Sunday, June 07, 2009

David Malmberg - Merida

100 years ago, when I was 8 years old I got my first guitar, along with a book called ‘Play Guitar In 7 Days’. The frets were ¾ of an inch away from the strings, and my fingers bled a lot, but I accomplished the task by practicing every day for 2 hours a day. I sounded good enough to start playing in a band after a week. It was probably the same book all the people on the radio used, because it wasn’t hard to play along with the radio after a month or two. But that soon bored me, because I kept hearing other things. Solo guitar players, fancy little tricks, and worse – I discovered Segovia at the library. The good thing about Segovia was that he was first and foremost a teacher, so each of his albums would have easy, medium, and advanced pieces. He didn’t call them that, of course, but it was inspirational to be able to play a piece like Segovia played it after a month of practice, and the harder pieces after months of practice, and there were always the pieces that no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t figure out. Even though as a teenager I was making money teaching guitar, it wasn’t until I reached college that I learned about technique and exercises so I could aspire to play the more difficult pieces.

Which brings us to David Malmberg. Like Segovia, he has produced some classical guitar albums that are melodically interesting and great for a listener. They are also great for guitar players because these are original compositions by David that can add to a young player’s repertoire. And, like Segovia he includes a few challenging pieces to give a young player something to aspire to. If you’re not a guitar player, the tunes will still inspire your thoughts to take journeys. Like all classical composers, David will take inspiration from popular music and make the trip a memorable one. For example, the tune Old Friends has some distinct flavors from the Paul Simon tune of the same name, but the melody takes a further reach into the depths of the themes, with some solid variations on a theme.

On the second CD, Cuentas de Hadas is a pleasant composition that invites a player to the challenge of recreating the technique David sneakily makes sound easy. That’s the best definition of a master, he makes the difficult sound simple. His long piece ‘The Fruit Of The Spirit’ is subtitled Nine Impressions for Guitar, and is a collection of tone poems called Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Meekness and Temperance. They are wonderful meditation pieces.

If there is a guitar player in your life, these CDs will thrill, so when buying a copy for yourself be sure to buy an extra set for them. Plus, David assured me he has scores available at minimal cost if you contact him at his website,

David Malmberg - Andalusian Sojourn

David Malmberg - Reunion