The classical guitarist and lutenist JULIAN BREAM
Friday 14 August 2020
The Cuban composer, conductor and guitarist, Leo Brouwer has had a long and fruitful musical connection with Julian Bream as he so eloquently expresses in this tribute which he published on 14 August 2020.
This long-standing musical relationship has produced some of the finest of the guitar’s twentieth-century repertoire including Leo Brouwer’s first Sonata for solo guitar (1990) which was written for Julian Bream and premièred by Julian Bream, at Wigmore Hall, London, on 27 January 1991; but before this was Leo Brouwer’s Concerto Elegiaco (1985–1986) which was was commissioned by the BBC and Gareth Walters for Julian Bream.
Concerto Elegiaco (Concierto no. 3) for guitar and orchestra by Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) was premièred by Julian Bream, with the Langham Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Leo Brouwer, on 30 July 1986.
This fine performance of the Concerto Elegiaco was given in 2017 in Moscow with Ricardo Gallén as soloist and Leo Brouwer conducting the orchestra.
Julian Bream was so pleased with Leo Brouwer’s Concerto Elegiaco that he asked him to write a solo sonata for him. By this time, Leo Brouwer was working on his fourth guitar concerto, the Concierto de Toronto, which was commissioned by the Toronto Guitar Society; it was premièred at the Toronto Festival on 26 June 1987, with John Williams as the soloist and Leo Brouwer conducting the orchestra. Leo Brouwer’s first Sonata for solo guitar was completed in 1990.
Leo Brouwer also made an arrangement of Albéniz’s Iberia for guitar and orchestra, premièred by Julian Bream with the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier, Royal Albert Hall, 9 September 1993. More recently, Sonata Ars Combinatoria No. 5 (2013) was commissioned by The Julian Bream Trust and premièred by Andrey Lebedev at St John’s, Smith Square, London, 4 December 2014, with both Leo Brouwer and Julian Bream present on this very special occasion.
© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2020