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Narciso Yepes

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Biography

Narciso Yepes was one of the finest virtuoso classical guitarists of the twentieth century, generally ranked second after Andrés Segovia. Despite a strong interest in music from the Baroque period, his overwhelming preference was for the serious compositions of Spanish composers from the early twentieth century, though he also showed interest in flamenco music. He displayed a special fondness for the works of Joaquín Rodrigo and was instrumental in the rediscovery of many previously neglected Baroque compositions. He also achieved distinction as a composer, especially in the realm of film music. Narciso Yepes was born in the small town of Marchena, Spain, located near Lorca. He showed musical talent in his pre-school years, prompting his peasant father to give him his first guitar when he was only four. He soon played with great proficiency and his father arranged for young Narciso to take lessons in guitar and solfeggio in Lorca from Jesús Guevara. Yepes enrolled at the Valencia Conservatory at age 13 and was instructed (though not in guitar) by composer/pianist Vicente Asencio. He gave his first public performance in Valencia at the Teatro Serrano, then returned with his family to Lorca. There he played for Ataulfo Argenta, conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra, who was so impressed by his skills that he convinced Yepes to travel to Madrid to launch his career. There, the young guitarist met some of the most influential musicians in the country, including Joaquín Rodrigo, who had completed his guitar masterpiece, the Concierto de Aranjuez, several years earlier. Yepes found the work most attractive and decided to play it for his official concert debut in 1947, for which he was partnered with Argenta, who led the Orquesta de Cámara. His further performances of the work during the early years of his career are now seen as crucial to the current popularity of the Rodrigo concerto. Yepes' concerts were well-received and he quickly became one of the most highly regarded guitarists in Spain. He gave a successful tour of Europe in 1948 -- with notable success in Geneva, Switzerland -- then two years later relocated to Paris for further study with George Enescu and Walter Gieseking. He also spent time with Nadia Boulanger, though apparently never became a student. Yepes wrote and performed the music for the 1952 film Jeux interdits, which garnered awards at Cannes, Venice, and Hollywood. Yepes met his wife -- who was of Polish origin -- in Paris, and they were married in 1958. Their union produced three children, one of whom, Ignacio, became a conductor, and another, Ana, a choreographer with the Paris Opera. In the 1960s, Yepes was especially active as both a guitar soloist and composer. He achieved acclaim for his score of the 1961 film La fille aux yeux d'or. In 1964, Yepes developed and thereafter played a ten-string guitar, which he asserted was superior to the six-stringed guitar especially in the realm of the transcription. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yepes remained active in all facets of his career, but made fewer concert appearances. He received many awards during this period, including an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Murcia, and various artistic, radio, and television citations. In 1980, he made his highly praised recording of the Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by García Navarro. In 1993, Yepes was forced to sharply curtail his concert activity owing to his declining health. He gave his final concert in Santander, Spain, in 1996.
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Albums

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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Jeux Interdits ("Spanish Romance"), for guitar
  3.   de Falla: El sombrero de tres picos / Pt. 1 - Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes - Danza del molinero
  4.   Brouwer: Tarantos
  5.   Concerto for Lute, 2 Violins and Continuo in D, RV.93~2. Largo
  6.   Rodrigo: Concierto Madrigal For 2 Guitars And Orchestra - Fanfarre (Allegro marziale) featuring Luis Antonio García Navarro
  7.   Alfonso El Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  8.   Greensleeves
  9.   Estudio En Mi Menor
  10.   Villa-Lobos: 12 Etudes, W235 - Etude No.4 In G Major
  11.   Suite In E Major For Lute, BWV 1006a/1000~4. Menuet I/II/I
  12.   Juegos Prohibidos Parte 1.1
  13.   Gran Jota de Tarrega
  14.   Kellner: XVI Auserlesene Lauten-Stücke - Arr. For Guitar - Fantasia In C Major
  15.   24 Etudes, Op.35~No. 22 In B Minor
  16.   Partita In C Minor For Lute, BWV 997~3. Sarabande
  17.   Juegos Prohibidos Parte 1.2
  18.   Tiento
  19.   Prelude No. 1
  20.   Suite In G Minor For Lute, BWV 995~3. Courante
  21.   Capricho árabe
  22.   Etudes For Guitar, Op.31~No. 10 In E-Flat Major
  23.   2. Adagio
  24.   Suite In E Minor For Lute, BWV 996~4. Sarabande
  25.   24 Etudes, Op.35~No. 13 In C-Sharp Major
  26.   Fantaisie villageoise, Op. 52~1. Andantino
  27.   El Testament de l'Amelia
  28.   Fantasía para un gentilhombre, for guitar & orchestra~Españoleta / Fanfare del la caballería de Nápoles: Adagio
  29.   Robinson: The Schoole Of Musicke - Four Sacred Songs - Arr. For Guitar - O Lord Of Whom I Do Depend
  30.   Malagueña Fantasia for guitar
  31.   Soundtrack Excerpts
  32.   Asencio: Collectici intim - La gaubanca
  33.   Rodrigo: Fantasía para un gentilhombre For Guitar And Small Orchestra - 2. Españoleta y Fanfare de la Caballería de Nápoles (Adagio - Allegretto molto ritmico) featuring English Chamber Orchestra
  34.   Halffter: Concierto para guitarra y orquesta - 2. Fantasia alla Madrigalesca.In tempo molto moderato by Odón Alonso
  35.   Leyenda
  36.   Juegos Prohibidos Parte B 2ª
  37.   Juegos Prohibidos Parte A 2ª
  38.   Granada
  39.   Weiss: Suite In E Major - 1. Preludio
  40.   Robinson: The Schoole Of Musicke - Four Sacred Songs - Arr. For Guitar - A Psalme
  41.   Escena Brasileña Nº2
  42.   Vivaldi: Concerto For Viola d'amore, Lute, Strings And Continuo In D Minor , RV.540 - 2. Largo featuring Monique Frasca-Colombier
  43.   Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar & orchestra~2. Adagio
  44.   L' Arrivé au Port
  45.   Concierto Levantino for Guitar and Orchestra: I. Allegro non tanto
  46.   Rondo
  47.   12 Etudes, Op.29~No. 5 In C Major
  48.   XII. Torre Bermeja
  49.   Villa-Lobos: 5 Preludes, W419 - No. 2 In E Major
  50.   Villa-Lobos: 12 Etudes, W235 - Etude No.9 In F-Sharp Minor
  51.   Concierto de Aranjuez: III. Allegro gentile
  52.   Villa-Lobos: 12 Etudes, W235 - Etude No.1 In E Minor
  53.   Rodrigo: Fantasía para un gentilhombre For Guitar And Small Orchestra - 1. Villano y Ricercare (Adagietto - Andante moderato) featuring English Chamber Orchestra
  54.   Quintet No. 4 for Guitar and Strings in D, G. 448 "Fandango"~2. Pastorale
  55.   Esplá: Tres Levantinas - Arr. For Guitar By Narciso Yepes - No. 2
  56.   Sonata in B minor K 377
  57.   Homenaje a la seguidilla: Andante