Friday, October 19, 2012

Cleveland Classical Guitar Society: Paul Galbrath In Concert

Bach: Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BVW 1012
Hindemith: Harp Sonata (1939)
Traditional Catalian: El Testament d'Amelia
Ponce: 20 Variations and Fugue on "Las Folias de Espana"
Torroba: Burgalesa
Paul Galbrath, Eight-Stringed Guitar (all pieces arranged by the artist)
at Plymouth Congregational Church, Shaker Heights.

The guitar is an often overlooked member of the classical world. Fortunately, Cleveland has an outlet specifically for this corner. I know people who have spoken highly of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, but until tonight's concert I had not experienced one of their concerts myself.

I have a feeling that even had I experienced a CCGS concert prior to this evening's, tonight still would have been a very unique presentation -- Paul Galbrath plays an eight-stringed guitar, more striking, however is the playing position: Upright with a tail piece resting on a resonance box, much like the modern cello (two of the eight strings extend the full length of the instrument). That is where the similarities to the cello -- at least to this writers eyes and ears end.

After a long day -- capping off a longer week -- I found the sound throughout the concert to be invitingly warm and very conducive to relaxing meditation. While it's a state that's very conducive to preserving what little is left of my sanity, it is not conducive to noting specific emotional responses to specific pieces. Needless to say, though, Rachel and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Even when the music took a turn for the louder, faster, and generally more energetic, the sense of an inner calm persisted through Mr. Galbrath's playing. Aurally, I was also struck by how harp-like, more than any other instrument, much of the program sounded. On the other hand, visually, for as big and room-filling as every piece sounded, Mr. Galbrath's movements were small and precise, sometimes verging on barely noticeable.

The next Cleveland Classical Guitar Society concert is on Friday, November 16th and features Edel Munoz (More information here)


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