'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Concert in Mugdock

Mugdock Country Park was the beautiful setting for a highly successful concert last night.
As predicted, the venue was sold out well in advance, which always bodes well for an appreciative audience.
Robin wasn't disappointed.

It was one of those nights when all factors seemed to fall into place.
Not just musically with a lovely programme including pieces by, Tarrega, Sor, Brouwer, Dyens, Albeniz and Sabicas. Not to mention some of Robin's own compositions, one being 'Return to Islay', which he composed after being inspired by the beautiful island of Islay on a previous Scottish tour.

This piece he dedicated to the memory of an old friend, and previous manager, Dave Barnes, who had first introduced Robin to Mugdock, and seen him perform there many times.
Some of his family and friends were present and a few tears were shed during this tranquil and evocative piece.

But equally as important as the music are the spoken introductions.
It's vital that any artist engages with their audience to create a wonderful and entertaining evening.
As I have said previously here on the blog, luckily for Robin, he is quite at ease with this aspect of his performance.
That isn't to say he doesn't invest a lot of time and energy researching the pieces he is playing, and deciding the points of interest which may just add that little bit more to the audiences enjoyment.
Alongside short discussions about the techniques employed in certain pieces this makes for interesting listening for guitarists and non-guitarists alike.

There was one difficult moment for Robin, right at the beginning of the concert, in the first piece, Malaguena.
Part way through his false thumb nail flew off.
Regular readers will know this happens from time to time.
On this occasion he was able to complete the piece and the offending nail was pointed out to him by some of the more observant members of the audience.
He retrieved it and re glued it into position all whilst introducing the next piece.

Many of the audience spoke to him after the concert which is always a nice way to receive feedback.
Then it was back to the hotel before a quick dash to a local pub to partake in a little post concert relaxation.

Now he is home but not for long.
Packing is underway for an exciting trip next week.
Although Robin does find it difficult spending such a lot of time away from home, even he is looking forward to this one.
It will be a first for him and you will just have to keep checking in to find out where he is and what he is doing......

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Stories Behind the Music - Robin Hill on Reverbnation

Many, but not all, of the pieces featured in the new player, found in the sidebar, have been discussed here before on this blog.
But I thought it might be nice for new readers and followers to access the background information to these pieces, and have the opportunity to listen whilst they learn about some of the history of Robin and his music.

So to make life easy for you I have put all the links together in this post today.
So here goes.

Track 1: Eternal Dance.

Eternal Dance has been discussed many times here as it is a powerful piece of music. To learn more about the concerto version, as found on 'Virtuoso', visit. 'Arrival on iTunes and Eternal Dance - Robin Hill'.

For the quartet version, found on, 'Eklectica', then try this page, 'Robin Hill and Eklectica Play 'Eternal Dance'.

Track 2: Hispanic Dance.

One of the posts relating to 'Hispanic Dance' gives details of the composer, Claude Bolling, and more information about the four members of 'Eklectica', alongside details of the seven movements featured in the concerto, of which Hispanic Dance is the first. 'Robin Hill Plays Claude Bolling's 'Concerto for Classic Guitar and Jazz Piano Trio'.

Track 3: Bach Invention No 8.

Bach invention was first mentioned, very briefly, here, and in a bit more detail with this post, 'Robin Hill and Peter Wiltschinsky 'Arrival'.
I must say, that the Bach, along with track 8 on Arrival, Felix Mendelssohn's 'Song Without Words No1 Op62', are two of my duo favourites.

Track 4: Fiesta de Xabia.

I should point out that no bulls were hurt during the inspiration for this piece. To understand how Fiesta de Xabia was conceived then read, 'Fiesta de Xabia' by Robin Hill - Guitar'.
As yet, this piece is not available to buy, but one of the advantages of reading a blog such as this one is that you get little taster of things to come!

Track 5: Tarantella - Suite Italiana.

Suite Italiana was composed especially for the Hill/Wiltschinsky Guitar Duo, which you can read about here.
This honour came about after Mario Gangi heard the duo performing one of his pieces, 'Suite Spagnola', which you can read about on the post, 'Track 4 - 'Arrival' - Mario Gangi'.

Track 6: Wheatfield Under Troubled Skies.

This is an orchestral composition by Robin and you may be surprised to hear there isn't a guitar in it!
It's a beautiful piece of music and there are more details on the post, 'World Premiere - 'Wheatfield under Troubled Skies' - Robin Hill'.

Track 7: Palace of the King.

Now for something completely different, and one that really does highlight the unusual twists and turns that a career in music can take.
This is true Rock 'n' Roll with some of the world's best. Read this, 'Deep Purple Haze Days'.

Track 8: Wizard of Waukesha.

This is one of Robin's bands, Hooper, and yes, the man in the picture with very long hair, and playing a Les Paul guitar, is Robin....take a look here.

Track 9: Fast Forward.

This song has been around for many years, and is another example of Robin on electric guitar, playing one of his own compositions. To find out more about Robin's band, 'Hooper', (which, incidentally, includes two BBC Philharmonic Orchestra players!) read, 'Robin Hill and Travis Bean...Rewind to Fast Forward.'

Track 10: Caprice No 7 - Legnani.

Another example of a track not yet available to buy, but our gift to you. Learn more about Legnani here.


Track 11: Celebration.

'Celebration' is a song performed by another band Robin has been involved in. They made an incredible sound and had a phenomenal brass section. Check them out at, 'Force Ten To Be Reckoned With'.

So there we are.
A little bit of history attached to all the tracks currently in the player.
I can, and will, be adding new pieces from time to time, so be sure to keep checking!
Just follow the link and then 'click' on the desired track in the player.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Robin Hill Joins Reverbnation

You may have noticed a few new elements to this blog.
To help spread the word of music we have now joined Reverbnation. This is Robin's Reverbnation page.

This enables us to reach a wider audience and also to share in other peoples' musical experiences.
There's a permanent link to this page in the sidebar, plus an area for you to add your email address, if you wish to keep informed of any new developments.

You will also see a music player in the sidebar which has a selection of solo, duo and electric guitar pieces, (all featuring Robin), for you to choose from.
This will remain in place, and there should be something there to suit whatever mood you happen to be in!

So have a listen, and remember, you can play any of these tracks whenever you visit.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two Guitar Concerts for You

Two dates for your diary:

Mugdock Country Park - Friday 27th February @ 7.45 pm

Mugdock Country Park is a beautiful setting, and one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions, making it ideal for an evening of lovely music.
Details of the concert can be found here, 'Mugdock Country Park - Events,' and as they say on their page, "booking is essential," "classical guitar at its best," and, "not to be missed!"
Robin has performed here many times before, so if you are able to attend, I really do recommend order tickets very soon.
They are priced at £15/£13 which includes a light supper in the interval.

However, if you can't wait that long, and happen to be in the Blackpool area tomorrow, you can catch a lunchtime recital in Poulton-Le-Fylde.
It's the perfect way to spend your lunch break, with the hour long concert starting at 1pm.
The venue:

Poulton-Le-Fylde Methodist Church

I know it will be Friday the 13th, but we're not superstitious here....
Apparently, for those not familiar with the area, the Church is near the Teanlowe Centre.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

House Concerts with Robin Hill

Isn't it strange how trends ebb and flow over hundreds of years?
Here I am about to discuss a phenomena that has taken America by storm and is beginning to make waves here in the UK.

A house concert is literally that.
A concert in your own home.
You don't even need a particularly large space as the whole point is to create an intimate environment in which to enjoy live music.
Think miniature Carnegie or Wigmore Hall in your own living room.

Generally these are private events and all that is needed is a reasonably sized group of friends to share the experience with you.

But in the area of classical music, this is certainly nothing new.
Musicians toured, performing at peoples homes as a matter of course, through the 16th/17th/18th and 19th Centuries.
Frequently they would compose a piece of music specifically for their host or patron, sometimes to celebrate a particular event.
For example, John Dowland's, 'The Earl of Essex Galliard' and 'Mrs Vaux's Gigge'.

Whilst lutenists may have paved the way, the guitar is ideally suited to concerts in intimate environments where it can be heard at its unamplified best.

Robin is used to performing concerts in a variety of settings.
From major venues with audiences in the thousands, (I think the largest being with Pavarotti were there were 25 000, and 3 500 for a performance of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with the Liverpool Philharmonic, and I don't know how many when he played the James Bond theme at the Proms in the Park, London!).
Or T.V. shows beamed to 6 million viewers (admittedly he couldn't see them all but he knew they were there...), to average sized smaller venues of a couple of hundred people.

But Robin, like many musicians, actually enjoys performing in smaller settings.
To be able to see the audience, (stage lights usually mean you can't make out any details past the first few rows), and receive immediate feedback, is very rewarding.
Robin has actually frequently performed what are now called, 'House Concerts'. Often they have been associated with events, an example being a surprise birthday party for a lifelong guitar enthusiast and maker.
You can imagine how pleased he was to find Robin in his lounge, right in front of him, and to have the chance to speak to him between pieces!

So now you can take advantage of the centuries old tradition of holding your very own House Concert.
For anyone with an interest in music, the guitar in particular, the opportunity to observe a performance in such close proximity, and have the chance to talk to Robin about technique, hand positions, scales and arpeggios, the price of fish.. whatever you like really, would be highly enjoyable for both parties.

Neither does it matter where you live.
Robin performs all over the world as it is.
We would simply tie it in with his schedule, or even promote a tour simply for house concerts in your area/country.
All you have to do is contact me to discuss availability, length of concert required etc. I should also point out that it won't cost the host house anything! All will be explained when you contact me.
It really is that simple. Steve Lawson (solobasssteve), has recently toured the US, organising many of his house concerts through twitter whilst en route!

So contact me, in whatever format you prefer....
Give it a try and be the envy of your friends!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rodrigo Round Cape Horn and from Chile to Chilly

After Robin's arrival in LA, he didn't catch a flight home to the UK, but instead made the long journey to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Unfortunately he didn't have any time to explore this exciting place, (but will be back there later in the year), as he had to immediately board Cunard's QM2 as she set sail.

Nor was there much time to acclimatize as his first concert was the very next day.
So it was straight down to some serious practice to get the travel weary fingers in perfect working order.

Despite feeling decidedly jet lagged the concert went very well and made an immediate impression on the audience, many of whom attended the other two solo concerts he performed.

But Robin was also reunited, albeit temporarily, with his old friend Izzy Cooper. You can read more about Izzy here, 'Review: Robin Hill & Izzy Cooper' and 'Post Rodrigo Adagio'. Alternatively, if you type Izzy Cooper into the 'search this blog' function at the top you will find all the references I have made.

A musical collaboration did take place as Izzy asked Robin to join her to perform Rodrigo's 'Aranjuez Mon Amour'. He did, and it was a huge success.
Shortly after Izzy left and another friend, also a soprano, Annette Wardell, arrived.
I have previously mentioned Annette here, 'Soprano, Socialising and Nova Scotia.'

The headline acts tend to stick together, as there are only a couple on board at any one time, and Annette certainly helped out during Robin's last concert when she manned the computer to 'bring in' the orchestra as Robin performed the entire movement of Rodrigo's 'Adagio', from the Concierto de Aranjuez.
Annette did well, and coped with the tricky orchestral entrance after the second cadenza.
Having said that, Robin also did well and was rewarded with a standing ovation and request from passengers to perform more concerts!

Whilst all these musical events were taking place the QM2 navigated the trecherous seas around Cape Horn.
This was actually Robin's second experience of Cape Horn and it was relatively calm as opposed to his last experience when they were 40 foot high and breaking windows of the lower decks...see 'Stormy Weather' to refresh your memory.

Fianlly Robin arrived at Valparaio, Chile, and was driven to Santiago to begin the long and tortuous journey home.
Whoever books the flights certainly likes him to suffer for his art as he endured a 12 1/2 hour flight to Madrid, 4 hours to London, Heathrow, then just time for a quick coffee on the 40 minute flight to Manchester.

Thankfully he avoided all the snow which hit us the following day.