How popular is classical guitar music

10 beautiful pieces of classical music for guitar

From the sultry Spanish sounds of the Concierto de Aranjuez to modern arrangements of 17th century lute music, some of the greatest pieces of classical music sound absolutely breathtaking on the guitar.

These are the best songs for classical guitars

1. Concierto de Aranjuez - Rodrigo

For a work as Spanish as Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, it may seem bizarre that many people's first encounter with him is related to Yorkshire. But the use of the concert in the film Brassed Off! from 1996 ensured that the popularity of this work skyrocketed. The miners affectionately called it “orange juice” after finding it quite difficult to pronounce “aranjuez”.

 

2nd guitar concert in D - Vivaldi

This wonderfully playful baroque concerto was originally composed for a lute, but the modern transposition for classical guitar is just beautiful. Although Vivaldi spent most of his life in Venice, this concert dates from his time traveling the world. It was written in Bohemia, although its three short sentences were never published in his lifetime.

3. Five bagatelles - Walton

Walton's technically diabolical 'Five Bagatelles' (1971) is by no means an easy-to-master piece and a minefield of idiosyncratic rhythms. The classical guitar enjoyed great popularity in the 1970s - but the lack of Spanish-Latin associations in the Five Bagatelles meant that it never gained much prominence in the guitar repertoire of the 20th century.

But if you listen carefully, the bagatelles with their unruly harmonies and tonalities are wistful, beautifully formed - and maybe they are simply classical guitar music at its best.

4. Libertango - Piazzolla

Recorded and published in Milan in 1974, this lively tango marks a change in style for the composer Astor Piazzolla from classical tango to nuevo tango. Spicy rhythms and a diabolical melody have kept this at the forefront of modern tango, with countless brilliant interpretations to be discovered. The original score even features an accordion that gives the music a folkloric element.

5. Asturias - Albéniz

Despite its posthumous title, which implies a connection to the northern Spanish region of Asturias, Albéniz ’work for guitar is a clear nod to the Andalusian flamenco tradition. Its sudden dynamic changes and fiddly, intricate melody make it a diabolical piece to master on guitar, but the passion it conveys is breathtaking. You can almost feel the dusty heat of a Spanish marketplace when you listen to the rapid jingling.

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