We asked English guitarist/composer/teacher Blue Yates to tell us a bit about himself and the piece we’ve selected.
My interest in classical guitar began when I heard Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez as a child. The music seemed so evocative and caught my imagination. I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old and completed my Grade 8 exam at age 17 in 1988.
I continued to play for fun, but while living in Italy I found myself playing to some guests and their reaction took me by surprise. It seemed to me that at the time, classical-guitar music and musicians were regarded with more interest and respect in Continental Europe than in the UK. Inspired by this, and having worked in classical-music retail for some years, I decided to start a business as a professional guitar teacher and performer.
As the business grew, I invested in recording equipment and a decent microphone, and made numerous trips to visit luthiers in Madrid. I started to write and record music and also to notate some of it, initially to offer some interesting repertoire to my students. This has continued and I established a sheet music imprint, Rekoba Editions, last year.
My Blue Yates Guitar Tuition business has been successfully operating now for 14 years in the UK Midlands town of Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire, and in that time I have taught more than 150 students.
I have always had a fascination with the work of South American composers such as Rodrigo Riera, João Pernambuco, and Antonio Lauro. While my collection of 12 Studies is designed to develop specific technical qualities, the 6 Preludes are a freer form, exhibiting melody and texture inspired, to some extent, by the sound of the guitar in South America, and offering the performer an opportunity to experiment with tonalities and other variations in articulation.
This piece is about tonal contrast as much as anything, so when playing the repeats (or repeated sections) try to vary them. This could be different fingerboard positions, varying tone from ponticello to tasto or dynamically. I have indicated some specific positions and kept others more open to interpretation.