Friday, February 13, 2009

Leo Brouwer's Concertos for Guitar Are Among Those Neglected by Symphonies

[Leo Brouwer, Afro-Cuban Composer and Classical Guitarist]

James McQuillen argues that symphony performances of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez come at the expense of a great many excellent concertos for guitar, such as those of the Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.
by James McQuillen, Special to The Oregonian 
Sunday February 08, 2009, 3:20 PM
Given that classical guitarists rarely turn up on the average symphony program, and given also that Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concerto de Aranjuez" is unquestionably a masterpiece, it would be churlish to complain about a guitarist joining the Oregon Symphony for the "Concerto de Aranjuez," right? Maybe so, but I'd like to register a complaint on behalf of the rest of the repertoire.

When orchestras engage guitarists, there's a pretty good chance they'll perform Rodrigo. True, the last time Christopher Parkening came to Portland, he didn't play the "Concerto de Aranjuez" -- he played the second-favorite Rodrigo warhorse, the "Fantasia para un gentilhombre." Symphony people, there are plenty of guitar concertos out there crying for your attention. The Cuban composer Leo Brouwer has written nearly a dozen. Sharon Isbin featured two recent examples, by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun, on her terrific 2001 concerto CD. Leo Kottke and Stephen Paulus collaborated on one, incorporating Kottke's folk- and blues-rooted music into the orchestral idiom. How great it would be to hear this music. [Full Post] [Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at]

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