Anything sounds good when accompanied by soft acoustic guitar music.

As I learned last night at a classical guitar concert, anything sounds good when accompanied by soft acoustic guitar.

Most of the stuff played was Renassaince Faire era, nostalgic in that strange way Main Street, U.S.A. is supposed to be. But among all the ye old Gutenberg Bible stuff, I discovered a new composer– Leo Brouwer (1939 – ).

His works were the highlight of the concert. His Etudes Simples, written around the early seventies, have a strong Nick Drake (think “One of These Things First”) and fusion (think Jaco) influence. Theyhave a haunting, soulful nature that speaks of Bruce Cockburn and Joni Mitchell. No. 1 in paticular stands out, with its throbbing, Weather Report-esque bass line.

William Grant Still and Bernstein are famous for bringing the blues to their classical; Duke Ellington and George Gerswhin are famous for bringing the classical to their blues. Maybe Leo Brouwer has brought the folk/fusion to his classical.

The guitar ensemble also played Brouwer’s Cuban Landscape with Rain. This longer, almost-process-music work imitates the sound of thunderstorms, drizzle, and hail. Like Whitacre’s Cloudburst, it succeeded when it broke into an aleatoric section– as the guiarists imitated hail, they slapped their strings loudly and randomly. It worked.


2 Responses to “Anything sounds good when accompanied by soft acoustic guitar music.”

  1. I enjoyed hearing about your discovery of the music of Leo Brouwer at an acoustic guitar concert. Brouwer is of Afro-Cuban descent, and is profiled at my website,, along with the African American composer William Grant Still, whose name I was also glad to see in the post. Leo Brouwer is one of the best known classical guitarists in the world, with a particularly large number of film scores to his credit among his many compositions. “Cuban Landscape with Rain” is one of my favorite Brouwer works. I have linked to this post from my blog today. I hope you will take a look at the biographies of 52 composers, conductors and instrumentalists of African descent of the past 500 years at Over 100 brief audio samples can be heard as well.
    Best wishes, Bill Zick

  2. Cool site, love the info.

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