Rafael Aguirre Miñarro, Q & A

Thanks to Rafael, who was kind enough to correspond.

I’ve been listening to your Naxos CD release for a while and really have enjoyed it (especially Sor’s Opus 16 Fantasy).  How were you asked to record the CD?  How was it to work with Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver, producing the CD?

I was asked to record the CD after i won the Francisco Tarrega International Competition in Spain. I wanted to display a bright program representing one of my most personal characteristics: I learned a lot of repertoire during my life and this cd is just an example of my different musical tastes. To work with Norbert was really easy, he knows exactly what he wants from you and you can really concentrate at the church where you record and the acoustics are just amazing! i wanted to show how versatile is the guitar and i think that it is the instrument that will develop the most in the 21. century and will bring audiences that are not so well informed and don t like classical music a lot of joy hearing this music due to the quality and popularity of the instrument.

When you traveled to Indianapolis you flew into the country from Germany the same day.  Are you completely at ease when traveling or does it still stress you out?  Do you ever rehearse at the airport?

It is always stressing traveling and i consider it really the hardest part of the whole thing, but i try to take it easy and enjoy small things in life. I was fortunate to sleep before landing in Indianapolis but i remember taking a shower before the concert at the Olympic swimming pool installations of the university! pretty funny!

I like to rehearse at airports because it is inspiring watching people from all around the world and you see that the music it is the only thing that is really international and sounds everywhere the same and has the same effect. So many people are thankful when they hear a guitar at one airport and i think this is really nice in a very stressful society that we live.

You are playing romantic era pieces for your recitals (at least in Indianapolis).  The Albeniz, Tarrega, Schumann, Debussy, etc made for a really interesting concert.  The Schumann, in particular, was an interesting choice. How did you learn about this work and can you tell us about the transcription?

I always think that you are a children your whole life in spirit and this piece talks about the childhood. And somehow living in the same city that Schumann lived in was inspiring and a reason to transcribe this piece and try to show a new view through my instrument. I think Schumann would be really astonished to see how well the piece works on the guitar and maybe he would write something for it.

Your encore piece was exciting, almost like watching a movie!  I’m not sure about the copyright concerns but the FORCE was certainly used during the
performance!

Thank you, I am glad you liked it! Again, i think through the guitar you can show a complete orchestra in a more simple way to understand but always with a very direct effect on the listener. This piece starts as a joke transforming in a very complex and beautiful arrangement bringing the listener to all the parts of the movie. It is like a mini travel to the stars!

Are you living or is your family living in Spain?  Do you return to your homeland?

My family is still living in Spain and i return there very often. I love Spain and it is always the biggest inspiration for me. I can t play a single concert without Spanish music without fulfilling my Spanish soul. It is just magical music and one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I still need to find something more beautiful than the Alhambra in Granada, the most visited monument in the world.


Is there a Spanish ‘style’ of guitar playing as in technique?  Certainly there is Spanish compositions taking ideas from traditional dance, etc.  Is there any projects in the future involving Spanish music or composers?

Of course , guitar technique is mainly developed in Spain and this is why there are so many good players from Spain. Nevertheless , today you find amazing players all around the world, Russia, France, USA, Japan, Italy, Brazil, Peru, Argentina etc. The music has a very strong folkloric and European influences at the same time. I am always learning new pieces like the Toccata by Rodrigo an example on how European, Spanish music can sound influenced by the french masters, for example and trying to imitate the symphonic orchestra. I will be recording another CD for NAXOS with Spanish Music with a World Premiere Recording by Grammy Award Winner artist Sergio Assad , based on Spanish themes, as well as a lot of Spanish pieces not so often recorded. Thanks for the interview!

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  1. #1 by Gregg Nestor on May 8, 2011 - 12:31 PM

    Matteo:
    Glad to read about your work in Indiana. Do you occasionally play in chamber music ensembles?

    GREGG NESTOR
    gmn002@aol.com

    • #2 by Matthew Beal on May 8, 2011 - 5:44 PM

      Hi Gregg, friends and I occasionally form a duo and trio, but very rarely chamber music (never, actually). It would be really great to have the opportunity. There are some nice piano / guitar pieces in the repertoire, as well. Thanks for the note!

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