My Favourite Classical Guitar Tracks of 2013

OK, I’ve already talked about my favourite classical guitar recordings of 2013, as in my favourite albums.

Classical Guitar

Here’s a wrap-up now of my favourite individual classical guitar pieces that were released into the big widey world by their respective artists. Ooh and some other stuff too. Classical guitar is not the only thing I listen to and frankly, as a musician, I think it’s really important to listen to music outside of your medium from all genres to prevent blinkering and to encourage wonderfully artistic cross-fertlisation.

My Favourite Guitar Tracks of the Year

These are the individual pieces, tunes and songs that made me say “wow!” in 2013:

  • Sevilla – Daniel Nistico (from the album Un Viaje Mistico)
  • The Reluctant Bride – Leonard Grigoryan (from the album Solo)
  • La Maja de Goya – Julian Bream (from the album Music of Spain Vol. 5 – Albéniz – Granados – Ok, not strictly speaking a new 2013 recording, but a great re-release from Sony Records for the great man’s 80th birthday. And no less than Disc 32 of a 40 disc +3 DVD box set!)
  • La vida breve, Act II: Danse espagnole No. 1 – Rovshan Mamedkuliev (from the album Guitar RecitalNaxos Laureate Series)
  • Three – Bryan Baker (from the album The Lacuna Variations)
  • El Choclo – Michael Sheridan (from the album Prelude)

My Favourite Other Stuff of the Year

I love all styles and genres of music and what’s “good” in my own personal opinion is whether it stirs a particular feeling or emotion in me, catches my interest in some way or just makes me want to move! This is what else I’ve been listening to and loving this year (a pretty eclectic mix you may agree):

  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk (from the album Random Access Memories – my favourite non-classical guitar track of 2013)
  • Reflektor – Arcade Fire (from the album Reflektor, easily my second favourite non-classical guitar track of 2013)
  • Starry Night – Wayne Shorter (from the album Without A Net –the best jazz recording of 2013 in my opinion, -cool, smooth and elegant just how jazz should be)
  • You Bring Out The Savage In Me – Cecile McLorin Salvant (from the album WomanChild – a precocious jazz songstress showing off her a stunningly flexible voice)
  • The Augurs of Spring  – Berliner Philharmoniker & Sir Simon Rattle (from The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky  – this recording is an absolute must and the second “movement” brings forth the full gut-wrenching, make-you-poo-your-pants effects of Stravinsky’s powerful composition. I also really like the sound of the deeply resonant bassoon and the cross rhythms in the timps in the first movement (Introduction) and the clear, and slightly unnerving col legno strings in the third movement (Dances of the Young Girls), awesome stuff)
  • Aria from J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations by Jeremy Denk (I’ve had a bit of a Bach kind year this year, and this offering of Bach’s masterwork from pianist Jeremy Denk is exquisite. I want to play Bach works on the guitar like this guy plays piano – with clarity of line and direction, with vitality and energy, with colour, with beautiful expression and shaping.
  • Queenie Eye – Paul McCartney (from the album NEW)
  • Oceans Away – Elton John (from the album The Diving Board)
  • Love Me Again – John Newman (from the album Tribute – and I love the video for this one too, I love a bit of Fred Perry and silly Northern Soul dancing)
  • La La La – Naughty Boy (c’mon even a classical guitarist has to enjoy a cheesy pop song with an annoyingly catchy refrain from time to time!)
  • Take Back The Night – Justin Timberlake (OK, make that two cheesy pop songs then. I challenge you to not want to get up and dance like no one’s watching to this one)
  • Applause – Lady Gaga (well, everything comes in threes…..)
  • Treasure – Bruno Mars (OK, I give up now. Mr Mars is an exceptionally talented songwriter though and I challenge you not to want to bop to this number too)
  • Viene de Mi – La Yegros (I do like a bit of laid back Latin and this hits the spot)

Feel free to find and follow me on Spotify to check out what I’m listening to in 2014.

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