First Loves: Jason Vieaux's Guitar Concertos In Slow Motion

The topic of the week is "First Loves." Tell us your story of the first piece of classical music that you fell in love with in the comments section. Guitarist Jason Vieaux, as a highschooler, was hooked on two special guitar concertos.

Guitarist Jason Vieaux i i

hide captionJason Vieaux was captivated by the slow movements of two great guitar concertos.

Tyler Boye
Guitarist Jason Vieaux

Jason Vieaux was captivated by the slow movements of two great guitar concertos.

Tyler Boye

As cliché as it may seem for a classical guitar player, my "First Love" would be a tie between Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (yes, the one you hear all the time!) and Heitor Villa-LobosConcerto for Guitar.

I listened to the John Williams performance of Aranjuez probably every day for an entire summer during one of my high school years.  The chord progression in the final section of the second movement — just after the solo guitar cadenza — was just devastating to me. And there’s not even any guitar playing during that part! (Hmm, what does that tell me?)

Concierto de Aranjuez: Adagio (John Williams/Philadelphia Orchestra/Ormandy)

Puchase: Archiv Music

LP of Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto

Also, Julian Bream’s playing hit me in a big way as a teenager, especially in the Villa-Lobos Concerto. In hindsight, I hear a man completely unafraid to communicate his interpretation, his musical vision.

When I was 15, and unable to articulate even to myself the complex emotions that great music and great musicians inspire, I simply thought Bream was the nazz — the cat’s pajamas. I absolutely lived for those slow movements, and still do to this day.

Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto - 'Andantino' (Julian Bream/London Symphony)

Purchase: Amazon.com

If there were no slow movements to concertos or sonatas, I might have become an accountant. OK, not an accountant — but at least less interested in the guitar.

Jason Vieaux records for the Azica label and heads the Cleveland Institute of Music's Guitar Department.

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