If you’ve been following what we post on this website for a few years, you know that I am kind of a freak for Beethoven, and I’m always on the lookout for classical-guitar versions of his works. There aren’t a hell of a lot of them, though the number has been growing through the years.
Well, when I recently searched “Beethoven classical guitar” on YouTube—as I do a couple of times of year—I was greeted with videos featuring an unfamiliar name: Rolf van Meurs, a Dutch guitarist who studied with Enno Voorhorst, Tom Burmanje, and, once he was ensconced in the master’s program at the Lemmens Institute, the great Raphaella Smits.
On this terrific and inspired solo guitar version of the immortal first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (Allegro con brio), he plays a beautiful modern Bernhard Kresse copy of a period 8-string Stauffer guitar, with octaved basses, and it’s amazing to hear how symphonic his arrangement is! (Rolf’s lone album release, from 2015, used the same instrument for interpreting works by Luigi Legnani, who helped Stauffer develop that style of 8-string.)
On Beethoven’s birthday this coming December, we’ll share Rolf’s wonderful 6-string arrangement of the famous second movement of Beethoven’s 7th! —Blair Jackson