Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elmer Bernstein's Concerto for Guitar

Originally posted on February 18, 2008

When people think of classical guitar, Christopher Parkening will inevitably come to mind among connoisseurs of the art. Elmer Bernstein, on the other hand, might not. He certainly will be remembered for his film scores, A Walk on the Wild Side, The Magnificent Seven, etc.

Before passing away in 2004, he wrote a Concerto for Guitar specifically for Parkening, which they recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1999 (Angel). It is a pleasantly diatonic work and the orchestral parts show some of the dramatic bombast of Bernstein’s film scores. The guitar parts do not seem especially difficult, but are memorable, idiomatic to the instrument, and are played with Parkening’s typical lyrical care. It is a refreshing listen.

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