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Adam Levin — “21st Century Spanish Guitar, Volume 4” (Frameworks Records, 2021)

Abstract:

In the meticulous exploration of contemporary Spanish guitar repertoire spanning a decade and a half, the culmination of my efforts is embodied in the release of “21st Century Spanish Guitar, Volume 4,” an anthology encapsulating my steadfast commitment to the evolution of Spanish guitar music. Deliberately immersing myself in the vibrant tapestry of Spanish musical traditions during a transformative Fulbright Scholar residence from 2008 to 2011, I shed elements of my cultural identity in the crucible of Spain, emerging with an intimate understanding of the elusive Spanish sound.

The genesis of this musical odyssey occurred during my tenure in Spain, where a burgeoning renaissance of Spanish composition came to light. Recognizing the need to champion this wave of creativity, akin to the fervor displayed by luminaries such as Segovia, Bream, and Fisk in their eras, I undertook a mission to embrace and contribute to the unfolding musical landscape. Advocating for the fearless integration of dissonance and experimentalism, I contend that such boldness is imperative for the continued vitality of the Spanish guitar tradition, echoing the audacity of past figures who expanded the instrument’s expressive boundaries.

The latest volume stands as a testament to this fearlessness, with each composition embodying the diverse facets of contemporary Spanish music. From haunting dissonances to rhythmic experiments, every note reverberates with the evolving landscape of Spanish composition, ensuring that the tradition not only pays homage to its roots but remains pertinent in the 21st century. Living in Spain allowed me to witness the delicate fusion of tradition and innovation, a balance that I strive to capture in my musical pursuits. As a torchbearer for the fearless exploration of musical frontiers, I invite fellow musicians and enthusiasts to join in embracing the rich tapestry of 21st-century Spanish guitar music, ensuring the enduring legacy of the Spanish guitar in the dynamic realm of musical expression. Through collective efforts, we can contribute to the flourishing narrative of the Spanish guitar, adding a chapter that resonates with the contemporary spirit and secures its perennial relevance.

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Publication date:

ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music

As a guitarist deeply immersed in the exploration of contemporary Spanish repertoire, my musical odyssey has spanned fifteen years, marked by the commissioning, premiering, and recording of forty new pieces, a significant portion of which has found a home in four volumes on the esteemed Naxos and Frameworks Record labels. The culmination of this endeavor manifests in my latest release, “21st Century Spanish Guitar, Volume 4,” an anthology that reflects my unwavering commitment to the evolution of Spanish guitar music.

My immersion in the rich tapestry of Spanish music was not a mere happenstance; it was a deliberate choice born out of a transformative period of residence in Spain as a Fulbright Scholar from 2008 to 2011. This tenure served as a crucible, refining my understanding of the elusive Spanish sound. In the crucible of Spain, I shed a drop of my gringo identity, becoming one step closer to the beating heart of the Iberian musical tradition.

The revelation dawned upon me during my sojourn in Spain—a new renaissance of Spanish composition was underway. EUREKA! The time had come to champion this burgeoning wave of creativity. Echoing the legacy of luminaries such as Segovia, Bream, and Fisk, who ardently championed new music in their times, I embarked on a mission to embrace the unfolding musical landscape.

Contrary to the prevailing caution towards dissonance and experimentalism, I advocate for a wholehearted embrace of the avant-garde in music. In my view, this fearlessness is essential for the perpetuation of the Spanish guitar tradition. The great figures of the past were not content to rest on the laurels of convention; they ventured into uncharted territories, pushing the boundaries of what the instrument could express.

My latest volume, “21st Century Spanish Guitar, Volume 4,” is a testament to this fearless spirit. Each composition within this anthology is a manifestation of the vibrant diversity that characterizes contemporary Spanish music. From the haunting dissonances to the rhythmic experiments, each note is a nod to the evolving landscape of Spanish composition. It is my fervent belief that by embracing this diversity, we not only pay homage to the roots of the Spanish guitar tradition but also ensure its continued relevance and vitality in the 21st century.

Living in Spain allowed me to witness firsthand the fusion of tradition and innovation, and it is this delicate balance that I seek to capture in my musical pursuits. The guitar, a symbol deeply entrenched in Spanish culture, becomes a vessel for the synthesis of the old and the new. Through my recordings and performances, I aim to contribute to the ongoing narrative of the Spanish guitar, adding a chapter that resonates with the contemporary spirit.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my journey through the realms of contemporary Spanish guitar music has been both a personal odyssey and a broader exploration of a musical renaissance. By commissioning, premiering, and recording new pieces, I strive to be a torchbearer for the fearless exploration of musical frontiers. In the spirit of the great figures who preceded me, I implore fellow musicians and aficionados alike to join me in taking the bull by the horn and embracing the rich tapestry of 21st-century Spanish guitar music. Through this collective effort, we can ensure that the legacy of the Spanish guitar not only endures but flourishes in the ever-evolving landscape of musical expression.

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