Arranging for classical guitar has always been a fun challenge for me. As Andre Segovia once said, “The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice.” This give the guitar a great advantage as a vehicle for some complex arrangements. The challenge, of course, is to keep the life and feel of the original piece intact while accommodating for a small instrument. Though, keeping with Segovia’s quote, the instrument does offer a whole lot in terms of being able to produce a bunch of different sound colors and textures if put into the right hands. One of my biggest challenges for arranging has been Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The Assad brothers have a great duet arrangement recorded, but before I heard that I decided to tackle the project for solo guitar. That is still a challenge that I am learning from, and I am happy to say that it is a playable arrangement (just not for the average guitarist. lol).
With the colder fall and winter seasons, one song always pops into my head that helps me to get into the spirit of the holidays. One version in particular strikes the mood – Nat King Cole’s version of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” I have been a huge fan of Nat King Cole even before I can remember. His timeless hits about love and life have permeated my soul and warmed my heart since I was a child. I have always had a notion to arrange some of these hits for duos or other small ensembles in the back of my head, but this season I had a thought to try them out for solo guitar..and why not? The lyrical colors and lush textures produced by a nylon-string guitar fit perfectly with the smooth, round tones of Mr. Cole’s voice. Hopefully, I can do justice to some of his timeless classics and have them ready before Christmas. What a wonderful gift those recording might make! Stay tuned for some excerpts and possible video footage of some of the arrangements. Feel free to inquire about any of the arrangements for personal use, as well.