ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Classical Guitar Music CD's You Can't Live Without

Updated on August 16, 2012
The classical guitar is a uniquely expressive instrument. This article looks at some essential recordings from true masters of classical guitar.
The classical guitar is a uniquely expressive instrument. This article looks at some essential recordings from true masters of classical guitar. | Source

The classical guitar is truly unique among musical instruments. One of the few instruments that can simultaneously play both melody and accompaniment, a classical guitar performance has a warmth and intimacy not often heard with other instruments or ensembles.

Essential Classical Guitar CDs

The repertoire for classical guitar literally spans centuries. For a recording to be classified as "can't live without", it must contain works from the best composers, as performed by true masters of the instrument. The recordings listed below come from six of the finest musicians to ever play classical guitar, and provide a good cross-section of what the instrument is capable of.

These recordings form an excellent classical guitar "essentials" collection. For those who want to expand beyond the basic collection, I've listed a number of CDs that I think would be good additions.

Christopher Parkening, The Great Recordings (Label: EMI Classics)

This 2-disc collection (over two hours of music), contains Parkening's own favorite recordings from his 25 years at EMI. Selections range from the baroque era to works by 20th century composers such as Debussy and Ravel. Parkening performs several compositions from Johann Sebastian Bach, including Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (see video, right), as well as classical pieces from Mozart and François Couperin. Also included are compositions from noted romantic-era composers Fernando Sor, Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados.

Paul Galbraith, Paul Galbraith Performs Mozart, Bach and Britten (Label: Mashulka Productions, Inc.)

This recording includes Galbraith's performances of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 2 in F Major, Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No. 4 in E Flat Major, and Nocturnal After John Dowland, for Guitar, Op. 70 by 20th century British composer Benjamin Britten.

Manuel Barrueco, 300 Years of Guitar Masterpieces (Label: Vox Classical)

As the title suggests, this collection (three discs, containing nearly three hours of music) contains quite a wide variety of music. Composers represented include Bach, Albeniz, Granados, Domenico Scarlatti, Niccolò Paganini, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chávez and others.

David Russell, Art of the Guitar (Label: Telarc)

This is a varied, adventurous collection of music. Several of the composers represented, such as Isaac Albeniz, Fernando Sor and Heitor Villa-Lobos, are familiar to followers of classical guitar, but the collection also includes transcriptions of short piano pieces from Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, as well as selections from 20th century Venezuelan composer Vicente Emilio Sojo, and music from the score for the 1978 film The Deer Hunter.

Julian Bream and John Williams, Together Again (Label: RCA)

Guitarist virtuosos Julian Bream and John Williams (not the famous composer/conductor) perform Suite for 2 Lutes by baroque composer George Phillip Telemann, compositions from Albeniz and Granados, and works from Debussy and English renaissance composer John Johnson, all arranged for two guitars.

More Great Classical Guitar CDs

The CDs listed above constitute an excellent classical guitar collection by any standards. What follows are some suggestions for those wanting to explore the genre further. The guitarists on this list are familiar: Russell, Williams, Parkening and Bream. It's hard to go wrong with performances from these masters.

David Russell is especially good for exploring new musical territory. Russell is known for including compositions and musical styles from outside the standard classical guitar repertoire in his performances, and has released several albums themed around specific styles, eras and/or composers.

Renaissance Music:

  • David Russell, Renaissance Favorites for Guitar (Label: Telarc)

Baroque Era:

  • John Williams, The Baroque Album (Label: Sony)
  • Christopher Parkening, Parkening Plays Bach (Label: EMI Classics)

Romantic Era:

  • Julian Bream, Romantic Guitar (Label: RCA)

Spanish Music:

  • Julian Bream, Spanish Guitar Music (Label: DG)
  • David Russell, Reflections of Spain (Label: Telarc)

Latin American Music:

  • David Russell, Aire Latino: Latin American Music for Guitar (Label: Telarc)

Modern Classical:

  • John Williams, The Great Paraguayan - Guitar Music of Barrios (Label: Sony)

After viewing this video, will you seek out more flamenco music?

See results

Flamenco Guitar

Flamenco, a very dramatic and passionate form of Spanish music, is a genre that classical guitar aficionados may enjoy. The flamenco guitar is quite similar in tone and construction to the classical guitar, and the best guitarists display a virtuosity equal to that of the classical masters.

The early works of Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia, recorded before he began combining flamenco with jazz influences, are an excellent introduction to traditional flamenco music. I recommend these CDs:

  • La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucia (Label: Polygram Int'l)
  • Fantasia Flamenca de Paco de Lucia (Label: Universal)

These are my suggestions for a "must have" classical guitar CD collection. Do you have a favorite guitarist or recording that you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments section below.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      I just love flamenco guitar... so full of life and emotion. Great hub, you've inspired me to take some more listens. :-)

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      8 years ago from Northern, California

      Classical guitar is my very favorite of musical instruments, having dabbled with its lovely nature many years ago. David Russell has magic hands, and his delicately masculine technique on the strings captivates me every second his fingers dance across them. You have put together a fantastic group of CDs to choose from! Thank you for several relaxing moments found while listening to your video offerings. A much appreciated experience, my friend!

      HubHugs~

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      8 years ago from Northern California

      I have always loved to listen to classical guitar and recall a very special concert in Mexico. It is such a lovely instrument.

    • Doc Sonic profile imageAUTHOR

      Glen Nunes 

      8 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

      cclitgirl, you should definitely pick up the guitar again. It's so satisfying, even if all you can do is strum a few chords.

      Sethughes, you are exactly the kind of reader I was aiming for - you know you like the music, but don't know where to begin. Hopefully this will get you started.

    • Sethughes profile image

      Sethughes 

      8 years ago

      Great hub! I love classical guitar but am always at a loss when trying to figure out who or what to listen to. This truly helps! Much appreciated.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Julian Bream is one of my all-time favorites. In fact, when I was teaching, I would play this music for the kids when I wanted them to be calm. They loved this music, too - and they were public school kids! :D

      I took classical guitar lessons in college and still have my guitar. I don't play it NEARLY enough. Perhaps one day I'll pick it up and keep going. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Doc Sonic profile imageAUTHOR

      Glen Nunes 

      8 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

      Kathleen, thanks for the comments, and also for sharing, which helps bring this wonderful music to the attention of even more people. I hope you find some recommendations that you enjoy.

      Teresa, I was glad I could find some videos related to these recordings and performers. Obviously my words could never do justice to these guitarists and their music. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Well done Doc. A very comprehensive list for those just venturing into the genre. The videos give a nice taste of the recommendations.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Wow! I'm going to have to come back to this hub this weekend when I have more time. Looks like a treat! Sharing

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)