Kevin Ferguson | Strad To Strat

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Johann Sebastian Bach Niccolò Paganini Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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Strad To Strat

by Kevin Ferguson

First of its kind, sparking countless imitations around the globe: Paganini, Bach, Vivaldi, Sarasate and other violin virtuosi's amazing music on electric guitar.
Genre: Classical: Traditional
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Wieniawski: Caprice In A Minor
1:56 $0.99
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2. Paganini: Perpetual Motion
4:52 $0.99
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3. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 1st Mvmt, Pt 1
3:03 $0.99
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4. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 1st Mvmt, Pt 2
4:52 $0.99
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5. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 1st Mvmt, Pt 3
4:27 $0.99
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6. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 1st Mvmt, Pt 4
2:41 $0.99
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7. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 1st Mvmt, Pt 5
2:52 $0.99
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8. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 2nd Mvmt
5:10 $0.99
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9. Paganini: Violin Concerto #1, 3rd Mvmt
5:30 $0.99
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10. Paganini: Caprice #5 (of 24)
2:52 $0.99
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11. Sarasate: Zigeuner Weissen, Pt 1
4:44 $0.99
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12. Sarasate: Zigeuner Weissen, Pt 2
2:03 $0.99
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13. Vivaldi. Summer, Presto
2:31 $0.99
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14. Rimsky-Korsakov: Bumblebee
1:26 $0.99
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15. Bach: Violin Concerto #1, 1st Mvmt
3:23 $0.99
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16. Bach: Violin Concerto #1, 2nd Mvmt
5:07 $0.99
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17. Bach: Violin Concerto #1, 3rd Mvmt
3:34 $0.99
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18. Bach: 6th Violin Sonata Prelude
3:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Since its release in late 1995, this album has influenced countless electric guitar players around the globe (US, Canada, Mexico through South America, Europe, Japan, etc.) as evidenced by similar attempts since recorded (guitar9.com & youtube, for example). This may be one of the most influencial musicians you've never heard of. For years many of his live performances resulted in audiences asking "why isn't this guy famous?"

After many years playing many genres from New York to California, Ferguson taught and played guitar in bands, including his own, in the Portland Oregon area. There one can still occasionally hear him playing an inimitable mix of guitar hero tunes, world music, fiery classical and originals that thrill audiences and result in rave reviews.

His STRAD TO STRAT CD includes fiery classical violin works such as Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1, Bach's Violin Concerto No. 1, other caprices and showpieces from other virtuosi. Unlike neoclassical guitar players who quote short portions of classical virtuosi, Ferguson rises to the challenge of performing each work note for note in entirety. Each is arranged for electric guitar and full orchestra.

Reviews:
"The CD is amazing!" -- The Campbell Brothers, HARDRADIO
"It's bloody amazing what I hear..." -- Richard Karsmarkers, ST NEWS & Bacil Magazine, Netherlands
"F(Censored)ING BRILLIANT!!!!!!! It's magic stuff. I love it..." -- Douglas Johnston, "The Flying Scotsman," DJ for URY, York, U.K. daj102@mailer.york.ac.uk
"...some of the most brilliant works in classical music with searing, blistering electric guitar." -- Cai Campbell, Cosmik Debris
"Again great album! ...guitar skills are excellent and I would even call it 'elegant'." -- Janell Duxbury, author, "Rockin' the Classics and Classicizin' The Rock," Greenwood Press
"...the playing is impressive. Very impressive." -- Mike Taylor, Gibralter (Progressive Rock Magazine)
"Roll Over, Niccolo. Actually, maestro Paganini probably would have approved..." -- Oregonian, A&E, "Best Bets"
"Quite amazing and unique work." -- Ford Prefect, The Beginning 87.9FM, Radio Free Seattle
"This album is what every neoclassical metal fan craves." -- Igor Sinyak, Rising Force
"...he has succeeded impressively." -- Peter T. Thelen, Expose'

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Reviews


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Wow. I love this.
Kevin's music is fantasitc. It goes beyond genres to just totally amazing.
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Mikolaj Furmankiewicz

Kevin Ferguson - Strad To Strat
Mr. Ferguson is an intriguing and multi-talented genius. He started playing the violin at the age of four and the piano at the age of seven. Kevin picked up the guitar in 1973 and became hard practising. He has grown up in a musical family. His father was a violinist and loved virtuosic music. His mother played the guitar and was fascinated with such genres like folk, jazz and boogie-woogie (instrumental kind of blues). Moreover, the Ferguson family has always been open to many different genres from classical to rock music. Then, Kevin started to learn music and composition theory at college in Virginia. He was also taught by Carmen Rodrigez-Peralta at Julliard School of Music. Kevin played many music genres: jazz-rock (in a band Trazee), punk rock (in The Quaaludes), pop-rock, country and Latin American music. He as well performed the music with orchestras in theatres and encountered ghost dances (religious dances of Native Americans searching communication with the dead). It isn't the end. Mr. Ferguson composed a soundtrack to a low-budget movie, he is a music teacher, write articles for Guitar9 and patented a dozen or so inventions in the field of a modern technology. He has received the Technical Emmy Award for his merits. As you will become convinced, he likes travelling around the USA and a whole world to gain musical and cultural experiences over there. But, first of all, he should be regarded as a Renaissance man (generalist) in the 21st century!

Mr. Ferguson dreamt of recording neoclassical music for electric guitar. To make his dream come true, he spent many hours in libraries acquainting with music books. Then, he commited ideas to music paper and improvised on the guitar in order to make music alive. The results are available on his debut solo CD - "Strad To Strat". The title itself rings a bell. Strad is a shortened name of a violin made by Antonio Stradivari. Similarly, Strat is an abbreviation of Stratocaster - one of most popular Fender guitar models. A whole music was composed and produced by Kevin himself. He is also the author of orchestrations.

How do you think: what composition starts the album? Personally, I was positively surprised when heard Henryk Wieniawski's "Caprice in A Minor" - a Polish violin virtuoso living in the era of romanticism. I think that Kevin was delighted not only with Pole's works, but also with his dedication to the music. Mr. Kevin Ferguson even wrote in the booklet a few words on him: "In 1878 while performing his second concerto for violin , he collapsed on stage and had to be carried off. He continued to travel and perform as his health deteriorated until his death". Yeah, that's true. Wieniawski continued his live activity until the year 1880 when he died. All the passages in brillant style performed by Mr. Ferguson leave no doubts that my compatriot was as technically proficient as Niccolo Paganini himself. I am absolutely sure that Ferguson's witty technique and a gift for interpretations put him at the top of best neoclassical masters in the history of music! Just the second track is of Paganini's authorship. An Italian violin wizard lived in the years 1782-1840 (Wieniawski was five when Paganini died). Paganini's father was a Genoese dealmaker in maritime trade and forced him to excercise up to fourteen hour a day, and then he took over all incomes generated from concerts! What an insolance! Paganini played his debut gig at the age of eleven and, as Mr. Hugh Ferguson wrote, "there is no records of anyone ever having heard him play a single note out of tune". He has been said to sell his soul to the devil for this reason. As Paganini's first track, Kevin sets to work on "Perpetual Motion", that is "Perpetuum Mobile" also covered by the likes of Borislav Mitic, Bane Jelic and Niels Vejlyt among others. In my opinion, Mitic's and just Ferguson's versions render the soul of the original the best. It's high time we listened to almost 30-minute Paganini's "Violin Concerto No. 1" that is made of three movements: I - Allegro maestoso (calmly and solemnly): Concerto Overture, Theme, Development, Theme variation and Emile Sauret's Cadenza; II - Adagio espressivo (emotionally at slow tempo); III - Rondo/Allegro spiritoso (rondeau at fast tempo; it's a kind of composition in which a recurrent chorus is alternated with some different melodies). Mr. Ferguson plays this concerto with a grace and technical elegance. It is followed by Paganini's "Caprice No. 5" that was also covered by Jason Becker and Bane Jelic among others. Another composer (rearranged by guitar virtuosi very seldom) is a Spanish violin player - Pablo de Sarasate who lived at the turn of 19th and 20th centuries. He was a true eccentric! All his familiars confirmed that he was absent-imded, e.g. he consented to play three concerts at the same time, but didn't play any of them, haha. One of his greatest achievements are violin dances having a connection with Hungarian upper-middle class tradition. Most popular of them were csardas and verbunkos. I admit that Mr. Ferguson perfectly plays "Zigeunerweisen", that is "Gypsy melodies". In accordance with the traditional form of Hungarian dances, their first movement is calm (lassú), and the next one is played at fast tempo (friska). Both of them are performed with a flawless precision and a real mastery. Next we gonna move from the 20th century to baroque times, when a clerical (of a nickname "The Red Priest") lived. I am thinking of Antonio Vivaldi. He bequeathed to the humankind over five hundreds orchestral works, so Mr. Ferguson has had many to pick out. He placed a bet on "Summer" from a famed "Four Seasons". His performance is a real bliss, especially as its movement played presto (very fast), in Vivaldi's intention, was meant to reflect a hail storm, ruthlessly destroying a wheat field. I think that Ferguson's interpretation is nearest to Uli Jon Roth's and Olaf Lenk's. Guitar virtuosos get to work on "Flight of the Bumblebee" very often. Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov's composition derives from an opera titled "Tsar Saltan" (1900) that is based on Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin's fairy tale. You can hear it in the first scene of the second nude when the bumblebee flies out of the sea. Undoubtedly, Ferguson's version has appealed to me much more than Jose Del Rio's arrangement. Jose accelerated this composition excessively, and thereby distorted composer's original plan. As far as Korsakov himself is concerned, he was really unlucky! He wished to busy with the music, but his musical adventure started just eighteen years later after resigning from his military career. Kevin also wrote that "he [...] lived in St. Petersburg, where Wieniawski lived also at the time", but it's just an interesting fact. I am pretty sure that Mr. Ferguson administered us a "baroque titan" at the end not accidentally. Obviously, I mean Johann Sebastian Bach by aforementioned qualification. He composed two violin concertos in his life, and Mr. Ferguson explains in detail that J.S. Bach "is said to have written these after studying the violin concertos of Vivaldi, borrowing the fast 1st movement, slow lyric 2nd movement and fast gigue/dance 3rd movement form". My Dear Readers, I am lost for words to dwell on three-movement "Violin Concerto No. 1", and I can't write nothing more, but only that both its original and American's interpretation are characterized by a royal refinement! In any case, it's as majestic as "6th Violin Sonata Prelude" that is served by Kevin exquisitely.

Summing up a whole album, we should remember that Mr. Ferguson has conformed to tempos and instrumental voices used in originals. If you think that Yngwie Malmsteen's "Concerto Suite" is the best release with neoclassical music, you'd better reach out for "Strad To Strat", the more so because Swede's album was released three years after Ferguson's first solo music work! If you decide on a comparative analysis, take note of some differences between them, please: Malmsteen is a composer of "Concerto Suite", however Mr. Ferguson is a performer; the first musician recorded his work with a live orchestra, however Kevin did it using synth orchestra; Malmsteen is a self-taught instrumentalist, however Kevin is a professional musician, so he is able to do transcriptions himself with no help from the outside. Moreover, they have different attitudes to music writing. In the end, I'd like to add up that, for the sake of a repertoire, "Strad To Strat" is full of improvised parts, however Malmsteen went in opposite direction on "Concerto Suite". I am not surprised that "Strad To Strat" belonged to the group of neoclassical bestsellers at Guitar9 Records. On the other hand, I am very astonished when reviewers don't mention Ferguson's debut by reviewing Malmsteen's "Concerto Suite". I assure you that your collections, even with all Malmsteen's releases, aren't completed without this item! I wish to see Kevin and Yngwie on a common tour, but I am afraid that it's only a pipe dream, haha.
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