Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
Usually when people think of "classical" music they think of orchestras, or violin virtuosos, or pianists, but they don't necessarily think of guitar. The guitar's typically thought of as a rock instrument. The guitar, however, was a favorite instrument of master orchestrater, Hector Berlioz, violin virtuoso, Níccolo Paganini and pianist Franz Schubert. Berlioz was the first major composer who wasn't a keyboard player and rather would use the guitar to help with harmony, orchestration, etc. With the exception of the 24 Caprices, all of Paganini's music published in his lifetime included the guitar. He wrote an incredible amount of music for solo guitar and chamber music with guitar. Schubert adored the guitar, and early in his life composed a cantata for male voices and guitar for his father's name day. He also added a cello part to one of Matiegka's trios, a contemporary composer, in essence making it a quartet, which was falsely attributed to him for years.
Chamber music with the guitar, especially during the Romantic period, abounds. The Philadelphia/Baltimore based group, Philmore Ensemble, focuses on this special instrument and the chamber music written for it. There is so much beautiful music written for combinations such as, guitar/flute/violin, or guitar/flute/viola, or guitar/flute/soprano, etc, that unfortunately gets little attention. The Philmore Ensemble aims to bring much of this forgotten music to life in addition to performing music from recent decades for similar instrumental combinations. If Berlioz, Paganini and Schubert thought so highly of the guitar and its role in music, it certainly deserves our attention.
Philmore Ensemble's CD release concert is on Saturday, May 21st @ 8:00 PM at the Philadelphia Ethical Society.