In Review, Stanley Yates, Springfield, IL, March 26th, 2011

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Dr Yates’ performance.  If anyone is interested in posting a short synopsis of the concert, please email!

Mr. Stanley Yates will be performing a solo recital for the Springfield Classical Guitar Society on March 26th.   Mr. Yates is an accomplished performer, author and educator.  Mr. Yates teaches at Austin Peay State University.  Mr Yates’ web site contains a plethora of information and is worth a visit: Stanley Yates.com

When: Saturday, March 26 · 8:00pm – 9:30pm

Where: Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church 

2313 Whittier Ave. (at Outer Park Drive)
Springfield, IL
J. S. BACH (1685-1750) arr. Yates 

Cello Suite No. 1 bwv 1007:

Prelude

Courante

Sarabande

Gigue

Johann Kaspar MERTZ (1805-1856)

Elegy

Stepan RAK (b. 1945)

Elegy – Hommage a Sibelius (dedicated to Stanley Yates)

—INTERMISSION—

Leo BROUWER (b. 1949)

Sarabande de Scriabin

Paisaje cubanos con campanas

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)

Three Etudes (1928 versions):

No. 11 in A-minor

No. 8 in C#-minor

No. 10 in B-minor

Roberto BADEN-POWELL (1937-2000)

Maritima

Vals

Samba Triste

Q & A With Dr Yates

As an amateur guitarist, I became familiar with your work with the Bach Cello Suite transcriptions book & CD release.  Since, then you have  written quite a number of new books.  Are you returning to performing?  or are there new publications in the works?

Both, actually. The Bach edition was my first one and I’ve since published quite a few further editions – a volume of Albeniz transcriptions, collections of original guitar works by Rak and Shand, three rediscovered guitar concertos, and didactic material such as graded repertoire anthologies, a guitar method, and several sets of original studies.  

I did stop performing for a while a few years ago, for a variety of personal reasons, but I’m well and truly back on the circuit again now – recently, I’ve toured in England, Romania, Australia, and Bangladesh, as well as here in the US. But I think it’s natural that folks tend to label you as a performer, or a scholar, or a teacher, but I’ve always enjoyed and done all of these things, and I hope to continue doing all of them.

I do have a large amount of unpublished work, which I need to put out. But, at the moment, I’m finishing a book about practicing and a comprehensive series of ‘Study Guides’ dealing with various playing techniques and study repertoire. These, along with videos to go along with them, will be available online in the near future at my new instructional website, ClassicalGuitarStudy.com

For the upcoming concert, I see there are two Elegy pieces on the program.  One, the beautiful Mertz piece.  The other, the Elegy – Hommage a Sibelius (dedicated to Stanley Yates) written by Mr Stepan Rak.  Tell us about Mr  Rak’s piece and, if possible, what it is like to have a piece dedicated to yourself.

The two elegies could hardly be more different from one another. The Mertz piece, which was not published during his lifetime and was probably one of his personal concert works (which he always avoided publishing), has a quite romantic-period piano feel to it, with its constant broken chord arpeggiation and florid melodic figuration – quite unusual for the time in guitar music. The Rak piece, on the other hand, presents something of a ‘catalogue’ of innovative guitar techniques and textures and a quite sophisticated harmonic structure. Stepan wrote the piece as an elegiac farewell to an extended period he spent living and teaching in Finland. The piece is built around a theme from Jean Sibelius’ symphonic poem ‘Finlandia,’ and evokes the frozen ice fields, lush green fjords, and the almost endless twilights and sunrises characteristic of the ‘land of the midnight sun’ of northern Scandinavian. Both pieces are very beautiful and evocative, and both are quite technically innovative for their respective time periods (especially for the right hand).

I’ve been fortunate to have had quite a lot of pieces dedicated to me over the years, by a number of European and American composers and it’s very flattering – it’s wonderful to think that a composer has you in mind when deciding to write a new piece. I’ve noticed something, though – they often write things for me that are very technically challenging (even those who are guitarists themselves!). The less than ideal situation is that it hasn’t been possible to program every piece I’ve received.

For my next program question, BADEN-POWELL is on the program.  I enjoy his music a lot.  How did you decide to include his music?

I’d been peripherally aware of Baden-Powell’s music for a long time, but never played any of it. A few years ago, one of my students gave me a CD of his music and I was blown away by it. Digging out the various pieces of his that I already had in my collection, I realized that they weren’t terribly representative of Baden-Powell’s actual performances. So, I started transcribing his recordings myself. I’ve played quite a bit of his music since then, including pieces with rhythm section. I’d really like to make a recording of his music (though I rarely seem to get around to making recordings). He was a truly great guitarist and he wrote some fantastic stuff that I feel audiences would like to hear more of.

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