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Sharon Isbin

Sharon Isbin

Huh! If you didn't know who this lady is you should have. I mean it's not everyone who gets to start a brand new department at Julliard. But Sharon did.

For a while, it seemed the new generations of classical guitarists (possibly due to the guitar becoming more of an ensemble instrument) started playing stuff more in strict time. So it is particularly pleasant to hear Sharon's rendition of Recuerdos de la Alahambra with a more fluid tempo than you often hear nowadays and probably closer to the way Tarrega intended it. So remember all you guitarists out there, just a litte more rubato, please!

Also let's hear it for the guitar's great virtue - as the solo instrument nonpareil. Yes, some concertos written for guitar (the most famous being Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto Para Aranjuez and the Fantasia Para Un Gentile Hombre) are excellent compositions, true. But many listeners - including some professional classical guitarists - maintain that unless the guitar is miked, the audience has to strain too much to hear.

Andres Segovia, by the way, insisted that his guitar never be amplifed. Maybe that's what Sharon was thinking of when she appeared on national radio and the host mentioned he had once heard Segovia play. "You mean you actually heard him?" she asked.

None of this detracts from holding the the guitar as worthy an instrument as the screechy, tinny, thin-sounding violin or the clashing, pounding piano, the instruments of Kriesler and Paderweski (whoever the heck they were).