William Hearn presented a program featuring the guitar, 19th-centery guitar, lute, and chitarrone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorbo) at Clayton State’s Spivey Hall. I was familiar with Mr. Hearn’s playing from his work with the New Trinity Baroque. The lute is a delicate instrument that is usually too closely microphoned in recordings so that its elegance is often lost. In playing the Gypsies Lilt, the strident chords were displayed nicely in the Spivey ambiance. The chitarrone was featured in a piece by Piccinini. This is a fascinating instrument- it has the usual strings like a lute, but has a large extension for 6 bass strings, which are plucked but not fretted. This too produces a delicate sound that is pretty spectacular. Hearn played a piece by Sor using a 19th-century. While more forthcoming than the lute, this guitar also had a light sound. The modern guitar was used in a work by contemporary composer Dusan Bagdanovic. “The Little Café Suite” (1992) is in four movements each named after a coffee. Particularly pretty was the Decaf, malinconico. I was a dreamy, somewhat sad piece. The final work was by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. It had influences from both Italy and Spain, at least to me.
This was a delightful concert. Mr. Hearn is a skilled performer and he addressed the audience to broaden our understanding of the guitar and music written for it. For me the only thing missing was the ability to sip a nice warm latte during the performance.