The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Tom Phillips
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The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Tom Phillips » Tue May 14, 2019 3:44 pm

Hey all,

The other day, someone asked me who I thought are the modern equivalents of John Williams and Julian Bream (as separate soloists). I had a hard time answering this as it's difficult to say exactly what made them so special. What do you guys think? What made Williams and Bream so unique and who fits the bill today?

Thanks

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Christopher Freitag
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Christopher Freitag » Tue May 14, 2019 4:22 pm

This is one of those topics that could go sideways very quickly, but I'll put in my two cents. I think the most important thing that made Bream and Williams unique is that they had agents and record deals. That meant they could get booked in concert tours. I don't say this to diminish their talents or influence, as I have been big fans of both. But the real difference is that they were known to audiences at a time when that was incredibly hard for classical guitarists. There were only a handful of players who could carve out international careers because they had those same advantages. Both Bream and Williams produced dozens of recordings that influenced generations of audiences (and players), and they paved the way for others by broadening the market for and interest in the classical guitar and its music. In this they continued the work done by Segovia.

Looking around today it seems that there are dozens of guitarists who meet or exceed the same artistic standards; the key difference is that it is so much easier to find them. Guitar society concert series, festivals (Someone told me that Italy alone has more than 20 guitar festivals each summer), competitions. And, of course, YouTube et al.

Recently, one of the American golf magazines had a whimsical series of articles in which matches take place between current and past golf greats in order to determine the greatest of all time (GOAT). I won't give away the ending. But if we were to host something similar to determine the classical guitar GOAT it's not a sure thing that either Bream or Williams would make it to the semifinals...
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isleepinabed
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by isleepinabed » Tue May 14, 2019 5:47 pm

As someone who's stepped back from the "scene", I'll be looking forward to reading some top player recommendations on this thread.

Realstaff

Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Realstaff » Tue May 14, 2019 6:49 pm

No one has ever mastered the guitar like Williams

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Alexander Kalil
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Alexander Kalil » Tue May 14, 2019 7:10 pm

Tom Phillips wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:44 pm
What do you guys think? What made Williams and Bream so unique and who fits the bill today?
What made them unique is that they appeared in a time when there was little competition from other classical guitarists on the same level around. I guess that makes one unique by definition. Today there are far too many classical guitarists on a very high level of technique and musicianship, and the sheer number of those prevents per se any from being unique - at least not in the sense Williams and Bream (and Segovia and Yepes for that matter) were. It's a simple number game.

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Tue May 14, 2019 8:14 pm

I agree with Alexander and Christopher. But to answer your question briefly, I would say Jason Vieaux. Not only does he have the skills and musicality but also good agent(s).

I have to add that there are so many great guitarists that are less famous (or not famous at all) simply because they don't have an agent or they're not being advertised anywhere. On the other hand, less talented guitarists or lets talk even in bigger scale and say musicians who do advertise and/or have an agent are more famous even though they might not be very good...
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Cipher
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Cipher » Tue May 14, 2019 10:38 pm

Christopher Freitag wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:22 pm

Recently, one of the American golf magazines had a whimsical series of articles in which matches take place between current and past golf greats in order to determine the greatest of all time (GOAT). I won't give away the ending. But if we were to host something similar to determine the classical guitar GOAT it's not a sure thing that either Bream or Williams would make it to the semifinals...

I wholeheartedly disagree!! Bream and Williams together were/are my all-time favorite duo and definitely the GOAT!

I have loads of duo albums by Presti-Lagoya, Abreu Brothers, Duo Assad, Brasil Guitar Duo, Solo Duo etc..but the recordings I keep coming back to and are timelessly beautiful are the three that Bream and Williams recorded - Together, Together Again and the double Live! album (of which there are videos on YouTube as well)

I also keep coming back to Bream and Williams' extensive solo guitar discographies for all things standard repertoire as well even though many of the pieces have been recorded again by younger guitarists on Naxos and other guitar labels. What's classic stays classic.

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Contreras
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Contreras » Tue May 14, 2019 10:46 pm

Realstaff wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 6:49 pm
No one has ever mastered the guitar like Williams
Aside from Bream, maybe? :mrgreen:
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Christopher Freitag
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Christopher Freitag » Tue May 14, 2019 11:44 pm

Cipher wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 10:38 pm
Christopher Freitag wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:22 pm

Recently, one of the American golf magazines had a whimsical series of articles in which matches take place between current and past golf greats in order to determine the greatest of all time (GOAT). I won't give away the ending. But if we were to host something similar to determine the classical guitar GOAT it's not a sure thing that either Bream or Williams would make it to the semifinals...

I wholeheartedly disagree!! Bream and Williams together were/are my all-time favorite duo and definitely the GOAT!

I have loads of duo albums by Presti-Lagoya, Abreu Brothers, Duo Assad, Brasil Guitar Duo, Solo Duo etc..but the recordings I keep coming back to and are timelessly beautiful are the three that Bream and Williams recorded - Together, Together Again and the double Live! album (of which there are videos on YouTube as well)

I also keep coming back to Bream and Williams' extensive solo guitar discographies for all things standard repertoire as well even though many of the pieces have been recorded again by younger guitarists on Naxos and other guitar labels. What's classic stays classic.
Just to clarify, the original poster’s question and my response was about Bream and Williams as individual performers. You don’t need to sell me on their excellence as a duo...I drove 700 miles to hear them on their only American tour together.
Chris Freitag

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Tom Phillips
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Tom Phillips » Wed May 15, 2019 1:35 am

One thing that made Bream special, not as much Williams, was the pieces that were written for him (e.g. Nocturnal, Five Bagatelles). Which classical guitarists commission the most masterpieces today?

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Cloth Ears
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Cloth Ears » Wed May 15, 2019 8:24 am

There will never be another 'Bream and Williams'. Not because there are not performers that equal their abilities. There are far more guitarists out there than when those guys started, some probably exceed their abilities. However they will never get the same sort of global attention due to the changing technological media landscape.

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segobreawill
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by segobreawill » Wed May 15, 2019 1:49 pm

Christopher Freitag wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:22 pm
This is one of those topics that could go sideways very quickly [...]
So true! lol
Christopher Freitag wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:22 pm
In this they continued the work done by Segovia.
Maybe that's why it was easier for the people to like Bream and Williams so much back in the day: The Maestro (Segovia) established the roadmap, and they (Bream/Williams) followed it and added to it. At that time, the "market" wasn't as saturated as it is today. If you were working on the Segovia/Sor 20 Studies for example, you had to put on a record to hear it - and whose recording would it be, how MANY choices did you have back then? Compare this to today where you could go on the internet and not only have audio but video recordings as well of every calibre of performance available from the the worst to the finest.

Again, the market is too saturated. I see some performances on YT of so many fine younger guitarists and think to myself, "What will become of this guitarist? Will he/she be able to break out of the pack and distinguish themselves from the rest of the others to have a successful solo career like Bream, Williams, or Segovia had back in the day?" There is some seriously good guitar playing going on YT but the problem is that we've seen and heard so much of it now that we've sort of become numb to it, for lack of a better word.

Will there ever be another Segovia-, Bream- or Williams-like guitarist to 'take up the mantle', so to speak? God, I hope so! There's just too much hard work and talent out there that for it to receive nothing more than a cursory nod of approval would be an outright sin.

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ElectricLute
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by ElectricLute » Fri May 17, 2019 1:54 pm

I think they are incomparable as is Segovia .
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Tom
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by Tom » Sat May 18, 2019 3:13 am

No ones in the modern day can compare to the two legends.

razz
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Re: The modern John Williams and Julian Bream

Post by razz » Wed May 22, 2019 2:25 pm

OK, I'll go way modern


John Williams - Molly Tuttle

Julian Bream - Julian Lage

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