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New Williams piece, "Rounds" for guitar, to be premiered today [UPDATE: Studio recording released September 11 2015]


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I ripped the guitar performance with Audacity, but only in 128kbps, as I don't know how to boost the quality -- if there's any way at all. Still, it's pretty good. You can PM me if you're interested in getting it in audio.

You're always limited by the quality of the video encoding. Still, while the audio range is somewhat limited, it still is a very decent presentation, audio wise. My only complain is that the actual audio on the video clipped in a few occasions, with the inevitable distortion.

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Pablo Villegas, for whom Williams wrote the piece will be releasing his debut album on Harmonia Mundi, this September 11, and will be including "Rounds" More info here.

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/noticias/mas_actualidad/cultura/2012/06/02/john_williams_salta_cine_guitarra_clasica_82354_1034.html Apparently the soloist and dedicate plans on recording the piece.

Should be performed by that other John Williams who plays the guitar

Anyone noticed the guitarist plays the piece by heart and sometimes with his eyes closed?

Not sure if you play an instrument, but I happen to play the guitar. After you play an instrument for so long, many of the changes become second nature and fluid. It may seem like jumping your hand around from position to position on the neck of the guitar would be difficult, but many of the runs in this piece are compact, or progressing naturally from one position to the next. You can catch a lot out of your peripheral vision as well. You feel it in your fingers, the distance between frets are imbedded in your muscle memory.

It was a lovely piece of music. I'll be picking this up at some point once it's published.

Tim

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I'm not really a fan of JW's concerts works I guess. I just couldn't get into this one.

Stop looking for hummability!

Anyone noticed the guitarist plays the piece by heart and sometimes with his eyes closed?

Not sure if you play an instrument, but I happen to play the guitar. After you play an instrument for so long, many of the changes become second nature and fluid. It may seem like jumping your hand around from position to position on the neck of the guitar would be difficult, but many of the runs in this piece are compact, or progressing naturally from one position to the next. You can catch a lot out of your peripheral vision as well. You feel it in your fingers, the distance between frets are imbedded in your muscle memory.

Yes, I guess I haven't seen a classical trained musician who plays like that in a long time. It was almost like watching Santana. Quite a difference compared to the immovable John Williams, the guitarist.

Say, are you by any chance that guy who did a few guitar transcriptions of Williams' work? If not, remember him? He was pretty good. I believe he was going for a whole CD of Williams themes on guitar. What happened to that?!

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I've enjoyed many of Williams' concert pieces in the past -- particularly the tuba concerto and Five Sacred Trees -- but this one just thoroughly bored me. Maybe it will grow on me after a few listens, but so far, it's one of my absolute least-favorite Williams compositions that isn't from either John Goldfarb or Thomas and the King.

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Wikipedia info about the soloist:

Pablo Sáinz Villegas (born 1977) is a Spanish classical guitarist.

After capturing the Gold Medal at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pablo Sáinz Villegas has quickly established himself as one of the world's leading classical guitarists. He has performed in over twenty countries around the globe on such prestigious stages as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Theater. Recipient of more than twenty-five international awards including the “Andrés Segovia” award, Mr. Sáinz Villegas has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony, Orchestra I Pomerigi Musicali and Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española, among others. He has participated in renowned international festivals in Brasília, Granada and Strassburg, and has worked with prominent composers including George Crumb, Cristóbal Halffter and Helmut Lachenmann. Sáinz Villegas has appeared with ABC, The BBC, Radio 2 Clásica RNE, TVE, Radio France and Euroradio.

Pablo Sáinz Villegas has recorded Luciano Berio's monumental Sequenza XI on the Naxos label. He has also released a CD of Spanish music on the same label that features the world première recordings of Five Anecdotes by Andrés Segovia and Sonata-Fantasía by Federico Moreno Torroba. “Musik Heute” magazine selected this recording as “CD of the Week.” Sainz Villegas’ live recording of the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española conducted by Adrian Leaper, was released by the RTVE label for their “Clásicos Españoles” collection.

An accomplished teacher, Pablo Sáinz Villegas has given master classes at distinguished universities such as the Royal College of Music in London and the Australian National University.

Pablo Sainz Villegas had also participated a masterclass of Turkish Classical Guitar Virtuoso, Ahmet Kanneci.

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Disappointing! What happened to his usual full-length concertos?

I guess you'd have to like solo guitar works like this to properly enjoy it. Personally, I think it's beautiful and restrained while having several Williamsisms throughout.

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Disappointing! What happened to his usual full-length concertos?

I guess you'd have to like solo guitar works like this to properly enjoy it. Personally, I think it's beautiful and restrained while having several Williamsisms throughout.

I'm disappointed that it's only this one piece.

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Disappointing! What happened to his usual full-length concertos?

I guess you'd have to like solo guitar works like this to properly enjoy it. Personally, I think it's beautiful and restrained while having several Williamsisms throughout.

I'm disappointed that it's only this one piece.

Well, to that I can relate... I always wish I could get more concert music from Williams! :)

But as my brother put it -- and he's an accomplished classic guitar player -- it's not the length of the piece, but rather what the composer did for it on those short few minutes...

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it's not the length of the piece, ...

I know ... but I was already hoping that I could dwell in the music for the duration of a normal length concerto (20 - 25 minutes). I really would've like to see a concerto for guitar and orchestra. The sound of a guitar alone makes it very different than the usual instruments.

Alex

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As a trombone player I hope the next concerto JW writes is a trombone concerto. Maybe his work with the Chicago Symphony for LIncoln, which is known for its brass section will convince him to finally write one.

I assume you know the bass trombone version of the tuba concerto... there is a recording of that one, with piano reduction by Charles Vernon (who, if memory serves, is the bass trombonist with the CSO.)

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  • 2 years later...

Excellent! Then I can throw away the ol' Vimeo audio rip (although the sound quality was pretty good in this one).

(btw, Miguel, as long as I have your attention -- I tried to contact you by e-mail recently, as I visited Lisboa the weekend of May 17th and wondered if you were there -- but didn't hear anything. Perhaps you live somewhere else in Portugal).

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Excellent! Then I can throw away the ol' Vimeo audio rip (although the sound quality was pretty good in this one).

(btw, Miguel, as long as I have your attention -- I tried to contact you by e-mail recently, as I visited Lisboa the weekend of May 17th and wondered if you were there -- but didn't hear anything. Perhaps you live somewhere else in Portugal).

Hey Thor, yes, I recall your mail, and should have replied as soon as it hit my inbox... but didn't and have been so busy preparing a painting exhibition that I end up forgeting about most of everything else... at any rate, I wouldn't have the chance to meet you in Lisbon, as I live 300 km north, and lacked the time to travel down. Hope you had a great time there, though!

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Nice to see Harmonia Mundi releasing their third album featuring JWs music. I do not know if this is by design of by serendipitous accident but I hope the streak continues. :)

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One out of 18 tracks is John Williams. Hmm, I guess I'm not fanboy enough to buy the CD.

Not just a fan but also a collector Alex, a collector.

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I'm also looking forward to some Villa-Lobos guitar music, surely worth one's time.

Agreed plus you can always make some new discoveries on such albums. :)

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Excellent! Then I can throw away the ol' Vimeo audio rip (although the sound quality was pretty good in this one).

(btw, Miguel, as long as I have your attention -- I tried to contact you by e-mail recently, as I visited Lisboa the weekend of May 17th and wondered if you were there -- but didn't hear anything. Perhaps you live somewhere else in Portugal).

Hey Thor, yes, I recall your mail, and should have replied as soon as it hit my inbox... but didn't and have been so busy preparing a painting exhibition that I end up forgeting about most of everything else... at any rate, I wouldn't have the chance to meet you in Lisbon, as I live 300 km north, and lacked the time to travel down. Hope you had a great time there, though!

No problem. I know how busy you are, and 300 km is too far off anyway even if you had the time. Another time! Lisboa was great, btw, even though I partied a bit too hard every night I was there.

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  • 3 months later...

About the release of Villegas "Americano" CD, Pablo himself writes for Gramophone's blog... also enjoy the little promotional video:

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/gramophone-guest-blog/the-most-versatile-instrument-in-the-world

I should have received my copy of the CD last week, but mail services seem to be delaying a lot around here :(

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Hi all,

I recently bought the sheet music for "rounds", and I noticed the copyright date on it says 2006. I thought this to be very strange given the piece was supposedly written in 2012. I started looking through his other pieces, which are all marked with the copyright corresponding to an appropriate time. Any thoughts?

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Handsome fella -- I can say that even as a devout heterosexual man! I bet he's been lucky with the ladies at afterparties when he's thrown up the guitar for a small ditty. However, I still think it would have been more awesome if Williams had written the piece for name brother John Williams.

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Edit: first thought ... not a fan of the friction and breathing noises. Do you people hear it too? (it could be the worker next door)

I didn't get annoyed by the noise because I'm used to classical guitar I guess.

To each instrument his particular noise. We must accept the fact that music comes from humans, not machines!

A thing that annoys me from a pianist is when his (too long) nails makes clicks, but that's rare.

And as a former clarinet player, I understand the noise made by the keys of a wind instrument...

But the breathing, that's very personal to each player. I didn't find it exagerated in the case of Villegas.

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