In Brief

  • Title: Together and Together Again.
  • Musicians: Julian Bream and John Williams.
  • Identification: BMG 09026 615450 2 (Together) and BMG 09026 615452 2 (Together Again).
  • Recording dates: Juli-Augustus 1971 (Together), Juni 1973 (Together Again), October 1978 (Julian Bream and John Williams Live) de CDs are remastered versions.
  • Year of publication: CD 1993.

Spanish Dance Nr. 1 by Manuel de Falla


Again, a First-Time record for me, this time for guitar duo.

I first heard of the LPs Together and Together Again in my Grammar School days. Two classical guitars playing classmates had these records in their LP rack and I got the opportunity to listen to them while I was there. For myself I had not reached the stage of ensemble playing yet, I still had trouble to get some musical sound out of a guitar all on my own.

Sometime in the eighties, when I could play a little better, I found both records in the bargain bin of our local record shop Deemoed in Hengelo. I bought them and enjoyed listening! Soon thereafter I came across the live LP of the gentlemen John Williams and Julian Bream, so my duo collection of their music was complete!

Many professional and amateur classical guitarists in those days considered John Williams en Julian Bream top of the bill for solo guitar. It was a bright move in the commercial sense that these gentlemen started to cooperate. If it was a success in the musical sense has become a point of debate for me in the present days. That was mainly caused by the appearance of guitar ensembles that showed much more unity in interplay than Bream and Williams came up with.

When listening to Williams and Bream together, at rare moments I got the impression that two solo players were performing, who did their best to strife for the first fiddle. In some pieces this is quite effective (for instance in Carulli’s symmetrical compositions where melodies change across players). With other pieces it sounds weird. At least that is what I say now after listening to guitar ensembles like the Assad Brothers, Duo Melis and SoloDuo. In those days, however, I was quite fascinated by their cooperation, but now I guess I have some material to compare!

Nevertheless, their performances made some duo music to popular pieces amongst guitarists and they added some beautiful arrangements of music by Albeniz, Granados and De Falla.

Together and Together Again appeared on my turntable at the right time, just when I started to become interested in duo playing during my lessons with Rob Wagenvoort. Thus we played Duo in G by Carulli, and L’ Encouragement by Sor with Bream&Williams as great examples. It was a challenge indeed to play the Rondo by Carulli and the Waltz from L’ Encouragement at their tempo! Later on, you find out that a slower tempo gives a bit less haste and more elegance to the music!

My ensemble play progressed. With the Granados Duo, we played Oriental by Granados with Williams and Bream in mind. The very first piece that we played in guitar duo DOS Amigos came from the Together series too: Serenade in A by Carulli. Strange enough the last piece before DOS Amigos fell apart came from the Together CD set too: The Pavan and Galliard (Flatt Pavin) by Johnson. Such a coincidence!

Julian Bream and John Williams Live appeared in a time that I only knew live recordings by pop artists. I liked the Live album best, because of the atmosphere (the gin and fizz, the noise of the audience as Bream described it) and the spontaneous performance.  Particularly the pieces by Faure (Dolly) and Debussy drew my attention, the impressionistic sound appeared quite suitable to be performed on guitar.

The CDs Together and Together Again are compilations, part of Julian Bream and John Williams Live is added as bonus tracks. Such a pity that the complete Live LP did not fit on the CDs!

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