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Catalysts and Inspirations

Classical guitarist Sean Shibe reveals the secrets of his world, exploring the rich sounds of the guitar and its relatives in music from seven centuries.

In this third episode, Sean reveals a musical impression of Shakespeare’s Ophelia on the guitar, finds the Middle Eastern oud playing American bluegrass music, hears how Benjamin Britten was inspired by master of melancholy John Dowland and muses on Segovia’s odd relationship with composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Sean Shibe is a young, award-winning musician who’s changing the way people listen to the guitar. In this new six-part series he presents a personal choice of vibrant and varied pieces by composers from Spanish Renaissance masters to Steve Reich and Django Reinhardt, with performers including Julian Bream, Elizabeth Kenny, Andrés Segovia, John Williams, Joseph Tawadros and William Carter. Sean discovers the characters of the extended guitar family, from the oud, lute and vihuela to the Brahms guitar, decachord and electric guitar, and expresses straight-talking views on players of the past and present who have helped shape his own unique approach to the art of guitar playing. With his guitar on his knee he'll also be showing us what to listen for and what’s physically possible on the instrument.

Over the weeks we’ll hear Sean’s philosophical, intellectual and above all emotional take on the music he knows so well. He opens a door into a world that’s full of subtlety and contrast in its expression of culture and style. It’s a world that invites us in with all sorts of mesmeric and surprising sounds.

A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Dionisio Aguado y Garcia

    Etude (6) for Guitar - No.2

    Performer: Andrés Segovia.
    • DG.
  • Fernando Sor

    Study in B minor

    Performer: Julian Bream.
    • DG.
  • Fernando Sor

    Study in E minor

    Performer: William Carter.
    • LINN.
  • Joseph Tawadros

    Bluegrass Nikriz

    Performer: Joseph Tawadros.
    • Permission to Evaporate.
    • ABC.
    • 1.
  • Hans Werner Henze

    Royal Winter Music after Shakespearean characters - Ophelia

    Performer: Julian Bream.
    • RCA.
  • Isham Jones

    I'll See You in My Dreams

    Performer: Django Reinhardt.
    • FLAPPER.
  • Django Reinhardt

    Echoes of Spain

    Performer: Django Reinhardt.
    • FLAPPER.
  • Manuel Ponce

    Sonata Mexicana - movement IV - Allegro

    Performer: Andrés Segovia.
  • Heitor Villa‐Lobos

    Prelude No.3 in A minor

    Performer: Andrés Segovia.
    • DG.
  • John Dowland

    Away with these self-loving lads

    Performer: Elizabeth Kenny. Singer: Mark Padmore.
    • HYPERION.
  • John Dowland

    Come heavy sleep

    Performer: Elizabeth Kenny. Singer: Mark Padmore.
    • HYPERION.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Nocturnal - after John Dowland (excerpt)

    Performer: Julian Bream.
    • EMI.
  • Stanley Myers

    Cavatina (from The Deerhunter)

    Performer: John Williams.
    • SONY CLASSICAL.

Broadcast