I first remember being inspired by the sound of the classical guitar and its repertoire when I heard a Segovia concert broadcast on the radio in the mid-1960s. Because there is an extensive material on-line about Segovia at the BBC, I can pinpoint it to 5th May 1965 and a live broadcast on the Home Service from the Royal Festival Hall. According to the digitised Radio Times, the programme included Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s first concerto, and a number of solos including Bach’s Bourrée in E minor and Albeniz’s Torre Bermeja. The orchestra was the London Symphony under Sir Adrian Boult and they played Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis – the first time I’d heard it and now a lifelong favourite.
The concert persuaded me to invest my pocket money in a rather cheap instrument and I tried to learn on my own from the Clifford Essex Spanish Guitar Tutor compiled by Alonso Medio. The enthusiasm was short lived.
Roll forward almost 40 years to the year 2000, and my wife and son buy me a guitar (an entry-level Perez Model 630) and some lessons with Adrian Neville for my 50th birthday as an attempt to revive a long-lost hobby. Less short-lived this time, but the pressures of working life intervene and I give up a second time.
Now retired (and theoretically with more time on my hands), I’ve picked up the instrument again and returned to lessons with Adrian who introduced me to the Society.
I now play a Ramirez 130 Años guitar. It’s based on the 1990s model E series guitars, developed from designs by Jose Ramírez III. The instrument was marketed to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Ramírez workshop in Madrid. Mine was a lucky Ebay purchase.
I also have a Yamaha Silent Guitar (SLG200NW) for use when the household can stand my practicing no longer and I have to retreat into the world of electronics and headphones.
My ambitions are to practice better and one day to perform at a members meeting without catastrophic performance anxiety! In my working life I’ve regularly spoken to hundreds of conference delegates, but put a guitar in my hands and the smallest of audiences in front of me and my hands and brain turn to mush. Someone should market a cure for that.
As a SCGS committee member, I’ve taken on responsibility for the Society’s website. My email is at the very bottom of this screen (webmaster@...) if you are experiencing any problems with access to the site or if you have any suggestions for site content. I’ll be pleased to hear from you.