The first recording of it's kind: an album of Neapolitan and Italian folk songs beautifully arranged for solo guitar. All tracks are solo recordings- this album contains no overdubbing. Liner notes: The history of the guitar in Italy is as long and deep as that of Spain. Many of the early masters of the guitar were Italian. The names of Carcassi, Carulli, Giuliani, de Ferranti, and Legnani form the short list of better-known early Italian guitarist/composers. A true testament to the guitar's Italian popularity, the great violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini played and composed for the instrument and referred to it as his traveling companion. Unfortunately, the lives of these Italian guitarist/composers did not correspond with the time when the Neapolitan song was at it's peak of popularity; however, it is only natural that the great songs of the Italian and Neapolitan tradition should be embraced by the guitar tradition championed by the early Italian masters. The Spanish guitar master Francisco Tarrega recognized the beauty of the Neapolitan song and may have had a similar thought when he arranged "O Sole Mio" for solo guitar. This collection includes both Italian folk and Neapolitan music arranged for solo guitar. Unlike the present, the contents are from a time when there was not as much distinction between folk, popular, and art music. Folk music is created by ordinary people and passed through successive generations-usually orally. The hallmark of these songs is the combination of infectious rhythmic motives with simple but memorable melodies. Neapolitan music is often mistaken for folk music; however, it was music crafted by trained composers that combined aria or folk-like melodies, familiar rhythms, and subtle harmonies to create a masterful illusion of simplicity. As with the operatic aria, the lyrics were most often penned by a separate poet or librettist. While interesting, such distinctions ultimately become academic and are transcended by the music's charm. It is a testament to their success that these "composed" works have passed to and through the folk tradition to become some of the world's most popular songs. In fact, many of these songs were among the first-ever recorded. Enrico Caruso suggested no qualitative distinction between the opera aria and the Neapolitan song in recording and treated them as equally valid vehicles of expression. To many these songs conjure thoughts of life, love, loss, joy, longing, beauty, youth, and idealized settings. To others these songs simply summon one thought: Italy! As guitar solos they embrace the masterful illusion of simplicity that requires no lyrics to suggest these nostalgic images and sentiments. Andrew Winner Cincinnati, autumn 2008 Why did I choose to make an album of Italian music for my first recording? The goal for my first recording has been to create something both familiar and subtly unique. These beautiful and captivating melodies are renowned the world over but, admittedly, are sometimes trivialized by crass renditions. It's my hope that these arrangements shed new light on these memorable gems. I've endeavored to set these songs in such a way that sounds natural to the guitar- almost as if they were originally conceived as intimate guitar solos. I wanted to not only produce a quality recording, but I also sought to put my arranging, composition, and technical skills to work at the service of the music. As an example (and perhaps of interest to other guitarists), is my unique tremolo technique. It can be found on tracks no. 3 and 7 and in portions of tracks no. 15 and 17. On these tracks the intent is produce a natural effect reminiscent of the sound of an accompanied mandolin without burdening the listener with the unusual and technically challenging reality of the performer's task. It was out of necessity that I originally began arranging these songs. I played in an Italian restaurant and had difficulty finding quality arrangements that suited me. I have had a number of opportunities to perform some of these arrangements in concert and they hold-up well as concert works- particularly the Variation on a Neapolitan Theme. In an effort to further enrich the guitar repertoire, I plan to publish and make these arrangements available to other guitarists in the near future. Variations on a Neapolitan Theme Andrew Winner (1966) 1. Santa Lucia, 1850 anonymous, attr. Teodoro Cottrau (1827-1879) 2. Humoresque 3. Tremolo 4. Barcarolle 5. Bravado 6. Finale Caprice 7. Mattinata. 1904 Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) 8. Ciribiribin, 1898 Alberto Pestalozza (1851-1934) 9. I'te Vurria Vasa, 1890 Eduardo di Capua (1865-1917) 10. Maria, Mari (Ah Marie), 1890 Eduardo di Capua (1865-1917) 11. Carmela, 1910 Ernesto de Curtis (1865-1937) 12. Donna Donna, 19th century anonymous, traditional 13. Vieni sul Mar, 19th century anonymous, traditional 14. Finiculi Funicula, 1880 Luigi Denza (1846-1922) 15. Torna a Sorrento, 1902 Ernesto de Curtis (1865-1937) 16. O Sole Mio, 1899 Eduardo di Capua (1865-1917) 17. Valse Tzigane (Fascination), 1904 Fermo Dante Marchetti (1876-1940) 18. Tra Veglia e Sonno, 1913 Luigi Canora (19th century) 19. Ciao Bella Ciao, circa 19th century anonymous, traditional.