IN MEMORY OF ENRIQUE GARCÍA CASTILLO
With practically full capacity, on Saturday, November 12, 2022, we celebrated our already traditional classical guitar autumn concert in the church of the Carmelite Fathers in Badalona, this time with the guitarist Arnaldur Arnarson as the main performer in a concert that was also a tribute to Enrique García Castillo, a legendary luthier, whose centenary of his death had been commemorated a few days before the concert.
This is why Arnarson performed the first three piedes on the program with a García guitar built in 1914, an instrument that today forms part of the guitar historic collection owned by Casa Luthier, one of the frequent sponsors of our Association, which lent it to us for this event.
A TRIBUTE TO FRIENDSHIP
rnaldur Arnarson began the concert playing the García guitar and halfway through the recital he changed it for another equally remarkable one: a 1979 Fleta guitar. Arnarson offered us a beautiful classical guitar recital in which he performed works by Sor, Albéniz, Granados, Bach, Ravel and Tansman, in a program inspired by the desire to pay tribute to friendship. As Arnaldur himself explained to us, he configured the program by choosing some authors who were very good friends with each other, such as Albéniz and Granados, or Tansman and Ravel. In this way, he decorated the recital with explanations and anecdotes about the friendship between these musicians, comments that were liked by a very predisposed and receptive audience, who knew how to appreciate this outreach work and even more enjoy the interpretive mastery of this great Icelandic guitarist settled in Barcelon.
The public felt so comfortable that Arnarson had to offer two encores at the end of the recital. He added Spanish Dance No. 5 by Granados to the program and then he treated us to a melody from Iceland, the transcription of which is made by Arnaldur.
We have celebrated our 11th Autumn Concert with great satisfaction. We have been able to hear the sound of a guitar built over 100 years ago by a great master luthier, with a sweet sound, deep basses and bright trebles, so characteristic of great guitar-makers of that time, like Enrique García, who gave prestige to the sound of the Spanish guitar throughout the world.
It has been a real privilege that, thanks to the good state of conservation of the instrument and the good hands of Arnaldur Arnarson, we have been able to live this experience in this concert in Badalona.
Below you can watch and listen to the piece with which Arnaldur Arnarson opened the concert, the "Andante Largo op.5 n.5" by Fernando Sor, performed with the García guitar number 154, built in 1914.
More images of the concert:
AUTUMN CONCERT 2022
A tribute to:
OF THE DEATH OF THE LUTHIER
He was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. He began his guitar studies at the age of ten, in Sweden, with Sten Ljungdal. He later continued at the Tónskóli Sigursveins D. Kristinssonar in Reykjavík with Gunnar H. Jónsson. In 1982 he graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he was tutored by guitarists Gordon Crosskey and John Williams and the Greek conductor and pianist George Hadjinikos. He did a year of improvement with José Tomás in Alicante and has received advice from teachers Oscar Ghiglia, David Russell and the great lute player Hopkinson Smith.
He has won prizes in numerous international competitions, including first prize at the XXI "Fernando Sor" International Guitar Competition in Rome in 1992. The same year he was the only guitarist, out of more than a hundred applicants, to reach the final of the "East and West Artists" contest in New York, aimed at solo instrumentalists and chamber groups.
His repertoire ranges from the Renaissance to the present day. As an outstanding interpreter of Bach, he was invited in 1985 to offer monographic recitals in several music cycles in different Spanish cities. His performance of Rodrigo's Aranjuez Concerto with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra (1990) and his recital at the Reykjavík Art Festival (1992) established him as one of the most prestigious musicians in Iceland.
In November 2000 he caused a great sensation when he performed as a member of the Ensemble Barcelona Nova Música at the SGAE Auditorium, in Barcelona.
In addition to his solo, recital, and orchestral work, he performs in duos with singers, other instrumentalists, string quartets, and other chamber ensembles. He has given concerts and masterclasses in guitar and chamber music in Europe, Australia, the USA and South America. He often participates as a jury in international music competitions.
WHO WAS ENRIQUE GARCÍA?
At the beginning of the 20th century, this guitar maker, born in Madrid and established in Barcelona, achieved great prestige and relaunched the Catalan school of guitar makers.
The quality of his work enabled him to maintain close contact with prestigious guitarists of his time, such as Francisco Tárrega and Miquel Llobet.
Enrique García Castillo was born in Madrid in 1868. He was the son of a guitar manufacturer, Juan García, but he began his apprenticeship in the prestigious workshop of Manuel Ramírez, for whom he worked for several years. In 1893 he won the first prize at the Chicago World's Fair.
In 1895 he moved to Barcelona, where he opened a workshop at C. Aragó nº 455. In 1903 he moved his workshop to C. Aragó nº 369 and in 1908 he moved again, this time to Passeig de Sant Joan nº 110.
The best guitarists of the moment were concentrated in Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century. The quality of Enrique García's work made this guitar maker a benchmark, which was a boost for the Catalan School of guitar makers.
He died on October 31, 1922, just 100 years ago. One day later, a chronicle appeared in "El Noticiero Universal", a Barcelona newspaper, in which it could be read:
“He came to acquire such a perfection in his art that it can be affirmed without exaggeration that the guitars he built surpass in quality and quantity of sound the best that have ever been made, even those of the famous Torres”
”There are well-founded hopes that the brilliant name of the García guitars will not be extinguished, since his only and intelligent disciple Francisco Simplicio, continues the work of his master, and has given some good example of it. Rest in peace the distinguished guitar maker.”
García guitar number 154 - Built in 1914
Collection of historical instruments of Casa Luthier