Sharon Isbin and two good friends are the contributors to this great CD. One of these friends is none other than Joan Baez. The other is fiddler, Marc O’Connor.
Sharon Isbin is an excellent artist with a gift as a most sensitive payer and interpreter. Her latest (2009) CD brings us a varied set of tonal colors, expressed beautifully in the opening 16th century compositions, to the haunting “Andecy” which evokes a sensuality and beauty beyond words.We hear a brand new recording of “Wayfaring Stranger” that begins with Isbin’s introduction, and then leading to Joan Baez’s marvelous vocals. The Baez Suite that follows is magical. The concluding Mark O’Connor “Strings and Threads Suite” shows how a fine violin player and a modern the classical guitar can be when their joint voices sing under fine musicians’ fingers.
Isbin, who heads the guitar department at the Juilliard School of Music, begins the CD with four Renaissance duets, originally for lute and arranged for her playing both parts. I enjoyed “Greensleeves,” and I was also struck by the haunting, “Le Rossignol.”
Throughout this CD program, Isbin’s warmth, musical feeling, and virtuosity infuse each track. Those who know Isbin only from her earlier Bach, Rodrigo, or Villa-Lobos recordings, may be surprised by her virtuosity and gentleness in these selections
Here is an audio/visual 9-minute “Guitar lesson” with Sharon Isbin: