With the concert at Alberton fast approaching, I am busy keeping my solo and duet repertoire in check. One of the pieces I'm going to play was chosen as a tribute to Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi who, had he been miraculously alive today, would be celebrating his 200th Birthday. That is quite a milestone and worthy of something special. So I've chosen a work by the Spanish guitarist composer Julian Arcas who was active performing in the 1860s and happened to be the teacher of Francisco Tarrega. Arcas was quite a prolific composer of guitar repertoire - there are about 50 original works¬†known today - and yet he is not as well known as Tarrega.
One of the most popular works composed by Arcas is his Fantasy on Themes from the Opera Verdi which by strange coincidence was published with Tarrega as the composer. I'm not sure if this was a deliberate case of plagiarism by Tarrega, a publishing error or simply an agreement between two gentlemen of the time, but I like to think that Arcas gave Tarrega his blessing to publish the piece. We will of course never know.
Those who come to my concert at Alberton on December 7th will also hear me play Tarrega's famous Arabian Caprice on a replica guitar similar to the type of instrument that Arcas and Tarrega would have played. It is a copy of an Antonio Torres guitar and was built this year by Auckland luthier Rod Capper. Rod has also made two magnificent copies of 1833 Louis Panormo guitars that will be heard in several duet performances and song accompaniments.