I remember laying on the ground listening to that CD and Leyenda came on. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was the most amazing piece of music my young brain had ever heard!! Was that really just one guitar?? I remember thinking, “I have GOT to learn that song!”
That fall, at Hope College, I took a beginning classical guitar class at Hope with Larry Malfroid. I remember before class one time asking him if he knew the piece. He started playing and I was totally impressed.
That piece of music literally changed my life. It was because of that piece I started learning classical guitar which, in turn, made me decide to become a music major which led me to learn composition and so and so on. Here is a version by Julian Bream that I’ve been listening to a lot lately…
Yamashita is my favorite guitarist and it isn’t even close. He is like Tiger Woods 15 years ago. There’s Yamashita and then there is everyone else way, way, far away. He plays with tremendous passion and his technique is amazing.
I’ve been listening to his arrangement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony a lot lately. Of course, you can argue whether or not it should be played on the guitar and if I had my choice I would certainly listen to the original BUT….it is so impressive what he has done. Just check out his performance of the second movement. Not to mention the third and fourth movements.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of high quality videos of his on Youtube. Here are a couple of my favorites:
The last video is his complete performance of the “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. Not really a fan of this piece in its original form but I can certainly appreciate his musicality and technique. The guitars greatest strength is the different colors it can produce (dolce, ponticello, etc) and he demonstrates that in the performance even on this awful video recording.
Here is a little excerpt from the score:
How are you supposed to play that trill and the higher chords at the same time??? Guess what? He does it. Watch the video.
Finally, here is nice interview about one of his concerts:
The song most piano teachers probably hate!! Haha. I was at a retreat this weekend and one of the kids was playing this song so I decided to learn it on the guitar. You can download the sheet music/tab here for free.