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Variation and Fantasy

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 fourth episode Sean plays music for the guitar that grows out of composers’ creative imaginations in the shape of fantasies and variations. He’ll be discovering technical complexity in music by Mauro Giuliani and clever dramatic effects by Malcolm Arnold, plus some intriguing examples of fantasy and variation from both Spanish and German baroque times. Plus there’s an inventive 21st century take on a 400 year old song by John Dowland.

Sean Shibe is a young, award-winning musician who’s changing the way people listen to the guitar. In this 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, Anthony Rooley, Andrés Segovia, John Williams, Dolores Costoyas and the Brasil Guitar Duo. 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

  • Alonso Mudarra

    Fantasia que contrahaze la harpa en la manera de Ludovico

    Performer: Hopkinson Smith.
    • Portrait.
    • ASTREE.
    • 20.
  • Roberto Gerhard

    Fantasy for Guitar

    Performer: Franz Halász.
    • BIS.
  • Mauro Giuliani

    Guitar Concerto No.1 in A major, Op. 30 - III. Alla Polacca

    Performer: Eduardo Fernández. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra. Director: George Malcolm.
    • DECCA.
  • Luis de Narváez

    Veynte y dos diferencias sobre Conde Claros

    Performer: Dolores Costoyas.
  • John Dowland

    Can She Excuse My Wrongs

    Performer: Anthony Rooley. Singer: Emma Kirkby.
    • BIS.
  • John Dowland

    Can She Excuse My Wrongs

    Performer: Marnix Dorrestein. Singer: Nora Fischer.
    • DG.
  • Malcolm Arnold

    Fantasy Op.107 - Arietta, March & Postlude

    Performer: Sean Shibe.
  • Leo Brouwer

    Musica incidental campesina, for 2 guitars

    Ensemble: Brasil Guitar Duo.
    • NAXOS.
  • Mario Castelnuovo‐Tedesco

    Guitar Concerto No.1 in D major - finale Ritmico e cavalleresco

    Performer: John Williams. Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Charles Groves.
    • CBS.
  • David Kellner

    Fantasia in C major

    Performer: Jakob Lindberg.
    • BIS.
  • Eduardo Sainz de la Maza

    Campanas del alba

    Performer: Johannes Möller.
    • SFZ.