Happy Birthday, Mr. Bream!
The finest classical guitarist in the second generation of the instrument's modern history, a master of the Spanish repertoire who also showed that the guitar could speak languages other than Spanish, the inspiration of many now classic guitar works by Benjamin Britten, Malcolm Arnold and many others, a pioneer in the resurgence of Renaissance music and the lute, a superb Bach interpreter, and a master colorist whose range of tones and touches remains unsurpassed, celebrates his 80th birthday today. Mostly self-taught on guitar, he has built the most impressive discography of any classical guitarist since Segovia, including first-choice recordings of much of the standard repertoire — and this on an instrument whose latest practitioners are far greater in number and skill than their predecessors. I don't mind saying that not only is he my favorite classical guitarist, he has long been one of my favorite classical musicians in any field. So, with music by Joaquín Rodrigo (including the best-ever "Concierto de Aranjuez") and J.S. Bach (the Chaconne) today, and more later in the week, let's wish a happy 80th to Julian Bream! For more, check out this 2007 interview from Gramophone magazine.