Milos Karadaglic Plays Granados

Milos Karadaglic, in case you haven’t heard, is the hot new guitar player this year. By “hot,” I mean in the showbiz sense. Boffo. Big bank.

For one thing, he’s got Deutsche Grammophon behind him. It doesn’t get more prestigious than that. Milos signed with DG last summer. They’re sending him all over the world to promote his debut album with DG, Mediterraneo.

And I don’t mind helping them out a little. Milos is a good player. (Yes, I call him just “Milos.” I can’t seem to remember “Karadaglic” very well. I notice that DG, too, has started calling him just “Milos” in their publicity. Good move.)

Milos is getting tremendous publicity. I first noticed the publicity campaign a few months ago when a well-written article about the guitarist came out in The Economist magazine, of all places.

Then I heard there was a TV commercial for his new recording on CBS TV. When’s the last time you saw a classical guitarist advertised on national network TV? Never. This is quite a push.

So I Googled around and he’s everywhere. Then I looked on YouTube to see what all the fuss is about. There I found video after video put out by Deutsche Grammophon pushing their new guitar star, but the videos were mostly hype. Lots of high-end, glamorous hype.

Which is perfectly understandable and acceptable, except I didn’t want to blog any of it. I wanted an honest, well-presented, and complete live performance – something that might be representative of what Milos is really about.

Yesterday I found one that wasn’t put out by DG. Although it’s mistitled – it says the piece is Granada by Albeniz – it’s still a nice video. It’s actually Milos playing Danza Espanola No. 5 by Granados, a great favorite with classical guitarists. It’s the fifth of the famous Twelve Spanish Dances for piano by Granados, published in 1890. The piece’s individual name is Andaluza, or sometimes it’s called Playera. (I don’t know why it has so many names.)

I heard a quote from Milos today: “I want people to fall in love with the guitar.”

I’ll second that. You’re doing a good job, Milos.

Granados: Oriental – Arranged for Guitar and Cello

Ariana Burstein, ‘cello, and Roberto Legnani, guitar, perform the Danza Espagnola No.2, opus 37 – “Oriental.” Originally for piano solo by the great Spanish composer Enrique Granados, this piece is very popular with guitarists as a guitar duet. Bream & Williams and Presti & Lagoya, for example, recorded beautiful versions of it.

It is also sometimes heard arranged for guitar solo. It’s on the new recording by Milos Karadaglic, Mediterraneo.

(And contrary to the publicity materials for this recording, it is not the “first time ever” that it has been arranged for solo guitar. Denian Arcoleo does a beautiful job of it, as you will see and hear in the second video. Another fine arrangement exists by Jose Luis Gonzalez.)

But this is the first time I’ve heard it for guitar and ‘cello.

Well, I can’t resist. I have to add one more. Here it is by this wonderful couple, Evangelos and Liza, about whom Segovia said:

“Since fate cruelly deprived us of Presti and Lagoya, I no longer had the pleasure of listening to any comparable duet. But lately, when the talented Greek guitarists Evangelos and Liza played for me, I felt total satisfaction and enjoyment. They have rhythm, good taste, emotion and technique. They work together with loyalty to the music and vital dedication. I cordially wish Evangelos and Liza to conquer the high estimation of the public as they have conquered mine.”

New Tricks

Tom Poore, a 54-year-old classical guitar teacher (and editor of Aaron Shearer’s best-selling guitar method Learning the Classic Guitar, which I recommend to all), has an interesting project going on. He wants to improve his right-hand technique. He has a plan for doing it systematically and he’s inviting everyone to observe his progress and to make comments. He posts an update every week on his new blog, Building A Better Right Hand.

On the Cutting Edge of Online Classical Guitar

Christopher Davis is the guy behind the Classical Guitar Blog. Each time I check his blog I see that he keeps getting farther out in front in the online classical guitar world. He’s pioneering all over Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, and I don’t know what else, with Skype interviews, lectures, guitar videos, podcasts, online guitar lessons…. it’s impressive. When I want to see the state of the art for a classical guitarist building an online business presence, I check his site.

Nice going, Chris!

Starobin, Vieaux to Head New Guitar Dept. at Curtis

Two superb American guitarists, David Starobin and Jason Vieaux, will be heading up the new classical guitar program at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Says Mr. Starobin:

“The inauguration of the Curtis Institute’s guitar program is a milestone in the instrument’s history. With its inclusion at Curtis, arguably the world’s finest music conservatory, the guitar and its repertoire continue their steady ascent toward equal standing among the instruments and music of the great classical tradition. I am honored to join my colleague Jason Vieaux at this important moment in the guitar’s development.”

Good news!