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Sharon Isbin is Capital Public Radio - Artist of the Week

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Capital PR's - Insight

Guitarist Sharon Isbin performing "Capricho arabe" by Francisco Tarrega. Let's start with a selection from Isbin's new album called Alma Espanola or "Spanish Soul;" released just this past month. She may be familiar to concert goers since she's been to the area several times to perform. Most recently, Isbin appeared at the Mondavi Center last year with the New York Chamber Soloists.

This piece is called Capricho arabe by Francisco Tarrega. Tarrega is referred to as the "father of classical guitar." Guitar music settled in Spain and South America in the late 1800s. The Spanish composer Tarrega is not only one of the great scribes for the instrument but one of the great guitarists as well.

I've heard the Capricho arabe played by guitarists other than Isbin, most notably, the Spaniard Andres Segovia, who lived closer to the time of Tarrega. His performance is more forceful than Isbin's. He packs a little more power than she does. But I quite like Isbin's interpretation which is subtle and lyrical. Frankly, it just sounds like she has more elegant, flexible fingers than Segovia.

If every artist played the piece the same way, it would be pretty boring. Great musicians will usually follow the rules put forth by composers, but where there is not a marking in the music - that's where an expert performer shines. As in the quote from Claude Debussy, "music is the silence in between the notes."  Listen to the Kevin Doherty - Sharon Isbin segment attached, and