The remarkable Paul Galbraith
for unaccompanied violin (Complete)
arr. Galbraith for 8-string guitar
DE 3232 [a 2-disc set]
Disc One: Sonata No. 1, BWV 1001, in A Minor [orig. G Minor] • Partita No. 1, BWV 1002, in B Minor • Sonata No. 2, BWV 1003, in B Minor [orig. A Minor] Disc Two: Partita No. 2, BWV 1004, in E Minor [orig. D Minor] • Sonata No. 3, BWV 1005, in D Major [orig. C Major] • Partita No. 3, BWV 1006, in E Major (Preludio, Gavotte)
“British guitarist Paul Galbraith has made something of a sensation in the guitar world… extraordinarily skillful, cohesive and passionate performances… sensational guitar music with a remarkable depth of feeling.” Stereo Review
“[He has brought] revolutionary change to playing the guitar… an amazing clarity and a huge dynamic range I have never before heard from any guitarist.” The Times of London
“Magnificently played, thoughtful and majestic performances… a landmark in the history of guitar recordings.” Gramophone
“I’ve never heard anyone play like this.” Classical Guitar
“Paul’s Bach,” as we at Delos call the first two albums by this remarkable musician and innovator, is a landmark. Paul began his series for Delos with the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, and continued with the Bach Lute Suites (below). This first album, complete with Grammy Nomination and Billboard Chart Top 10 status, catapulted Paul to popularity with critics, audiences and the worldwide guitar community.
Paul first won public acclaim in Great Britain when at the age of 17 his performance at the Segovia International Guitar Competition won him the Silver Medal. Segovia, who was present for the competition, called his playing “magnificent.”
Paul’s unique playing position was first revealed in Edinburgh in 1989. His guitar, designed in collaboration with the late David Rubio, features two extra strings — one high, one low — in addition to the usual six. The instrument is supported by a metal endpin that rests on a wooden resonance box. The eight strings and distinctive design of this guitar effectively increase the instrument’s range and possibilities to an extent never before possible. Its unique sound and its innovations have enabled Paul to achieve a new musical dimension in his guitar transcriptions.
Suite in G Minor BWV 995 • Suite in E Minor BWV 996 • Suite in C Minor BWV 997 • Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-flat Major BWV 998 • Paul Galbraith, 8-string guitar
“10/10. Warm and resonant sound yet highly detailed and confidential. To these appealing sonics, Galbraith brings consummate musicianship and an unerring sense of phrasing and lyrical line. His playing is sensitive, astute, and seems to fully convey the core essence of every movement. The recorded sound is ideal…” — ClassicsToday
“It sets a new precedent for expressive and intellectual achievement in Bach guitar performance” American Record Guide
Paul shares his insightful thoughts about the suites in this follow-up Bach album:
“These four lute works span practically the entire length of Bach’s composing life, from the E Minor Suite, written in his twenties, through the “middle-period” G Minor Suite, written probably while he was at Cöthen, to the C Minor and E-flat works, written during Bach’s final composing years.
“Despite a marked shift in style across these different periods, there can be felt, nevertheless, a common thread which ties these works together, a thread which reflects Bach’s highly individual response to the lute.
“For all the lute works are based, unusually, on sacred themes, taken from the St. Matthew Passion, the B Minor Mass, the Christmas Oratorio, and, in the case of the E Minor Suite, a hymn tune, “Was bist du doch, O Seele, so betrübet? (Why art thou yet, O soul, so troubled?”)
“Bach seems to have invested the lute with a specific “symbolic” image. It’s known that he enjoyed symbolism of different kinds, including that of musical instruments, which he apparently developed, at least in part, from references to music in the Bible (one of his Bibles is full of underlining’s and annotations to this effect). Furthermore, he seems to have felt a special fondness for the sound of the lute, for this select group of pieces is highly inspired, even by Bach’s standards.”
In the course of his five Delos albums, Paul has further tweaked and developed his unusual 8-string guitar and resonance box. His delightful Haydn Sonatas album (DE 3239) and sophisticated arrangements of folk songs, “In Every Lake the Moon Shines Full” (DE 3236) followed. His latest recording, “French Impressions,” with music of Debussy and Ravel, has been a major success as well (DE 3250).
New arrangements for 8-string guitar
Paul Galbraith, 8-string guitar
Debussy: Prélude “La fille aux cheveux de lin”(The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) • Children’s Corner (Petite Suite): Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum • Jimbo’s Lullaby • Serenade of the Doll • The Snow Is Dancing • Little Shepherd • Golliwogg’s Cakewalk • Page d’album • Ètude “Pour les notes repétées” • Elégie
Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte • A la manière de … Borodine (Valse) • Prélude • Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite): Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant; Petit Poucet; Laideronnette, Impératrice des pagodes; Les entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête; Le jardin féerique • Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn
“Galbraith’s playing is a joy to listen to. It has intensity of focus and immediacy of expression that are unique in the guitar world.” American Record Guide
“Unique clarity and controlled passion… a soaring dignity… his fascinating new take on Debussy Children’s Corner makes the piano piece sing on guitar, as if it belonged there, all dreamily rippling textures and lucid, tender spirit.” Los Angeles Times
“The first sublime notes of Paul Galbraith’s ‘French Impressions’ immediately indicate that a satisfying listening experience is in store. For his fifth solo project, the innovative Scottish-born classical guitarist Galbraith chose beloved piano works by French impressionists Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Debussy’s La fille aux Cheveux de Lin and the six brief movements from Petite Suite (including ‘The Snow is Dancing,’ ‘The Little Shepherd,’ and‘Golliwogg’s Cakewalk’), as well Ravel’s Pavane pour une Infante Défunte and Mother Goose Suite, will be familiar to many…” Encyclopedia.com
“It’s so easy to play transcriptions in a way that merely excites nostalgia for the original version. The great thing is for the transcription to be convincing to the point, that you feel it was originally conceived for your instrument,” Paul says. “While working on this project, I’ve had a particularly clear mental picture of Debussy and Ravel close at hand. It’s an odd fact that while knowing full well how autonomous a work of art becomes once it leaves its creator, we nevertheless still tend to feel a strong sense of responsibility towards the person who gave it life in the first place.”
Paul Galbraith, 8-String Guitar
Sonata for Piano in A-Flat, Hob. XVI: 46 (mvt 1. Allegro Moderato, mvt 3. Finale – Presto) • Sonata for Piano in B-Flat, Hob. XVI: 2 • Sonata for Piano in F, Hob. XIX: 47 • Sonata for Piano in G Minor, Hob. XVI: 44
“Nothing less than enchanting – a rare item in the world of the classical guitar” The Guitar Review
“Senior Viennese classical master Franz Joseph Haydn didn’t write any music for the guitar, but that hasn’t stopped fretmaster Paul Galbraith from making a beautiful album of Haydn guitar sonatas. Galbraith imaginatively transcribed four of Haydn’s piano sonatas for his eight-string classical guitar, which he plays in an upright manner akin to a cello. Typically, he performs the pieces for everything they’re worth, which is quite a lot—particularly the divine G Minor/Bminor sonata, 11 minutes of the purest instrumental song. This disc should have every chance of repeating the success of Galbraith’s dark-horse hit, a two-disc Delos set of his transcriptions of Bach’s solo violin works that landed in the top 10 of Billboard’s classical chart and is still proving popular. ‘Paul Galbraith Plays Haydn’ is a textbook case of the living, breathing art of classical music.” Billboard
“This amazing musician . . . performs Haydn so convincingly that it is hard to imagine that these sonatas were not conceived for guitar. The guitar brings a warmth and flexibility of tone and phrasing that the keyboard cannot match, and Galbraith’s smooth and flawless technique, his control of nuance and dynamics, and his subtlety of musicianship are quite amazing . . . an astonishing recording.” The Absolute Sound
Folk tunes from Spain, Scotland, Greece, Hungary, and Norway
Paul Galbraith, 8-string guitar
This 52-track CD includes: Tonadas (on Spanish Folk Tunes) (Volume 2) Joaquin Nin-Culmell • Songs of the Hebrides (Scotland) Marjory Kennedy-Fraser • Miniatures on Greek Folk Tunes Yannis Costantinidis • Aires de la Mancha (Songs of La Mancha) (orig. for guitar) Federico Moreno-Torroba • “For Children” Hungarian Folk Tunes, Volume 1 Béla Bartók (arr. Szendrey-Karper/Galbraith) • Norwegian Folk Tunes from Op. 66 Edvard Grieg
“Paul Galbraith plays these folk tunes arrangements with the same remarkable clarity and articulate musicality that he displayed in his acclaimed releases of Bach, Haydn and others … The Songs of the Hebrides … are harmonically lush and sound spacious and dark on Galbraith’s 8-string guitar. Here and in the Greek Miniatures of Constantinides Galbraith shows that he is as at home with harmonic and melodic simplicity as he is with more contrapuntally complex material … Galbraith’s playing is a joy to listen to. It has an intensity of focus and immediacy of expression that are unique in the guitar world.” American Record Guide
“An album of folksongs is something I’ve always wanted to make. Collecting musical mementos from the various countries that I’ve visited… the tremendous diversity of rhythmic impulse, ornate melody and harmonic background. As Confucius said, ‘Show me the folk music of a people, and I will tell you of their character.’” Paul Galbraith
UPDATE – NEW 2017 DIGITAL SINGLE
This stunning 2004 recording of his transcription of Louis Couperin’s elegiac harpsichord masterpiece, the Pavane in F-sharp Minor, was initially intended to be part of another release, but was not included in the end. Delos is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Paul’s emergence as a Delos artist by finally releasing his remarkable recording of the Pavane as a digital-only single.