The twice-yearly Bakewell Guitar Ensemble Weekend now seems to be a firm fixture in the musical calendar for many of the students who attend. This event, which gathers together over 20 classical guitarists to form one large orchestra, took place on the weekend of  April 8–10, once again at the Medway Centre in the heart of the picturesque town of Bakewell in the Peak District in England, and once more we were blessed with excellent weather conditions. The event is the organized and put on by local guitarist-composer-arranger and Classical Guitar magazine writer Steve Marsh

The three days were spent working on the three-movements of Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso, op. 3 no. 8 arranged by Steve Marsh especially for the twenty-four student orchestra. Also on the weekend’s program was Steve’s arrangement of Burt Bacharach’s lovely composition, “Arthur’s Theme” and one of the best-known tunes from the film Calamity Jane, the exuberant “The Deadwood Stage.”

On the Friday evening, a concert was given by Nadia and Steve Marsh (pictured above) playing a program of guitar duets which included music by Vivaldi, Johnson, Murcia, Albeniz, de Falla, Carulli, Politi, Charlton, Wedlich, Montes, and Bernstein.

Saturday was spent rehearsing the large ensemble works with several well-earned coffee breaks. During the afternoon, four duos took part in a duet masterclass and a brief hands-on workshop was given by Steve on “Latin American Strumming.”

On display over the weekend were several guitars supplied by the Lincolnshire-based luthier Earl Marsh (no relation to Steve) and also a huge “shop” of classical guitar music supplied by Steve Marsh’s Lathkill Music Publishers.

Sunday morning was given over to preparing for the afternoon concert, in which many of the students performed solos, duos, trios, and more, before the big finale to the weekend with the full orchestra playing the three ensemble works.

The date of the 5th guitar weekend course will be on the October 14–16 (with a further one planned for March 31–April 2, 2017). The 5th course will focus on two pieces arranged for guitar orchestra: Isaac Albeniz’s “Sevilla” and Steve Marsh’s five-movement work, The Gothic Suite. There will be the usual duo master class session and a workshop, this time the subject being “folk-style fingerpicking,” and once again a recital by Nadia and Steve Marsh.

For an application form or for any queries email Steve Marsh at: stevemarsh@theguitarstudio.freeserve.co.uk or telephone 01629 813624.

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