In a day when anybody and everybody is apt to own and strum a guitar, the chance to hear a major classical guitar virtuoso is a moment to cherish.
On Oct. 11, the Bach Festival Society’s Visiting Artist Series presented famed guitarist Paul Galbraith, in Rollins College’s Tiedtke Hall, in a varied program illustrating what highly gifted hands can do on the frets and strings of a guitar.
Mr. Galbraith is surely a guitar exponent of world rank and is perhaps the finest guitarist you will ever hear. He has the eerie ability to create arpeggios, which tie individual notes together in a legato fashion that is a kind of phrasing legerdemain. He manages the most difficult technical doings with grace and ease.
Of particular interest were the Bach Lute Suite and the Hindemith Harp Sonata, both transcribed for guitar by Mr. Galbraith. The program closed with 20 Variations and Fugues on “Las Folias de Espana” by Manuel Ponce.
Mr. Galbraith plays an eight-string guitar, which allows him to perform his own adaptations of his selections with a breadth of sound otherwise impossible to achieve.
The familiar and beautiful Spanish Dance Number 5 “Andaluza” by Enrique Granados was a special audience pleaser. If I could have wished for anything different in the programming, it would have been for a few moments of rhythmic, dramatic climax to inject more variety and excitement into an otherwise somewhat bland evening. I hoped, in vain, for at least an encore of full-blooded Flamenco, or Mexican stomp and romp, just to come down to the plebian earth, where most guitars are played.