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© Louis Valentine Johnson 2019

 

listen & purchase full CDs or singleS HERE:

 

GUITAR AND STRING QUARTET

            NEW RELEASE

           COMING SOON!

Hear the Excitement and Passion of Original Compositions!

       Works by Radice, Sor, and LVJ

        Toccata, Evocation, and Fandango

      Opus 35: No. 22 in b minor, Allegretto

                        (Segovia study No. V)

                         The Peace Concerto

            Portraits, Song of Peace, The Question

Place your advance order for this recording with a simple email to us!

       

                    WATER,

       WIND, & STONE

         LORRAINE JEWETT                     

              The Union Newspaper

             Grass Valley, California

        

            Local Guitar Virtuoso

Louis Valentine Johnson’s latest CD (www.LouisValentineJohnson.com) is available this week, with 13 tracks/45 minutes of original compositions. Lou lovingly produces innovative classical guitar pieces that are perfect for road-tripping, kitchen-cooking, couch-lounging, or just living. This Idaho-raised farm boy has performed at venues most of us have only
dreamed about! His new CD and individual tracks are available at 200 digital download outlets such as
Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon.

Lou’s latest compilation is entitled “Water, Wind & Stone,” but he tells me his music really reflects “hopes,wishes, &desires...”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WATER, WIND, & STONE CD NOTES BY LVJ:

"HOPE," is Movement One from my work "THREE PERILOUS THOUGHTS" dedicated to MAESTRO LEO BROUWER. When I was in graduate school in San Francisco, one of my professors, Rani Cochran gave me some compositions to study.  They were composed by the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. Some of these works were titled: "ELOGIO de la DANZA" and "ESTUDIOS SENCILLOS." I studied them with my teachers and performed them in recitals and in many concerts. I loved them and so did listeners. Over the years I have enjoyed following Maestro Brouwer's compositions and activities;
even more so after visiting his homeland of Cuba for a couple of weeks. The "THREE PERILOUS THOUGHTS" composition consists of three movements which are individually titled: "HOPE," "WISH," & "DESIRE." These compositions are a small thank you to Leo Brouwer and Cuba. He has celebrated creativity, and mated freedom to the passion of musical art. He is an inspiration to the world of music and especially to all of us guitarists.

 TWENTY-ONE YEARS

           a review by 

     Classical Guitar 

                    MAGAZINE 

   

People respond to personal tragedy in a million different ways. For the prolific American guitarist and composer Louis Valentine Johnson, the death of his son Alexander at the age of 21 several years ago led to Johnson  memorializing his beloved child in music: the three-movement, nearly 27-minute Peace Concerto that dominates this CD release (as well as the short Prelude, “Twenty-One Years,” that kicks off the disc).

As Johnson writes in the poignant liner notes, “The Peace Concerto embraces memories as Alex grew from from a baby to a little boy to a young man who then had his own son. These compositions encompass as much as music can. the opus includes our love, his struggles, his life Valiantly Running With Fire, playing The Cape, The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends, Greensleeves, and Tárrega on guitar by the fireplace, plus much more.” And indeed it is multi-layered work that runs a gamut of emotions and musical textures. Johnson has an unerring feel for melody, and he manages to connect the different musical threads he creates quite naturally. The influence of Spanish and Latin American composers comes through in many places, but there are also American folk strains evident and even nods to the Baroque. The middle movement of the Peace Concerto, “Song of Peace,” is particularly affecting. Johnson’s tremendously detailed notes about the Concerto certainly add to emotional heft of the piece, but I think that even if you didn’t know what inspired the work, it would probably move you. It’s quite a journey.

The concluding Tres Pensamientos Latinos makes for a pleasing conclusion to the disc; all three “thoughts” are infused with rich Spanish/Latin flavors, from soulful balladry to an exciting improv on classic Spanish tropes.


Prelude: Twenty-One Years; The Peace Concerto: Portraits, Song of Peace, The Question; Tres Pensamientos Latinos: Snowfall in El Escorial, Lullaby of Love, Malagueña California!
The album can be previewed and purchased through CDBaby, and heard in its entirety, piecemeal, on YouTube.


~ Blair Jackson, Editor-in-Chief-Classical Guitar Magazine

     

     A DAY IN THE  

         COUNTRY

         a review by

        Enrique Coria    

"Listening to Louis Johnson's recording - A Day in the Country - is to relax in musical reverie.  The delicate precision of the interpretations "sans" garish exhibitionism demonstrates the sincerity and sensitivity of a master guitarist."                   Enrique Coria, 

Argentine Guitarist & Recording Artist      

            

  GOODBYE TO MEXICO

                       a review by

                   Steve Marsh

      CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE                           UNITED KINGDOM 

"This release by Louis Valentine Johnson is a pleasant affair. A large percentage of the tracks have been arranged by Johnson himself.....his performances tender and emotional, with here and there a 'Segovian' sweetness in the slower passages.
....traditional tunes from Mexico, Dia de Campo and Adios del Soldado are particularly delightful arrangements, immediately conjuring up visions of the 'traditional' sleepy Mexican village one sees in movies - lovely stuff!"
 

Album notes by LVJ:

This composition is in memory of those who died in the “Devil’s Path” after crossing the border on May 23 rd 2001: Julian Ambros, Herberto Badilla, Reyno Bartolo, Mario Castillo, Amulto
Flores, Efrain Gonzalez, Lorenzo Hernandez, Enrique Landeros, Alejandro Marin, Edgar Adrian Martinez, Sergio Ruiz, Raymundo Barreda and his 15 year old son.


Goodbye to Mexico tells a human story which is about much more than Mexico, and is re-enacted each night along the 2000 mile long border between Mexico and of Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona. Men, women and children, many desperately poor, separate into different groups and begin their border crossing in the blackness of night. They hope for better jobs and lives for their families. They have paid money to a “coyote” who leads them through trails and ravines of the remote desert.

 

They are entering the USA illegally and they risk serious consequences. Tonight, some will survive this dangerous journey while tomorrow others will perish in an inferno of desert sun. They pray for no moon and silently travel in the night, away from Mexico, full of hope, on a journey to a mythical new homeland in El Norte.

                                                                          The Music

The devil pensively observes, then opens his path with a furious scale passage. After an arpeggiated introduction, I portray the fears and sadness of twenty-six people leaving their lives, parents, family and friends on May 19 th 2001. Their destination was North Carolina. The next
section speaks to the tension and danger of hiding and running to evade border guards, which was nothing compared to what they would encounter the next day. My central section illustrates the merciless searing furnace of southern Arizona sun as it ends thirteen lives in the 115 to 130 degree midday heat. Lengthy slow-motion moments pass while lives end, one by one. Calls of desperation echo. Death stops heartbeats among the cactus in a scorching desert. Although their deaths occurred separately, I have collectively painted each moment with a single major second and tritone chord, which rings until there is no more resonance and no more life. Their spirits slowly depart suffering, desperation, dehydration, and blinding sun.

                                                                         Postlude

In a poem by Octavio Paz: “The final shadow may close my eyes, carry me off from white of day, unchaining my soul at the hour….” The impact of tragedy was intensified by the dangerous web of a coyote’s careless and possibly purposeful deception. These people died because they
voluntarily took a serious risk into the unknown. Their coyote, Jesus Lopez-Ramos was said to have erroneously told them to walk north for one hour to reach a highway and a town. Lopez- Ramos went to trial and was sentenced to sixteen years in prison. That amounts to a little over a
year for each death. Carlos Fuentes in his book Inez writes, “We know how to silence death. We do not know how to quiet sorrow.” In the last section, I have thematically restated these sorrows with a return to the initial arpeggiation motif. A soft breeze moves slowly through the heat in an homage to those who perished. Tall saguaros guard a tableau horizon of sagebrushes where they rest in sand.

                                                                                                                                                                           ~Lou V. Johnson

 

   THE BLUE HOUR

                    a review by

           RICHARD MIDDLETON, 

                 VICTORY REVIEW

                     Seattle, WA

 

"Johnson is a skilled and sensitive interpreter. Not only of pieces by venerable master but also those by contemporary composers such as Jose Luis Merlin and Mark Radice. 

A beautiful album." 

 

                 

 

 

                      ONE

                   a review by

            ROBERT LEVOY     

     OASIS ENTERTAINMENT 

For my 705th review overall and my second review for Louis Valentine Johnson, I am proud to present One, an innovative guitar piece that provides the listener with fourteen minutes of meditative tranquility and relaxation and can be heard and viewed with the bonus DVD as part of the album.  Even though there are only three songs named after three countries on this album USA, India, and China, it is very peaceful and relaxing.  On the DVD, there are video films for each of the three songs. It was well performed and written.  I highly recommend this album to anyone looking for a piece to listen to when they need to relax and reduce stress. You can purchase this album from Amazon, CD Baby, Itunes and everywhere else that CDs and digital downloads are sold.

                       

        GUITARRA

        CLASICA II

           a review by

              DR. MARK A. RADICE

                ITHACA COLLEGE

                      Ithaca, NY

“I have had the pleasure of hearing Louis Valentine Johnson perform on several occasions. He possesses not only a fine technique but also a thorough knowledge of Baroque performance practices. He is a sensitive and talented musician."

                      

           GUITARRA 

         CLASICA I 

            a review by

                PAUL HARRAR

      THE UNION NEWSPAPER

               Grass Valley, CA

“He succeeds beautifully. Johnson is a fine technician, articulating notes with clarity and warmth. His playing is dignified without seeming staid.  Subtly passionate, this recording's quiet, delicate beauty is its' own reward."