by Mike Telin

Vieaux-Jason“This week’s concert is going to be really great,” classical guitarist Jason Vieaux exclaimed during a recent telephone conversation. On Saturday, September 27, beginning at 7:30 pm in Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights, the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society will begin its International Series. And in keeping with tradition, the series will kick off with a free Showcase Concert.

Francois Fowler (Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University) will open the program with two of his own compositions, Meditation (2010) and Wavelength Sonata (2013). Robert Gruca will continue the program with music from the baroque era with David Russell’s arrangement of Jean-Baptiste Loeillet’s Suite No. 1. Jason Vieaux, (Cleveland and Curtis Institutes of Music) will conclude the evening with music by Metheny, Jobim, Tarrega and Merlin.

Vieaux will open his portion of the program with his own arrangement of Pat Metheny’s Always and Forever. “Melodically he is such a strong composer and his music is so adaptable to a solo guitar,” Vieaux said, adding that he does have an affinity for the legendary jazz guitarist and has recorded a CD entirely of his music. “But I’m using the Metheny as kind of an intro into Roland Dyen’s arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s A Felicidade Jobim.

Like many, Jason Vieaux’s first exposure to Jobim’s music was hearing his classic song, The Girl from Ipanema. “My parents had the Stan Getz-Joao Gilberto LP from 1964. So I knew of him but as a kid, but I kind of thought of him as a jazz figure because of that record. And when I was in college, just seeing so many of his tunes in The Real Book. Now I think of him as a guy who revolutionized popular music in Brazil which then influenced the rest of the world.”

How does Vieaux think Jobim will be remembered? “In my opinion he will be remembered as one of the great songwriters of the our day. In the same way that George Gershwin was not only recognized as a composer, but also as part of the great song writing team with his brother, Ira. When you think of the early half of the 20th century you not only think of Gershwin, but also Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, and Rogers and Hammerstein, as well as many of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters. Then you move into the 50s with Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. In the later half of the 20th century in terms of the sheer ability to write songs, I think you have to say that Jobim is going to be up there with Lennon and McCartney, specifically their songwriting partnership. I would also put Burt Bacharach in there and I’m sure there will be many others, too.”

Vieaux will follow the Jobim with Francisco Tarrega’s Capricho Arabe, a work that is included on his most recent solo recording, Play. “This is one of the most loved, and most performed original Spanish Guitar pieces. If you had to make a top ten list of works for Spanish Guitar pieces, this would be on it. Vieaux will end his portion of the program with a work that has been part of his solo repertoire for some time, Jose Luis Merlin’s Suite del Recuerdo. “The Suite was written in 1992 and I was given a score of it just before it was published. I immediately began programming it on my recitals. This was at the very beginning of my concert career, and it has become a staple of my solo recitals, although I don’t play it that often in Cleveland.”

Published on September 23, 2014.

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