all were worth listening. Particularly Bach never gets boring, be it the lute suites or the Goldberg variations. Music is an ocean and thanks to our nowadays unlimited sources we can explore more musical experiences then ever before. Of course we need more composers for the guitar and contemporary music in the repertoire. But "modernists" cannot replace the classical composers. TMHO contemporary music for the guitar is either kitsch or avandgarde. Do you really prefer Ferneyhough's Kurze Schatten II over Bach's lute suites? I don't.


I realise you are making a point, hence the somewhat extreme comparison, but there are some excellent modern compositions out there that a few decades ago would have been more widely heard but today the listening audience only wants what is familiar to them. This may be drawing a long bow but I don't think audiences today are as musically literate as they were a hundred years ago. Pre-recording to listen to music you had to go to a concert hall or family soiree and you listened to music composed relatively contemporaneously, audiences in the romantic period weren't getting all excited because Bach's Goldberg variations was on the play list. Yes, the audiences at a Beethoven recital would grumble about the young upstart and his music was not like Hayden's but they went to hear him play and later his compositions. Not today. You won't get an audience to attend, or buy, or download an album of contemporary music. A recital has to have familiar pieces (once put to me as the 3 Bs', Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) plus one or two others to get an audience. Now, only the cognoscenti will listen to the new compositions. In many respects we have gone backwards while massively improving the teaching and understanding of our favourite instrument.
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Re: Only Three Giants of the Classical Guitar?

Postby goldenoldie » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:40 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:I use spotify and have probably listened to most of the lute suite albums available. Each one is different from the other, some I enjoyed, some not. But all were worth listening. Particularly Bach never gets boring, be it the lute suites or the Goldberg variations. Music is an ocean and thanks to our nowadays unlimited sources we can explore more musical experiences then ever before. Of course we need more composers for the guitar and contemporary music in the repertoire. But "modernists" cannot replace the classical composers. TMHO contemporary music for the guitar is either kitsch or avandgarde. Do you really prefer Ferneyhough's Kurze Schatten II over Bach's lute suites? I don't.


Spot on. I only have 4 dedicated lute suite CD sets (4 guitar, one lute), and also some of these works are on harpsichord and lautenwerck reconstructions. I, too, am never tired of them.

OTOH, I have 16 WTC sets and 25 Goldberg CDs—all on harpsichord. Bach is the way home :-)

John Williams' musicianship is absolutely mainstream. His recordings and live performances of Bach are confident, polished and engaging—exactly the kind of attention drawn by mainstream Bach performers such as Pierre Hantai, Kenneth Gilbert, and Gustav Leonhardt. Williams is in this league. I am not convinced that any others in the list are.


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