I have been an admirer of Randy’s playing since I first heard his CD “Puerto Viejo” of which I am a huge fan. Apparently we had met previously a very long time ago which was nice for me to know!
His new CD “Man in the Moon” features the music of Ralph Towner and I was blown away by it – both concept and execution, so I thought I would ask him a bit about how it came about. The short exchange is below.
RA The Towner CD was new ground for me – I can listen to his Solo Concert, Ana and Anthem CD’s endlessly. Towner compositions show a deep understanding of the classical guitar – its technique and color – and I believe Ralph deserves much more recognition in the classical guitar world for not only his performing, but his compositional contribution. It’s scary trying to replicate any of his music because he does it so well himself, and couldn’t of done it without his support.
GGG I agree with what you say about Ralph T. Do you think his music is primarily written for himself to play? Is it in danger of being restricted to a certain interpretation when you might as well listen to his recording rather than anyone else’s?
RA Good questions. Most of his music is unpublished, and he has told me that he’s written over 200 works that use guitar – he’s recorded over 100 of them. Until recent years, Towner’s music was written primarily for him to play and record, and he doesn’t release his scores out to the general public – I hope this will change soon. The works on Man in the Moon are mostly published (Presser, GSP), so there is a chance for the guitarist to interpret. There are, however, some RT techniques in MM that are so personalized that you’d need a manual to figure out how to perform them. I’ve also seen some other non-published scores (Les Douzilles, Simone) where he has marked out large improvisation sections where on the recordings you can hear some of his most energized and inspired playing.