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American guitarist's concert of sophisticated Spanish music

Spanish Music of the 17th Century played by Hopkinson Smith Wesley Church, Wellington

New Zealand Festival

February 24

A few decades before Bach wrote his major compositions and variations the Spanish composers Sanz and Guerau had produced works for the guitar, which consisted of themes and variations that were highly developed and sophisticated.

It was from these composers that the American guitarist Hopkinson Smith selected works for his concert of Spanish music of the 17th century as part of the New Zealand Arts Festival musical programme.

The guitar which has been the central instrument of both the classical and popular musical traditions of Spain has numerous compositions written for it . They explore the instrument's ability to play both simple melodies an complex compositions.

While not performing in the more animated and dynamic Spanish flamenco style, Smith’s calm and accomplished playing allowed the delicacy and refinement of the music to be appreciated.

He demonstrated a remarkably varied approach to his playing, with a variety of strumming and plucking techniques.

His introductions and explanations of the pieces, their history and the stylistic features of the music and the guitar playing added greatly to the engaging performance.

John Daly-Peoples attended the fesival with assistance from The New Zealand Festival and Quality Hotel

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