I’ve been playing guitar for the past 40 years, off and on (mostly off). I recently decided to get back into the instrument, so I bought a classical guitar and some sheet music. As such, I’ve been listening to a lot of guitar recordings.
If you’re a guitarist, or a fan of the classical guitar, there are two big box sets available by two of the greatest guitarists of recent years.
The first is Julian Bream’s Complete RCA Album Anthology. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) On 42 discs, this contains all of this great guitarists recordings. Bream played a lot of early music – Dowland, Bach, and other pre-classical music – and he played lute as well as guitar. There are a number of concerto recordings in this set – the obligatory Rodrigo, several times – a number of discs of Spanish music, and several Elizabethan and Jacobean discs. And there are some interesting DVDs with performances and master classes.
Since this box set is out of print, you’ll have to pay a high price. It was released just three years ago, but like many of these sets, it will likely never be reissued. I bought mine late last year, and paid that I would consider a pittance for it.
The second set is John Williams’ Complete Columbia Album Collection. There are 59 discs, with music from his landmark recordings of Bach’s lute works on guitar to pop music. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Williams covered all bases, playing baroque music, Spanish music, and pop. But he also recorded a disc of music by Takemitsu, some recordings of folk songs, and was in a fusion group called Sky. The set also contains a DVD of The Seville Concert.
Each of these two sets has a lot of excellent music. If you play, or simply like the guitar, they’re both excellent sets to have in your library. Unfortunately, the Bream set may be hard to find at an affordable price.
If you’re a guitarist, or a fan of guitar music, feel free to add in the comments any discs or sets that you especially like.