World Cup Semifinal Special #1: France (Thibaut Garcia) v. Belgium (Boris Gaquere)

French (string) striker Thibaut Garcia

OK, maybe you don’t care at all about the two World Cup semifinal matches in St. Petersburg and Moscow on Tuesday and Wednesday (July 10 and 11). Well, I do! So, in the spirit of friendly competition, here are guitarists from two of the four countries competing to go into next Sunday’s finals match: France and Belgium. I know what you’re wondering: Is this just another lame excuse to post a couple more cool performance videos? Absolutely! Thank goodness the four remaining countries all have active classical guitar scenes!

Young French guitarist Thibaut Garcia entertains us with the “Entrée” to the early 18th century Sonata in A Minor by Sylvius Leopold Weiss (from Germany, knocked out of the World Cup in the first round!), while in a more vintage clip, Belgian Boris Gaquere does a nice job on a bouncy contemporary piece called Pulo do gato (“cat’s leap”) written by Paolo Bellinati of Brazil (losers to Belgium in the quarterfinals; oh, the irony!). I’d say the Bellinati is somewhat in the same spirit as his much-played “Jongo.” —Blair Jackson