Jerry Willard Guitarist & Lutenist
Mr. Willard has concertized extensively throughout Europe and The United States. Raymond Ericson of the New York Times wrote, "The recital was exemplary. Mr. Willard took lute in hand for some pieces by Adrian LeRoy and John Dowland and turned that normally pale-sounding predecessor of the guitar into a brilliant and vivid instrument.”
Jerry Willard lives in Elmore, Vermont. He is now retired from the music faculty, after heading the guitar and lute department of the State University of New York at Stony Brook for 44 years.
This album takes us on a master’s tour of the development of the most popular stringed instrument in the world, starting in 16th Century Italy with several sumptuous pieces for Archlute. Next we hear the master J.S. Bach in six of his most popular lute pieces. Then onto the Baroque guitar for 17th Century compositions by Gaspar Sanz, followed by a three movement sonata by Mauro Guliani on 19th Century guitar. A modern classical guitar for Catalan folk songs by Miquel Llobet, and finally three arrangements of popular tunes by Gershwin tunes on the modern guitar.
For master lutenist and guitarist Jerry Willard's third Lyrichord CD, he takes on the now-rarely heard Baroque guitar, performing musical gems of the baroque era composed by four different masters: Gaspar Sanz, Santiago de Murcia, John Anton Logy and Ludovico Roncalli. The Suite in A Minor by Johan Anton Logy is thought to be a transcription by the composer himself written specifically for the instrument. Top it off with Roncalli's Passacaglia - a piece made famous hundreds of years later in an orchestral arrangement by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi in his Ancient Airs and Dances.
Jerry Willard's exciting fourth solo Lyrichord album takes us to the world of Italian opera, as performed on a rare 19th century instrument. Several best-loved themes from the operas of Rossini, Verdi, and Bellini are given a virtuoso treatment in rarely performed guitar arrangements by Mauro Giulani (1781-1829) and Johann Mertz (1806-1856). Elaborate and effective arrangements make for memorable performances of the most gorgeous operatic works.
The Lyrichord Early Music Series proudly presents an exquisite and powerful performance of John Dowland’s most tender and moving songs. These incredible musicians sell-out crowds as individuals, and as members of The Queen’s Chamber Band. Together, in the hands of veteran producer John Ostendorf, this foursome has created what may well come to be regarded as the most significant and moving Dowland release of the last 25 years!
The guitar adaptations of famous and not-so-famous Gershwin numbers (Scandal Walk is a nice inclusion) on this album are distinctive in style. Willard draws on a variety of sources: commercial arrangements of Gershwin's songs for other instruments, Gershwin's piano roll recordings, and The Gershwin Songbook, Gershwin's own remarkable 1932 collection of piano arrangements of his songs.
I offer private lessons in Elmore, Vermont. Web lessons are available via Skype or comparable software.