Event Description

The Symphony’s second in our new series of Concert Recitals features the return of outstanding Grammy-award-winner Jason Vieaux, a contemporary and virtuosic classical guitarist. Besides pieces by some of the masters of classical guitar repertoire, his recital will also feature guitar adaptations ranging from J. S. Bach to Duke Ellington.

Click here for more information on our subscription package options! Individual tickets from $22 available now—click “join our email list” on the sidebar to make sure you receive all the latest news.

Share With Your Friends: facebook twitter pinterest

Concert Notes


Grand Overture, op. 61
Mauro Giuliani

Mauro Giuliani was one of the greatest virtuosi of the guitar in the 19th century. Although the use of the guitar in mainstream classical music was relatively novel at the time, Giuliani’s playing must have been extraordinary indeed, as the list of musicians that he associated with includes many of the most important of the era: Beethoven, Weber, Moscheles, Mayseder, Hummel, and probably Paganini and Rossini. Some of his most impressive accomplishments include performing one of his own concerti conducted by Carl Maria von Weber and participating in the premiere of Beethoven’s seventh symphony, presumably playing the other instrument that he excelled at, the cello.

Lute Suite No. 1 in e minor, BWV 996
Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude; presto

Bach’s works for lute* represent perhaps the single most important body of work in the guitar repertoire. Among these works are dance suites, including the Suite in E Minor, BWV 996. This work, like most suites of the late Baroque, follows the standard form of Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue with optional movements. Bach chose to include a Prelude and a Bourrée in addition to the four standard movements.

The Prelude to BWV 996 imitates the “French overture” form, which gained popularity in the seventeenth century through the orchestras of Jean-Baptiste Lully at the court of Louis XIV. A French overture begins with a slow section with dotted rhythms, scale flourishes, and heavy ornamentation while maintaining an improvisatory feel. This is followed by a fast, fugal section, beginning with one instrument playing a melody which is then imitated by other instruments entering successively. Bach’s slow section begins with a single voice that seems to wander downward, eventually encompassing a wide pitch register. Following this are mostly scalar passages and chords in dotted rhythms. The fast section begins with a seemingly endless stream of voices stating the subject until, at almost the halfway point, the subject is fragmented within a strikingly dense texture. This movement ends, like most in this suite, with a Picardy third—a major tonic chord in a piece that is otherwise in a minor key.

Rumores de la Caleta: Malagueña
(Recuerdos de Viaje, op.71, No. 6)
Capricho Catalán (from España, op. 165)
Torre Bermeja (Serenata from Douze Pieces Characteristiques, op. 92, No. 12)
Isaac Albéniz

Isaac Albéniz began his career as a virtuoso pianist and composer of cosmopolitan romantic music. Upon meeting the influential musicologist and composer Filip Pedrell, however, Albéniz’s music shifted toward the Spanish nationalist style. From that point on virtually all of his works were heavily inspired by the rich musical traditions of Spain.

Paulo Bellinati

Brazilian guitarist and composer Paulo Bellinati has achieved great popularity with his colorful compositions in the style of his native country. The most well-known of these is Jongo, based on a Brazilian dance of the same name which uses 3/4 and 3/2 rhythms and accents over an underlining time signature of 6/8. Originally written for his jazz band Pau Brasil, Bellinati’s piece achieved its greatest success when the composer arranged it for solo guitar. After receiving a first-place prize in an international competition for Jongo, Bellinati also made a duo arrangement for the great Brazilian guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad. Both the solo and duo versions are fiery showpieces that take the listener on a colorful journey through Brazil while retaining so much of the original texture that it is easy to imagine hearing an entire jazz band.

Drei Tentos from Kammermusik
Hans Werner Henze

Hans Werner Henze is among the most prolific and successful of contemporary German composers. He began formal musical training relatively later in life (in his twenties) with Wolfgang Fortner, and his compositional style reveals a unique voice that melds some of the techniques of serial composition with a Stravinsky influence.

Always and Forever (arr. Vieaux)
Pat Metheny
“A Felicidade” (arr. Roland Dyens)
Antônio Carlos Jobím

American jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny inhabits a rare confluence in the music world: he has had an enormous influence over subsequent generations of musicians while enjoying the respect and admiration of his musical colleagues, all the while experiencing one of the most popular and successful careers in American jazz music. ——Jason Vieaux


In a Sentimental Mood
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington

A composer, arranger and bandleader, Duke Ellington was among a few who elevated jazz to the status of art when the medium was still young. His contributions would ultimately be recognized with presidential honors, thirteen Grammy awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a French Legion of Honor. Among his many hits is In a Sentimental Mood, which according to the composer was improvised at a party in order to calm two women who had become upset. It was first recorded instrumentally by Duke Ellington’s orchestra, and lyrics were added later. The essence of this song can be summarized in the lyrics, “On the wings of every kiss drifts a melody so strange a sweet; in this sentimental bliss you make my paradise complete.”

Suite del Recuerdo
José Luis Merlín


Merlin says of Suite del Recuerdo, “This is an homage to memories, my memories. To the collective memories of my people living in nostalgia, tormented, anguished, happy and hopeful. Memories from the country, in San Luis, with all the smells and sounds from the country. It is like looking inside yourself in very profound silence. Memories of afternoons with grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins. All enjoying each other, sharing our feelings and playing guitar, sitting in the back yard drinking wine, under the vines. Lots of them are not here anymore. They are in my memories.

All program notes by Erik Mann.

The Symphony acknowledges with thanks our season program notes contributor, Eric Bromberger.

Guitarist Jason Vieaux Winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo

NPR describes Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” and Gramophone magazine puts him “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists.” Read more!

Vieaux will also be featured as a concerto soloist during The Symphony’s February 19 performance, alongside the full orchestra—don’t miss it!

& Musicians


Jason Vieaux

Meet The Composers