Knowing - For this week’s Monday Memory we have “Knowing”, a poignant and emotional piece for me. When I hear or play this piece, the melody moves through my consciousness shining a light on memories from my past. In an accessible renaissance style, it moves in the middle development section toward shades of Scarlatti, a composer whose inventive playfulness I adore. From the suite "Glimmerings".
Jamelan - Something out of the ordinary for this week's Monday Memory - In "Jamelan" I try to give the impression of Gamelan music from Indonesia. Jamelan is from "Just Music", an unusual collection of pieces I wrote for guitar fretted in Just Intonation. Used in the middle ages, Just Intonation offers mathematically pure major chords in the home key, but doesn't allow for much modulation because chords out of the key can be noticeably out of tune. In Jamelan, I've explored the tension in these unusual intervals in a different way to give the desired Gamelan effect.
Sarabande - For this week’s Monday Memory we offer a live video take of the beautiful Sarabande from the 3rd Cello Suite in C major by Johann Sebastian Bach. I play this suite at pitch with no transposition, necessitating tuning the bottom two strings of the guitar to C and G. I also don’t add any notes and play the music as it is from the original cello score. Playing Bach is always a reminder of how sublime music can be.
California Breeze - For this week’s Monday Memory we have "California Breeze”, a duet I recorded with Dai Kimura for Sony Japan in 2005. The video was filmed in Malibu California by Sony to promote the Japanese-only release of the recording. Originally titled “Genève”, I wrote this in 1986 while visiting Geneva Switzerland. I renamed it "California Breeze" at the request of Sony for the recording with Dai.
Emergence - For this week’s Monday Memory we have a true blast from the past. This video is from my 1991 concert at the peerless Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, and I’m playing “Emergence”, one of my more virtuostic works. But it’s the hair that gets me when I see this, my how some things change. The video of this concert was rescued from a sole remaining VHS tape copy. I’m happy to have a record of the evening, albeit blurry and grainy. Luckily the sound recording is of good quality. Sadly the Ambassador Auditorium, probably the best concert hall on the West Coast, no longer hosts concerts. So join me on the stage thirty-two years ago, in remembrance of the Ambassador Auditorium, for this performance of “Emergence”.
By Candlelight - For this week’s Monday Memory, we have a new video, By Candlelight. Written in 1998, I tried to capture that magic feeling of sacred space that can emerge from a meditative evening with only candles for illumination. Filmed live, I'm playing on a very special guitar built by master luthier José Romanillos, the last guitar he ever made with cypress back and sides. By Candlelight - come enter the sanctuary for a moment of refuge from the disorder of the mundane. From the collection “Kinderlight".
Little One - To bring in the New Year, we have “Little One” for our first Monday Memory of 2024. This takes me right back to my childhood, playing guitar as a boy in a folkloric style. I hope this gives you all a good feeling for ringing in the New Year with joy, hope and happiness. From the collection “Four Fingerpaintings".
O Christmas Tree - Another holiday classic? Yes! Here is my arrangement of "O Christmas Tree", which we released in 2021. An attempt to convey the sweetness and depth of the season, I wish everyone a wonderful holiday.
Cryptic Triptych - For this week’s Monday Memory selection we have another cool swing jazz piece, very loosely based once again on We Three Kings - once I began arranging that carol, I just kept going and created this more abstract version, which became an independent composition. You only recognize the basis for the composition in the B section, all else is more of an abstraction.
Poem No. 2 - For this week’s Monday Memory selection we re-visit “Poem No. 2”, from my collection “Seven Poems”. I’ll repeat what I said before about this collection - I like music that gives one a sense of dreaming, and evokes spacious and dream-like atmospheres, taking one out of the mundane and into more rarefied realms. To that end, I wrote Seven Poems for guitar, and as the title implies, approaching music poetically allowed me to create forms and structures that I might not have otherwise realized.
We Three Kings - For this week's Monday Memory, and in keeping with the season, here’s a brand new video of a Christmas carol for you, the classic “We Three Kings”, filmed live in the Den. I’ve arranged it in a jazz swing style, very cool, to complement the waltz nature of the piece, while trying to hip it up a bit. Merry merry!
Awake - For this week's Monday Memory we have “Awake", a very easy student piece from the collection "4 in A in 4". All four of the pieces in this collection are in a mode of "A" and in 4/4 time, hence the title. One of my missions as a composer, as I’ve always said, is to create easy pieces for students that have current stylistic and musical relevance. These are some of the simplest pieces I have composed for students, but I gave them pleasing themes and forms that makes them seem like a more involved musical pieces - at least, that was my intent! I hope you enjoy “Awake”, the first little piece in the collection.
Skeleton - For this week's Monday Memory, we have a brand new video for you. "Skeleton" is is a quirky, rhythmic student-level piece which wrote a long time ago (in the late 1980’s), but we just now filmed our first video of it. In keeping with the Halloween season, I am joined by Charles, our resident skeleton, who tickled my back while I was playing. From the collection "Eight Dreamscapes"
Annie's Song - For this week's Monday Memory, I’m proud to revisit "Annie's Song" - a piece for my wonderful wife, who helps me so much in everything I do. I couldn’t make all the music I do without her. I hope you all enjoy hearing this very personal composition. From the collection “Seven Spirits".
The Equations of Beauty, i - For our Monday Memories offering this week, we have the movement “i” from “The Equations of Beauty”. EOB is a six-movement suite, and each movement is named for a mathematical constant or variable. This movement, “i”, represents an imaginary number, the square root of negative one. This number helps mathematicians move out of our reality into other dimensions, which is a cool concept no matter how you think about it.
Chant - For this week’s Monday Memories, we have a new video of my early simple piece “Chant”, which reminds me of medieval times, monks chanting in shadowed, echoing spaces. And since I discovered the secret of time travel, sometimes I just have to go back many centuries to clear my head and sit by a medieval fire and play some music. From the collection “Eight Discernments".
Autumn Streets - For this week’s Monday Memory we have “Autumn Streets”, a student piece I wrote in Germany in 2003. To keep beginners interested in guitar, I’ve made it a priority to create works that are fairly easy to play but are musically sophisticated, and also stylistically relevant in today's musical world, as an antidote to the phalanx on 19th century tutorial works that often confront guitar pupils. From the collection “Seven in Essence".
Letting Go - For our Monday Memories this week, we revisit an older piece called Letting Go. This goes back a few years, as my younger visage testifies. Filming took place during a concert called Primal Twang, which included guitar luminaries Eric Johnson, Doc Watson, Mason Williams, Albert Lee and more. Quite a cast to share a stage with. The concert was scripted and narrated by Dan Crary, and it’s a joy to relive some of those moments through this video.
Shadows Only Come From Light - This weeks' Monday Memory is a new release! "Shadows" is a composition I wrote for a friend’s birthday. This piece is in the poignant, mysterious style that I like so much to explore. Annie and I enjoyed letting the evocative title direct our artistic palette in the making of this video.
Lullaby for Caroline - Our selections for this week evokes a gentle and spacious atmosphere that blends the mystical edge between awake and dreaming. From the collection "Dreams and Lullabies".
Poem No. 1 - I like music that gives one a sense of dreaming, and evokes spacious and dream-like atmospheres, taking one out of the mundane and into more rarefied realms. To that end, I wrote Seven Poems for guitar, and as the title implies, approaching music poetically allowed me to create forms and structures that I might not have otherwise realized. For this weeks Monday Memory, we revisit the first in the series, “Poem No. 1”. From the collection “Seven Poems”.
A Minor Duet - A Minor Duet - A very baroque and canonic duet, an exercise in writing authentically in an earlier style, one of the many arts being lost today at an ever increasing pace of extinction. Maintaining relevance by rigorous development of experiential skills, I gave myself the opportunity to be my own duet partner. From collection Little Book of Duets.
Full Circle - Written for an old friend, Mark Valenti, who I met in Hollywood four decades ago. We have been through a lot together, and Full Circle brings us back around to the present after many years of life's vicissitudes. A very meaningful piece for me, and Annie and I had fun with the video post production too. In DADGAD tuning for those that want to know.
Yamour - This spirited piece emulates the sound of a band on one guitar, with a hint of jazz and a glimmer of Brazil. It’s one of my favorite works, and was a milestone for me compositionally to surmount the formidable challenge of composing with authority in what is now called ‘Yamour’ tuning, DADF#BD. I wrote Yamour for my friend and colleague, the fine Italian guitarist Andrea Vettoretti.
Snowflight - one of my early and most popular student pieces, I'm pleased to see this piece played all around the world by students of all ages. Seeing so many videos of Snowflight on the internet, we decided a while ago to make our own. From my collection "Eight Discernments".
Sweet Life - A very personal and lyrical expression of my long intertwining of music and life.