July & August, 2011 concerts
I do picaresque solo guitar programs all summer long, in the U.S. and Europe. Picaresque? The guitar is a picaresque instrument. Andres Segovia made a comment to Mexican composer Manuel Ponce in a well known letter, praising one of Ponce's works, calling it, "picaresque". Composers joust with musical norms in exactly the same way the picaro (rogue) pushes the limits of social norms. In this sense all music is picaresque, yet some works are deliberately so--all Rodrigo, much Sor, much Dawe. Some works have a palpably picaresque feel--minor key Bach, especially his piquant use of augmented 6th chords in funny places--all Scarlatti. The lute fantasies of the Renaissance usurp the counterpoint of sacred vocal music for instrumental ends, introducing an egotistical element (instrumentalist pride) that was not possible for the monks, who sang anonymously, all dressed alike in their lovely Franciscan robes.
In the song, Morenica da me un beso, (a 16th C. song--Give me a Kiss, chic), which I will sing & play, Juan Vazquez uses prayerful church music harmony for the phrase, "please give me what I demand". Never trust the mask that the picaro uses or abuses to win your favors.
There is a truly moving point to make about Rodrigo's most picaresque *Fandango*. It needs video, as the argument is thoroughly musical. I will do this soon, and put it here on this site.
Hermann Broch points out, in his indispensable essay, Hugo von Hoffmanthal and his Time, that the Baroque period cemented social institutions that would prevail all the way up to the first world war (the institutions that Segovia hoped Franco would preserve), but these institutions were tired and overextended for over a century before then, resulting in a crisis of values and a kind of Rococo kitsch. We should note that Rameau cemented the musical institutions--functional harmony--that still persist today. The Baroque inaugurated the era of the particular by cementing the usual. The theorbo is a very particular (Baroque) lute. The violoncello is a particular violon. ("Cello", means "particular", I think, as in "limoncello".) This is what the guitar is all about. It is perpetually Baroque, and in Spain, the Baroque really never ended until Zarzuela died in the 1950s. All the lovely and sometimes kitschy Baroque spoofage in Granados, Falla, Mahler, Kreisler, Ponce.....
August 12 Brno Guitar Festival
Prelude in C minor
It Fell on a Holly Eve
Morenica da me un beso
July 15 & 16
Warebrook Music Festival
Anderson gave excerpts of the Picaresque program, and also did works by Jalbert, Kupfereman, and Stephen Dydo.
Brazilian Endowment for the Arts
William Anderson, soloist
with guest Diego Andrade
Elogio de la Danza
Musica para dos Guitarras