Video Pick of the Week: Callum Henshaw Plays Four of Ponce’s “Variations sur ‘Folia de España’ et Fugue”

Here’s a freshly posted video from the talented Australian guitarist Callum Henshaw, whose Echo & Return album of a couple of years ago was a favorite of mine. Henshaw is one of several really good young players Down Under who are making waves both internationally and at home. Here, he plays a fine version of four of Manuel M. Ponce’s 20 Variations sur ‘Folia de España’ et Fugue, composed in 1930 at the suggestion of Andrés Segovia, based on a violin sonata by Arcangelo Corelli (1643–1713), who had adapted it from well-known folk melodies. In early October 1930, in London, Segovia chose to record half of the variations. On Henshaw’s Echo & Return, he plays all 20, covering more than 25 minutes. The most influential of the modern recordings of the complete Variations is undoubtedly John Williams’ 1978 version on an album simply titled Manuel Ponce. Among the other notable contemporary guitarists to take on the entire piece are Marcin Dylla, Timo Korhonen, Thomas Viloteau, Piera Dadomo, and Andrea Dieci.

Cal Henshaw’s most recent album is the just-released Forest of Dreams, featuring pieces by Barrios, Llobet, Brouwer, and Australians Phillip Houghton and Graeme Koehne; produced by Australian guitar titan (and one of Henshaw’s main teachers) Tim Kain. I’m look forward to checking that one out.  —Blair Jackson