From the CD "The Book of Baroque According to the Guitar of LVJ" Composed by Arcangelo Corelli 1653-1713 Sonata No. 12 Op. 5 Transcribed & Performed by Louis Valentine Johnson DR. MARK A. RADICE writes in the CD liner notes about this composition: The earliest examples or pieces bearing the designation folia are Portuguese works of the fifteenth century. These compositions characteristically combined vernacular texts with instruments in performance of a repetitious succession of chords. By the early seventeenth century, folia settings as choral dances with the accompaniment of the five-course guitar had become popular. According to Covarrubian Horozco (Tesoro de las lengua castellana o Espanola, 1611) the dance at that time was “so fast that…the dancers seemed out of their minds.”


Not long afterwards, the folia was imported—along with the five-course guitar—to Italy, where Francesco Corbetta (1615-1681) made great use of both. Corelli represents the middle Baroque tradition of the Italian string school that was inaugurated by the trio sonatas of Salamone Rossi (1570-ca. 1630) on the one hand and the string orchestra o the Basilica of San Petronio (Bologna) and the works written for it by Maurizio Cassati (ca. 1620-1677) on the other. Corelli continued to give his name on published scores with the annotation “il Bolognese.” Arcangelo Corelli’s folia setting heard here concludes his set of twelve solo sonatas for violin and continuo that were published as Op. 5 in the year 1700. These twenty-four variations are a tour de force not only of compositional technique, but of performance technique as well. At the same time, this piece, like all of Corelli’s works avoids empty displays of virtuosity.


Corelli was very particular about the details of his publications; opportunities nevertheless exist for the performer to add ornamentation to the passages as they are printed in the scores. Formally the piece is a double hybrid since it combines the harmonic plan of the folia, the meter of the sarabande, and variation technique as well. In addition to the folia settings presented here, I should note that others were written by Alessandro Scarlatti, Johann Pepusch, J.S. Bach, S.P.E. Bach, Franz Liszt, and Manuel María Ponce. To this list numerous additional names could be added .


Lou Johnson has transcribed Corelli’s famous composition from the violin and continuo facsimile, arranged it, and recorded it here for solo guitar.

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From the CD Book of Baroque According to the Guitar of LVJ This is a short musical journey with a composition by Baroque guitarist and composer, Antonio de Santa Cruz. He was active in the mid-seventeenth century. In all likelihood, he was part of the old vihuela da mano tradition, which reaches back to the Renaissance. Originally a Jácaras was a comic interlude inserted into theatrical production, highlighting and parodying the action of some rude or offensive person, generally politicians or government officials. Eventually, they acquired choreography and became dance songs associated with coachmen and valets (who would sing to them on the streets). The recurring harmonic progressive yields a structure similar to that of the chaconne. Lou Johnson has transcribed the music from Antonio de Santa Cruz’s tablature facsimile. He recorded it on a modern classical guitar and it is featured on an album titled, “The Book of Baroque - According the Guitar of Louis Valentine Johnson.”. Dr. Mark A. Radice March 15, 2000

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Updated: Sep 6

(I-Summer / II-Shadows from the North / III-Winter)



Composed by Louis Valentine Johnson

Performed by Aleksandra Sapok


Movement I, Summer, is our longest day with the most daylight of the year. It begins with a cheerful springtime allegretto melody in D Major moving quickly to A Major. A springtime pinnacle ensues with rapid scale passages, presenting sunlight. A grave section speaks to the beauty, pain, and joys of life. Harmonies tilt and gravity pulls.


Movement II Shadows from the North, is an autumn equinox transition. Harvest arrives. Colors light to dark imbue shades in between. There is a chill in the evening air. We light a bonfire. Portamentos, arpeggiations, tambouras, glissandos, bends, scale passages, tremolos and chords of yellow, brown, and orange touch our hands, ears and minds. Flowers fade and leaves fall from the trees.


Movement III, Winter, the shortest, darkest day of the year, arrives in a commotion as a repeating e minor suspended 2nd chord to illustrate the journey of wind over mountains, valleys, through every branch of each tree to finally touch us. Wind, snow, and ice abound. These harmonic transitions imitate unpredictable events with a (unusual for us guitarists) foray into the key of D sharp. A feeling of change is in the cool air of the season. Something different is happening. Short days and long nights bring a December chill. Firewood for below zero is more than a necessity. Hibernation becomes reality.


Video Editing by Robbi Spencer / SE Studios

Sheet music engraving and final audio and video editing by Richard Altenbach



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