Listening, and in some cases, watching recordings of the old masters that have provided us with so much music and guidance can be very inspirational. It can also give us a great insight into different playing styles and idiosyncrasies that we can incorporate into our own playing. I remember the feeling of amazement when I first got to meet some of my guitar idols at festivals in Europe. David Russell, John Williams, Oscar Ghiglia… it was like the CD covers were coming to life!

Regino Sainz de la Maza

A virtuoso in his own right, Regino Sainz de la Maza is perhaps most famous for the concerto that was dedicated to him. None other than the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo. He wrote several solo pieces that are still popular today including Campanas del Alba (a tremolo work), Zapateado and Rondeña.

Menuet op. 15 nº 1, and Menuet op. 11 nº 9 by Fernando Sor

Bouree by J.S. Bach

Andres Segovia

Segovia is a name synonymous with the classical guitar, but it is not widely known that he composed pieces for the instrument. A master arranger, and collaborator with other composers, arguably his most well known composition is Estudio Sin Luz.

Bouree by J.S. Bach

Before we get to Segovia’s piece, let’s have a listen to the same Bouree as above. For two giants of the guitar living at the same time, it is enjoyable to listen to the differences in sound and musical approach.

Estudio Sin Luz

Agustín Barrios

Sometimes playing with steel strings, and making recordings on very early wax cylinders , Barrios was able to record several hundred works that serve as the original sources for modern editions. The speed and agility of his playing is of note, as is the flexible approach to tempo.

Valse no 3

This valse is a personal favorite of mine and one of the few works for which we haver a manuscript. European in style, this Valse displays a lyrical style of writing, virtuosic execution and some ear opening distortions of rhythm.

The score and lesson for this piece in included in the CGC curriculum at Level 4.

Miguel Llobet

A multifaceted artist, Llobet was a skilled visual artist and also studied violin and piano. He was also able to study with the nineteenth century master of guitar, Francisco Tarrega. Listening to his incredible recordings give us a rare insight into the 19th century aesthetic and also to the sheer virtuosic speed with which he executed his works.

Radio Program by Robert Spencer (Multiple works)

Claude Debussy

Finally, I thought I would open up the idea outside the world of guitar. There are many recordings and manuscripts that we can discover if we dig a little or visit a library and they all have a little bit of magic. After all, if we are going to spend our time learning about music why wouldn’t we want to get as close to the masters as we can?


This piece is quoted in the famous Homenaje by Manuel de Falla. It is a testament to how well Debussy understood, and could imitate the Spanish aesthetic, even though he only visited the country briefly on one occasion. It is not an audio recording of Debussy, but rather a piano roll that mechanically recorded his playing. So, I guess in a way it is a recording, but not one that we would normally listen to.

La soirée dan Grenade



Do you know of any other recordings that are similar? I am sure the CGC community would be happy to hear of them, so please feel free to link in the comments below.


Simon Powis