In the age of digital releases and the absence of album jackets, perhaps these are better described as "on-liner" notes. I hope they serve the purpose that liner notes once did, giving listeners special insight into the selections made to tell the album's story and allowing them to hear between the lines. So much of Global Guitar: A Prayer for Peace is deeply storied, and I want to share it all with you!
Generally throughout the album, where the original music was not written for guitar or long associated with the instrument, the arrangements are my own.
Track 1 - Humming Chorus - Puccini
From the opera Madama Butterfly, this haunting melody comes from offstage voices at the hopeful moment during which an abandoned Japanese child awaits the return of his father, an American Navy officer. The arrangement highlights a technical accomplishment never achieved on the classical guitar previously--an entire tremolo piece associated with a rhythmically uneven bass.
Tracks 2 through 4 - Koyunbaba Suite - Domeniconi
Recorded with gratitude for the personal permission of Carlo Domeniconi, the piece is evocative of the Italian composer’s time in Turkey. Windswept, austere, dark, lyrical, and intricately challenging, it reflects the life of a loving shepherd--literally the “baba” or “daddy” of his flock.
Track 5 - Salce - Rossini
From an Italian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, a perennial tale of cultural conflict, this is the Willow Song, a moment at which the heroine is so distraught at the violence that awaits her and the seeming failure of her love for her foreign husband, her mind is capable only of dwelling upon a childhood memory.
Track 6 - Habanera - Bizet
From the opera Carmen, the Habanera is a French composer’s impression of Spain, presented through a Cuban musical form. Carmen sings about love’s cruel capriciousness without realizing her mistake. It’s merely eros she’s singing about. Had she known love, the opera might have ended differently!
Track 7 - Afro-Cuban Lullaby - Traditional
We visit Cuba musically again because, like Andalucia, it is a place of singularly diverse cultural convergence. Here the message is one of love and hope for a child’s wellbeing amidst and despite poverty and prejudice.
Track 8 - Layla, Layla - Zeira
The Israeli composer uses the form of a lullaby to reflect on night, war, loss, and hope.
Track 9 - Fuentes (Recuerdos) de la Alhambra - Tarrega
The Alhambra Palace is Andalucia’s last outpost of Moorish rule, and it symbolizes both the possibilities of cultural cooperation and its great failures. I have arranged this as a duet on steel strings in an effort to evoke the sparkling echoes of the ancient fountains which still flow through the palace’s exquisitely delicate architecture.
Track 10 - Capricho Arabe - Tarrega
A Spanish composer’s reflection on the music of the Arabian peninsula. The articulately longing theme, I believe, laments a kinship lost.
Track 11 - Granada - Albeniz
Granada addresses the cultural confluence of a people through a warm and celebratory reflection on the beauty of their mutual home.
Track 12 - Malaguena - Lecuona
Here, a Cuban composer imagines a girl from Spain, and manages to assign Malaga its most enduring theme.
Track 13 - Cielito Lindo - Traditional
In a piece of music deeply associated with Mexico, we hear musical influences from around the world. In this, France and Germany are most evident!
Track 14 - Ave Maria - Schubert
Regardless of culture, Shuubert’s Ave Maria unfailingly inspires unifying agreement with regard to its beauty. This is no wonder, as the gaze of the Blessed Mother who it honors directs us always to the Prince of Peace Himself.
Track 15 - Anchor of Peace (bonus track) - Various
A candid recording of a moment that encapsulates the theme of this album. While deployed overseas, I took a rare off-duty break to play with the themes of “Let There be Peace on Earth,” as well as the Navy and Marine Corps anthems, on a pawn-shop guitar. Ironically, the recording caught the surrounding sounds of violence and chaos amid the prayer for peace.
My hope is that Anchor of Peace, along with this entire album, recalls the tragic dichotomy of our fallen world and reminds us that there can be no peace apart from a return to the loving will of God who first desired it for us. Until then, as long as the innocent are attacked, we must defend them. Thank you again for the way your support of this album helps us accomplish that mission in our small corner of the world through sosvan.org.