Solo Classical Guitar EP (Free)

To download this EP, either: 1)Right-click, "save as" all tracks and album cover pdf files below, or 2) Download and unzip the file "classical_guitar_ep.zip".

1. Prelude No. 1 (H. Villa-Lobos) (5:06)
2. Mood for a Day* (S. Howe) (2:40)
3. Prelude adapted from unaccompanied Cello Suite #1 (J.S. Bach) (3:29)
4. Ena's Song (S. Unruh) (2:15)
5. Cuatro Diferencias sobre “Guárdame las Vacas” (L. de Narvaez) (3:07)
6. Romance (Anonymous) (3:04)
7. Gavottes adapted from unaccompanied Cello Ste #6 (J.S. Bach) (4:48)


Entire album in a single 47 MB zip file (for you overnight downloaders and high-speed internet people):

Album Notes:

All pieces performed by Steve Unruh. Recorded December, 2005.

As a "multi-instrumentalist," I have a love/hate relationship with classical guitar. I love the timbre of classical guitar (or "Spanish nylon-string guitar" as it could more precisely be called). It has a wide variety of tones, ranging from dark and subtle to high-energy percussive. And, guitars are the only popular instruments I know that are equally well-suited to "note shaping" as well as voicing chords. So, classical guitar combines music theory and human expression in a wonderfully successful way. All this in the body of a humble little instrument - light weight, small, and relatively inexpensive (as far as classical instruments go, anyway). Classical guitar has a large and varied repertoire of musical pieces, from centuries-old folk songs and early Western classical pieces (where you can observe the composers just starting to figure out modern music theory), ranging all the way to modern avante-garde and incredibly-challenging adaptations of some of the world's most difficult piano music. Plus, classical guitar is a superb guitar-learning tool, and I always get a real thrill in those rare moments when I nail the performance of a piece, and it sounds just how I had in mind.

But, enough praise. There's also the "hate" part of the relationship! Playing classical guitar means being reminded, over and over again, that I 'm still not "good enough." Maybe next year I'll be good enough? (Nope.) There is tremendous frustration associated with the hours, weeks, months, years... required to learn to play a piece properly. Fifteen years of practicing classical guitar on-and-off, and I don't even have 2 hours' repertoire of professional level pieces ready for performance. Sometimes when I play, I can almost feel my neurons start to tear apart. My memory for the deluge of required chord shapes can go blank in the middle of a performance. My fingers can become cold or clammy under this bizarre self-inflicted stress - trying to perfect a piece which completely pushes my mental limits. My playing is susceptible to changes in humidity, how much coffee I've had (usually a lot), if I've eaten properly, and lately I've started to notice even barometric pressure. Talk about being finnicky.

Therefore, I do not perform solo classical guitar shows, and have no intention of ever doing so. So, behold! The "Steve Unruh Solo Classical Guitar EP." This EP is the pefect outlet for my classical guitar music, because I had limitless takes in my home studio to get the performances "right." No stress! And, no schedule, so if my fingers didn't cooperate one day, I could come back another day. The album length is short, allowing me to only include the pieces I felt were truly ready for public display. I didn't feel justified in charging money for my classical guitar playing when so many great recordings exist by musicians like Julian Bream, John Williams, Andres Segovia, Elliot Fisk, Manuel Barrueco... So, I'm offering this little album for free, in the hope you'll enjoy listening to it, and in the hope that the performances, at least for once, were all "good enough."

*Note: ASCAP. My understanding is I'm legally allowed to post my version of "Mood for a Day" because this EP is free. If Steve Howe requests I remove it, I will. And then I will cry.