◎ Mel Bay presents Ana Vidovic Guitar Artistry in Concert (2009)

Editorial Reviews

** About the Actor **

Ana Vidovic is an extraordinary talent with formidable gifts (extremely impressive in strength or excellence) taking her place amongst the elite musicians of the world today.

Ms. Vidovic has given over one thousand public performances since first taking the stage in 1988. Her international performance career includes recitals (音樂演奏會) in New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg (奧地利薩爾茨堡), Rome, Budapest, Warsaw, Tel Aviv (以色列特拉維夫市), Oslo, Copenhagen, Toronto, Baltimore, San Francisco, Houston, Austin, Dallas and St. Louis.
** He’s been working in a bank since leaving school.

Equally impressive is the fact that she has already recorded 6 CDs, the most recent for the Naxos label featuring works by F. Moreno Torroba, released in Spring, 2007.

Additionally, “Guitar Virtuoso,” Ana’s performance of works by Bach, Torroba, Paganini and Walton, was released on DVD by the Mel Bay label in 2006.

Ms. Vidovic continues to broaden her repertoire (all the plays, songs, pieces of music, etc. that a performer knows and can perform 可演奏的曲目) and maintains an ongoing performance schedule in the United States and abroad.

Ms. Vidovic has won an impressive number of prizes and international competitions including first prizes in the Albert Augustine International Competition in Bath, England, the Fernando Sor competition in Rome, Italy and the Francisco Tarrega competition in Benicasim, Spain. Other top prizes include the Eurovision Competition for Young Artists, Mauro Giuliani competition in Italy, Printemps de la Guitare in Belgium and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions (試演) in New York.

In Croatia the guitarist has performed with the Zagreb Soloists and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and with Symphony Orchestra (交響樂團) of the Croatian Radio and Television, as well as having been featured in three television documentaries (紀錄片) by the eminent (famous and respected) Croatian film director Petar Krelja.

Ana Vidovic comes from the small town of Karlovac near Zagreb, Croatia, and started playing guitar at the age of 5, and by 7 had given her first public performance.

At the age of 11 she was performing internationally, and at 13 became the youngest student to attend the prestigious National Musical Academy in Zagreb where she studied with (接受教授指導) Professor Istvan Romer. Ana’s reputation in Europe led to an invitation to study with Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory where she graduated in 2003.

** Product Description **

Guitarist, Ana Vidovic, takes us on a journey through the beautiful music of Spanish composer, Federico Moreno Torroba and Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. Ana also introduces us to Altiplanos, an interesting piece dedicated to Ingrid Betancourt written by a guitarist and composer Pierre Bensusan.

There is also a hauntingly beautiful Farewell by Sergio Assad, Cavatina by Stanley Myers; the theme from the movie The Deer Hunter, three etudes by Heitor Villa Lobos.

Rounding out (圓滿完成) the virtuoso performance is La Catedral , by eminent Paraguayan composer and guitarist, Agustin Barrios Mangore.

This DVD also includes an inspiring interview with Ana in which she discusses her beginnings, life as a touring musician, her instrument, teaching and offers advice to aspiring young musicians.(有大志的年輕音樂家)

The gallery includes photos of Ana, her family and friends. Filmed in Studio A at the beautiful Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, this DVD makes a fine addition to any guitar enthusiast’s collection.(值得吉他愛好者收藏)

◎ I never tire of watching this video. The camera shows her hands clearly as she plays, and you can really appreciate her artistry. Each finger seems to have a mind of its own, allowing her to control the tempo (節奏), volume, and all the details that make her music so artistic and beautiful.

The interview is a wonderful candid insight into the personality of this beautiful woman, and you get an idea of what her motivation and interests are, and how she works at her craft. (技藝)

If, like me, you play the guitar, you’ll learn a great deal from this DVD. I would give it six stars if I could. (假設)

◎ Ana is a fantastic classical guitarist, and this is another fine example of her work. I highly recommend this DVD to anyone with an appreciation for classical guitar artistry at its finest! (極緻/最好的)

◎ Ana gives an excellent performance. I don’t think I could ever see a more beautiful person play a guitar more beautifully (假設). Her hands move very graceful and are full of artistic ability.

Too bad the camera cuts away from her looking into it to another camera angle, when she talks, without prompting her to look into the direction of the different camera angle so she would always be looking into the camera. The camera is just fine though, while she is playing, getting good close-up angles and more distant angles, fading from one to another.

I think she has mastered the classics. The thing I would really like is for her to play jazz/blues. She says she has never improvised, which I think is an important next step in mastery, which is to create.

◎ John Williams – The Seville Concert / John Williams, Paco Peña, Andrés Segovia

Sacrifices had to be made in order to fit the Concert and Film profile (影片介紹) all on a single disc. If you play this dvd, you will notice that the colors are nowhere near as vibrant as they were on the vhs. You will notice the reduced sound qualify if you turn it up. It sounds like the audio was compressed by a bad mp3 converter.

It would have been better to simply make two dvds, (假設) and thus preserve the audio and picture quality, or even enhance them, as I did.

I transfered my own purchased vhs copy to dvd, and set the converter to enhance the colors and sound. It might be hard to believe, but this vhs-to-dvd transfer surpasses the qualify of this professional dvd version. If you don’t really care about picture/audio quality, it’s a good purchase.

◎ If you are a fan of classical guitar, this is a worthy purchase. However, if you have the VHS copy, do not bother with this DVD; this is one of the poorest transfers I’ve seen, considering that the source material was very well recorded and filmed, with Sony Classical’s usual engineering standards. The sound is just ok, the picture is widescreen, but not anamorphic (= the cinematography technique of capturing a widescreen picture on standard 35 mm film), and the colors are washed out. A disappointing rendering. Williams’ performances, however, are exemplary. The Film Profile is an interesting and worthwhile inclusion, although this should have been (假設) a double-sided or two-disc set, instead of cramming a low-bandwidth version onto one.

◎ I have been a fan of John Williams for many years. Not many classical guitar players out there can express emotion through the instrument the way John Williams does. This guy doesn’t make mistakes. Every note is right on the money (精準). Perfect. Excellent tone. John Williams is a true hero of the classical guitar.

◎ I have owned the VHS version of this for many years and it’s always a pleasure to watch. No matter how many times you watch this, you never got tired of seeing John Williams tear across the fretboard. He is a true legend and this DVD is a must have for any John Williams fan and classical guitar enthusiast.

◎ I have the video tape of this performance & will soon purchase the DVD. Each piece on this tape was performed with technical mastery and artistic soul by John Williams in the stunning Royal Alcazar Palace. Each of the pieces was rendered according to a standard of the highest manner of a master guitarist. I also enjoyed the diversity of music that was played on this tape — that ranged from a Bach’s Prelude from Lute Suite No. 4 in E Major, Skura Variations, or the Adagio from Concerto De Aranjuez. I used this tape as a background music for a dinner party with friends and it was very well received. As a classical guitarist I appreciated the absolute artistry of John Williams as he played each piece. I’d enthusiastically recommend the DVD or tape to anyone. It provided quiet an evening of entertainment.

◎ Having seen this DVD several times now, I can honestly say, with out a doubt that John Williams is truely an inspriation to the Classical Guitar and by far the world’s greatest classical guitarist. This is a DVD I would recommend to all John Williams fans. Also, anyone wanting to learn the classical guitar, again this is a DVD you must get.

This is flawless and exquisite music with the added virtue of being very aesthetically filmed in magnificent settings. John Williams’ mastery is captured perfectly. The chamber orchestra that accompanies him on several pieces is equally brilliant.

◎ I have admired John Williams since 1971. He is the most brilliant virtuoso of our time, and I am thrilled to be able to watch him perform. I can examine his fingerings and apply them to my own playing. I particularly enjoyed the bonus feature about his biography. As a guitarist, I am always inspired by John Williams. He has been criticized for being too perfect and mechanical. I reject that as rubbish. His playing is flawless, yet extremely musical. If you appreciate classical music and the guitar, this DVD is a “must have” as Segovia once said, “he is the prince of the guitar.” I say, he is the king.

◎ Absolutely fantastic! For any guitarist, the shots of John’s hands are amazing. He makes it look so effortless. What a role model to aspire to!

◎ Julian Bream: My Life In Music

Julian Bream is often credited with defining the classical guitar and lute repertoire (all the plays, songs, pieces of music, etc. that a performer knows and can perform 可演奏的曲目) in Great Britain. “My Life In Music” is Mr. Bream’s autobiographical retrospective on his formative years as an artist from his first guitar and piano lessons, into his explorations of the lute and jazz and classical guitar repertoire in his early professional years, and through his on going quest to make music his audience and he enjoy.

Great attention was paid to the production quality of the DVD. The views of Mr. Bream’s home and English towns and country side are wonderful. The full spectrum of Mr. Bream’s repertoire is presented with good sound quality. My only complaint is that there is not enough time spent with Mr. Bream performing. I would not edit out any of the narrative or scenic shots, I would simply add more time with Mr. Bream and his guitar or lute (假設). This minor criticism is partially mitigated by the inclusion of three bonus performances by Mr. Bream.

All in all (總之), this is a very satisfying and well rounded, nostalgic look at Mr. Bream’s “life in music.”

◎ Julian Bream: My Life In Music

I enjoyed this video. This is probably the best video on Bream’s background that I have found. He talks with such enthusiasm that can captivate anyone. The archival material was superb as well as some of the newer performances he did for this video.

Watching him perform, it seems so effortless. I loved hearing the stories about him and his father taking guitar lessons together when he showed interest in the instrument.

Bream appears so down to earth and approachable (容易親近). There was a funny moment when Bream introduced himself to Stravinsky while the composer was clearly there to hear one of his own performances. He took out his lute and continued to play one movement of a piece in front of him. By the time it was over, Stravinsky left.

I believe Julian Bream is one of the most gifted musicians of our time.

◎ Julian Bream: My Life In Music

This is an invaluable overview of the life and career of the greatest interpretive guitarist and lutenist of our time. Others may have had a mechanically superior technique, but no one has penetrated as far into the spirit of so many musical styles — the renaissance and modern repertoires in particular. No guitarist should pass up the opportunity to enjoy this historical and personal story.

The narrative is very good on bream’s early years, especially regarding his relationship with his father and his transition from home schooled musician to royal academy graduate and wigmore hall debut. As a young man I treasured his early RCA recordings and followed bream to four of his consecutive continental concerts, and recall with awe the variety in his programs and the consistent brilliance of his playing. However, the musical samples do illustrate his performances from the 1960’s onward, including a spicy rehearsal session with the bream consort and duets with george malcolm and peter pears. These give a glimpse of his stupendous lute technique.

i was happy to see the glorious pile of an english estate that bream bought in the 1960’s and where he lives today and, in the film, narrates much of his life. but there is more footage of his cricket matches than of his wife and children, no mention of musical management or projects such as his “julian bream edition” of guitar works, and as an old man whose dear companion is a dog, his life appears detached from friends and colleagues. but what is here will be dear to every one who grew up practicing guitar in pursuit of his example.

◎ Capriccio diabolico (‘Omaggio a Paganini’), Op.85《魔鬼隨想曲》

A few years before leaving Italy in 1938 in the face of rising anti-Semitism (反猶太主義), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco had written this charming ten-minute piece, ostensibly (明顯地) as a tribute to Paganini. Having composed it for the guitar virtuoso Andrés Segovia, he consciously attempted to draw a parallel between himself and Paganini. Will the latter ever be separated from that disparaging word, diabolical (惡魔般的)? Naturally, one will recognize thematic references to Paganini here, but the music is still Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s own, even if the listener is often stylistically taken back to the early nineteenth century.

The work opens with a dramatic introduction based on the main theme, then goes on to present that theme in a lively creation that, not surprisingly, divulges (洩漏) an Italianate character. The melodic (旋律的) material is deftly worked out as the music takes on a heroic manner in the central sections. In the latter part of the piece, it grows increasingly difficult, as rapid-fire notes heighten tension and bring on blazing colors, the music building toward a virtuosic climax. This brilliant piece will appeal to most fanciers of serious guitar music.

◎ (The) Art of Segovia – Original Recording Remastered

* to make a new master copy of a recording in order to improve the sound quality 重新錄製(唱片母帶)

DG has put together a fascinating compilation of Segovia’s art that reminds us what a protean (多變的) figure he was. Segovia single-handedly put the instrument on the map by (1) making classical guitar concerts popular events, (2) broadening the instrument’s repertory through commissions (委託寫譜/創作) and transcriptions (改編樂曲), and (3) convincing even doubters that it could be a vehicle for serious music.

He’s heard here in brief pieces recorded between 1952 and 1969. Even in those made when he was well into his 70s, his fingers remain nimble and interpretations (remain) lively. Listening straight through, one hears many all-time (一向的) Segovia favorites as Turina’s Sevillana and Albeniz’s Asturias and Zambra Granadina and renews appreciation for path-breaking composers like Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He wrote extensively for Segovia and his Capriccio diabolico and Tonadilla are pieces of real substance.

Disc two is largely made up of transcriptions and it’s amazing how well so many of them work on the guitar, at least under Segovia’s magic fingers. Thus the transformations of Bach’s violin music and even a Chopin Prelude sound idiomatic (= Appropriate to the style of art or music associated with a particular period, individual, or group = 道地的), and the gorgeous melodies of the Canzonetta from Mendelssohn’s Op. 12 String Quartet are irresistible here. An entrancing set (迷人集). — Dan Davis
◎ (The) Art of Segovia – Original Recording Remastered

I would rate the actual music as five stars and the recording quality as only one star. There is so much hiss and buzzing (嘶嘶聲和嗡嗡聲) that some of the quieter parts of the songs are actually drowned out by the loud hiss and buzzing. It is so distracting for me. I love the music, but I wish that I had not bought this CD. I know that the technology when it was recorded was not the same as today’s standards, but I can’t believe that the recording is so bad.

You are correct about the recording quality on these CD’s.

While the music is lovely and the playing exceptional, the background hiss is distracting: it is a constant presence that detracts from the listener’s ability to engage with the music on many tracks. (無法專心聆聽樂曲)

If this is how these tracks sound after having been re-mastered, one can only imagine how loud the hiss must have been beforehand.

◎ (The) Art of Segovia – Original Recording Remastered

The rare moments of solace (慰藉) I find these days are usually in the company of Segovia, but considering that so much has been said about this guy in the last sixty years, it’s hard to add anything else without sounding superfluous. (多餘的)

When you need a little down pulsing, put on Mr. Segovia and just chill. This is genius at his best. (放鬆心情可以聽 Segovia 演奏)

Segovia is for purists. He’s not a showman, but rather he’s the most authentic performer of classical Spanish guitar that you will find. This CD contains a generous number of selections that provide a tour of styles and time periods. The artist’s competence (技能/本領) is apparent as he makes the difficult sound relatively simple. He never seems overwhelmed by the challenges of the music, but instead he is the master. Whether you are looking for sophisticated background music (some would consider this use a sacrilege 褻瀆) or for a front row seat at a home concert, this CD would be a great addition to your collection. (值得收藏) Perhaps he will inspire you to bring forth greater sounds from your old wide-necked guitar!

◎ (The) Art of Segovia – Original Recording Remastered

I don’t know how to explain the joy I feel while listening to this album. I put on Segovia and I am taken away somewhere distant. I can hear his emotion through every note and I tend to remember fond memories of my childhood.

The recordings are amazing, yet left a little raw. You get the feeling like you snuck into a practice session and you get to hear him play as though he was playing just for himself. There is no audience. Just him and his guitar.

Segovia has touched my heart as well as my thoughts and I will treasure this album for ages to come.

◎ The Ultimate Guitar Collection – John Williams

The title very aptly (適切地) describes this great classical guitar album showcasing (= exhibit / display) some of the best ever works of John Williams on 2 discs.

The track selections are great as they span the centuries from the Baroque greats of Bach and Vivaldi to the modern day composers such as Stanley Myers and York. John even flirts with (稍微玩玩) Blues and Jazz-style pieces and they actually sound very good.

In addition, they did a much better mastering job on this version than on the single disc, “Classic John Williams” album that was released a few years earlier and so the sound quality is much better. (錄音品質比以前好很多)

John Williams’ playing is without peer (技巧無人能出其右) and his technique is superior to the vast majority of the exponents of classical guitar that are out there. (exponent = a person who is able to perform a particular activity with skill 能手/大師).

I’ve heard recordings of many others who have tried to play “Cavatina” for example and they have never come close to the natural and flowing version that John plays. If you are a fan of this type of music or of John Williams’ work, this is the best compilation that you can get that’s out there. Highly recommended!

◎ The Ultimate Guitar Collection – John Williams

After nearly wearing out favorite CDs of Christopher Parkening and Segovia, I gave this John Williams collection a spin (= short ride for pleasure). I love the choice of tracks–some beautiful newer pieces in addition to crisp, lovely interpretations of several favorites (Asturias, La Vida Breve, Concierto de Aranjuez–you know, the ones everyone plays). He also fit in three Charlie Byrd blues tracks that, though not my favorites, work surprisingly well.

William’s playing is so clean and expressive (富於表達的 / 意味深長的)–melodies ring out clearly, never belabored. Very pleasureful listening. Guess I’ll be wearing this one out too…
◎ Christopher Parkening-Virtuoso Performances: Video Collection (DVD)

Christopher Parkening is one of the finest musicians to play the guitar. For some time I have been hoping he would put together a video of his performances in a way that was similar to Julian Bream’s “My Life in Music.” I was expecting/hoping to see solo performances in digital quality, set in picturesque surroundings, capturing his singular (奇特的) talent and haunting (縈繞心頭的) beauty of the guitar.

This film fell way short of that expectation. The best/only footage of him playing is from the 1970’s, the video quality is choppy (支離破碎的/不平靜的), the audio mediocre at best, and the selection of pieces doesn’t do the instrument justice. The short video footage of Segovia from the 1950’s is far, far superior to that of Parkening and much more enjoyable to watch. It’s unfortunate, but this video does not capture Mr. Parkening’s true talent and ability to interpret the many pieces within his repertoire. This video will not add much value to any guitar DVD collection (沒有收藏價值) and will sadly disappoint the serious guitar aficionado (吉他樂迷).

◎ Christopher Parkening-Virtuoso Performances: Video Collection (DVD)

This dvd was really disappointing. One thing is that most of the videoclips are from the beginning of the 70’s and the dvd shows nothing of what Parkening is up to today. Knowing that there exists at least some footage from latter years (check it out on youtube), I really can’t say why that is.

Another thing is: knowing and thinking Parkening is one of the greatest guitarists on the planet I really can’t see why Andres Segovia is featured at such length in this dvd. It’s ok that Christopher Parkening likes to mention that he got a lot of great advice and help playing-wise from Segovia and that the latter was his mentor but Parkening is really a fantastic guitarist in his own right with quite a unique style of his own. I do however think that Parkening perfected the (very romantic) Segovia-style but he really has incredible integrity on his own and really is second to none.

He has also introduced a lot of new guitar transcriptions (吉他改編曲) of truly great music to the public. Donal Henahan in the New York Times once said it all: “Parkening’s playing is so intelligent, sensitive and adept (嫻熟的) that one can forget everything but the music”.

◎ Christopher Parkening-Virtuoso Performances: Video Collection (DVD)

First of all, Christopher Parkening was my introduction to classical guitar and the reason I started playing. His technique, his tone (音質/音色) and his incredible sound quality blew me away.

I was so excited to get this DVD but here is what I think:

(1) Repertoire – no surprise here. Parkening more or less re-recorded Segovia’s back catalog (演奏家的舊演奏曲目). But I have no problems with the pieces here. There are some of the most beautiful pieces ever written for or transcribed for the classical guitar. My favorites on this DVD are Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and Fantasia X. I’d have preferred something other than Romance or Prelude No. 1 (Recuerdos, the Bach Chaconne etc).

(2) Sound and picture quality – the picture quality was adequate. The sound quality is ATROCIOUS (= very bad or unpleasant 糟透的). To be absolutely clear, Parkening is outstanding throughout. What an incredible player! However, when I first turned the DVD on, I raised the volume so I could adequately hear the introduction. But as soon as Parkening started to play, you could barely hear it. The sound is muddy and distant (聽不清楚) – very, very disappointing.

(3) Segovia piece – I have no idea why this is included. That Segovia was Parkening’s mentor is well documented. He already released a tribute CD to him so why include this film? Let Segovia’s heirs release footage of the man. A DVD of Parkening should surely be able to stand on its feet.

(4) Award ceremony – the overview of Parkening’s career is fine but well known, I’m sure, amongst guitar fans. I’d rather watch an interview with Parkening discussing his technical ideas about the instrument, choice of repertoire, touring and recording experiences etc…

(5) Repetition – some of the pieces here are repeated within the different “feature titles.” Did he perform so rarely live that we have no other pieces to choose from?

In the end, a passable DVD that does not do justice to a phenomenal musician.

◎ DVD-The Segovia Style-Classical Guitar Of The Maestro

【From the Actor】
Andres Segovia (1893-1987) is considered by most modern scholars to be the father of the modern classical guitar movement. Without his early efforts to build a repertoire and push luthiers (A maker of stringed instruments 製琴師) to experiment with new woods and designs to increase its natural amplification (擴音), the guitar might still be considered unworthy to play classical music. (吉他仍會被人認為不足以演奏古典音樂)

Segovia brought guitar studies to major universities, and the classical guitar is now heard on concert stages throughout the world. His impeccable (無懈可擊) musicianship and technique, combined with his passion for the guitar, has influenced thousands of players who carry on the Segovia tradition.

【Product Description】
This instructional DVD takes us to the heart of the music of the great Andres Segovia.

Eliot Fisk, a protegé (門生) of Segovia and a master of classical guitar in his own right, has put together a lesson that is filled with invaluable advice and powerful insights into the timeless Segovia legacy.

Eliot Fisk’s passion for teaching and his love for the music of “the Maestro” is apparent throughout this DVD, which is accessible to guitarists on all levels. He explores the music in great detail, focusing on interpretation, musicianship (音樂技巧), guitar technique, and Segovia’s place in the history of classical guitar. Eliot’s energetic exposition (解說) is inspiring (激勵人心/啟發靈感), and should be essential viewing for anyone interested in classical guitar.

Starting with an analysis of a Segovia transcription of the Bach “Prelude In D Minor,” Eliot goes on to explore three of Segovia’s remarkable “Canciones Populares” (classical guitar interpretations of beautiful folk melodies) and the haunting “Estudio Sin Luz” (“Study without Light”), written when Segovia was in danger of losing his eyesight. He includes tips on tone production, hand positions and other classical guitar techniques, as well as harmonizations and ideas on how to interpret the written music. Homepun Tapes’ split-screen (分割畫面) and close-up video (特寫) techniques allow the student to study Eliot’s hands in detail. As an added treat (樂事/款待), Eliot performs lovely pieces by Haydn and Ponce, along with Segovia’s work.

“Everything we do on classical guitar today harks back (回憶/想起) to the great Segovia,” says Fisk, who was awarded “Best Classical Guitarist” by Guitar Player Magazine’s Readers Poll. This video, taught by a formidable contemporary artist, is a rare opportunity to learn the technique and deep musicality that made Andres Segovia one of the greatest guitarists of all time. (有史以來最偉大的吉他演奏家)

◎ John Willams giving a flawless performance of his classic interpretation of Stanley Myer’s Cavatina in 1979.

◎ This piece was a big hit in the 70s within the classical guitar circle.