'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

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Unexpected Concert and the Palau de la Musica Catalana

Robin had an eventful first few days on the Queen Victoria.
Three concerts in three days, one of which came as rather a surprise.
After settling in, his first performance went very well, with a particularly good response from the audience to the three pieces by Dilermando Reis, and 'Zapateado', by Sabicas.

On the second day Robin couldn't understand why people kept saying they were looking forward to his concert - later. (He was lying on a sun lounger reading Sherlock Holmes at the time...)
As far as he was aware this was a day of rest and rehearsal.
Eventually, he returned to his room only to receive a frantic 'phone call.
There had been some sort of schedule mix up and he was asked to play an extra performance that very day - in an hours time.
Actually, I'm quite pleased I wasn't in the vicinity when he took the call...

Luckily Robin has four complete programmes at his fingertips at the moment, so he rushed off to warm up and prepare for this unexpected concert.
Despite the short notice the performance went very well, as did the one the following day.

Since then Robin has had plenty of time to recover.
He arrived in Barcelona and made straight for the 'Palau de la Musica Catalana'.
The reason for his interest, was not only the stunning building, but also because this was the venue for the premiere of Rodrigo's 'Concierto de Aranjuez', back in 1940.

He thoroughly enjoyed his day soaking up the history and only detoured to a guitar shop he has visited once before. (Mainly because it was nearby and Robin can't resist any guitar shop, but also because he has been there once before and discovered they stock copies of his book, 'The Guitar Gymnasium'.)

Since then he has been to Monte-Carlo, well actually a port not far away as the weather was too bad to dock in Monte-Carlo itself, and then to Civitavecchia.
Today he should have been in Alghero, Sardinia, but once again the weather has thwarted plans and the QV is unable to dock.
This is rather a shame as Alghero looks very nice and is also one of the few places Robin hasn't been to before.
Never mind. Maybe next time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Miles Davis, Stravinsky, Herrmann and The Beatles - A Musical Connection?

One of the nice parts of Robin being home for a few weeks is that we get to spend time together listening to music.
Generally the whole family is involved in this practice and occasionally some strange conversations ensue.

It's so important for everyone to listen to a variety of styles, but more so for musicians.
For centuries musicians from all genres have listened to and learnt from their predecessors. Inevitably they are influenced by the music they hear and especially those pieces which have a powerful effect on them.

The whole conversation started as we listened to the Psycho Suite by Bernard Herrmann.
The original handwritten score for this seminal piece of film music was recently offered for auction but, suprisingly, didn't reach it's minimum price.

Herrmann always will be associated with the many fabulous scores he wrote to complement some of Alfred Hitchcock's most successful films.
One of the most famous being 'Psycho'.
Most people recognise the famous dissonant violin glissandi which are inextricably linked to the famous shower scene, but in fact the entire score is an outstanding piece of music.

This brought the conversation round to George Martin and The Beatles.
Apparently, after seeing Psycho, George Martin was inspired to write the string quartet arrangement for Eleanor Rigby.
When you listen to the original Beatles track rcorded in 1966 you can certainly hear the 'Psycho' influence.

But our musical connections route continued.
Robin felt there was another connection to Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring'.
As we listened we both could hear echoes of Herrmann's Psycho Suite.
Could it be that Bernard Herrmann had been inspired by The Rite of Spring?

Then an even more unusual twist.
Robin realised there was a possible connection between the second lyrical theme from the Psycho score and Miles Davis' second contrasting lyrical theme from 'Milestones'....could it be that Herrmann was, wittingly or unwittingly, also influenced by Milestones?

We could certainly hear similarities between this and the second theme of Psycho which provides a perfect release of the tension created by the initial rhythmic and nervous twitching of the strings.
'Milestones' predates Psycho and could well have been part of Herrman's musical landscape.
No music is composed in a vacuum and influences can be very diverse and, sometimes, completely unexpected.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

'The Waterfront' - New on Reverbnation

Today I am going to talk about a new track I have added to the player in the side bar, which is also available on our Reverbnation page.

The piece is called 'The Waterfront', and came about after a long day in the recording studio with the Hill/Wiltschinsky Guitar Duo.

The engineer asked Robin to stay behind as they had been working on a piece and wanted some electric guitar adding.

Always ready for a challenge Robin put away his classical guitar and was duly supplied with an electric one.

The resulting piece of music is strangely hypnotic, and in a very different style to the one Robin had been working on all day!
In total it is 4 minutes 36 seconds long and as the piece progresses there are a few Hill specialties in there with some nice answering phrases.

So listen and enjoy 'The Waterfront', either in the side bar player, track 4, or over on Reverbnation.