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Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet | Peace

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by Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet

A creative journey of new compositions by Louis Valentine Johnson, Fernando Sor, and Mark A. Radice for classical guitar performed by Louis Valentine Johnson with the Dos Almas String Quartet, produced by Richard Altenbach on the Dos Almas Music label.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Toccata, Evocation & Fandango: I. Toccata (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
1:40 $0.99
2. Toccata, Evocation, & Fandango: II. Evocation (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
3:20 $0.99
3. Toccata, Evocation, & Fandango: III. Fandango (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
4:11 $0.99
4. Allegretto in B Minor (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
3:34 $0.99
5. The Peace Concerto: I. Portraits (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
10:08 $0.99
6. The Peace Concerto: II. Song of Peace (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
5:43 $0.99
7. The Peace Concerto: III. The Question (Arr. for Guitar and String Quartet)
Louis Valentine Johnson & The Dos Almas String Quartet
10:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Music can express our deepest emotions. Especially in dark times of tragedy and tribulation, it is through music a composer finds their way along the journey toward catharsis.

The inspiration for recording these compositions, especially The Peace Concerto,
emerged from trials in my personal life. Following the death of my son, Alex Johnson in 2010, I needed to address the pain and honor his life in a meaningful manner as a composer, musician and father. I owe deep gratitude to my son, my beautiful sweetheart Libby, grandson Alex II, daughter Heidi, my family, friends and fellow musicians, designers, and artists who shared their talents to make this important monument a reality.
I compose music to illustrate what I cherish most - the people in my life.
In The Peace Concerto you will hear the influence of classical styles, wild flamenco breezes, whispers from folk music, and even quotations from the great Romantics. From this palette, I aspired to bring these colors together in an innovative way to convey a wash of feelings.
Cullan Bryant adds an exciting string quartet arrangement.
We begin the CD with my friend Mark A. Radice’s delightful contribution, Toccata, Evocation and Fandango - a virtuosic exploration of the guitar ranging from soulful beauty to thrilling excess; Philip Rothman wrote a sensitive and deeply haunting string quartet accompaniment.
Fernando Sor’s immortal guitar masterpiece, Allegretto in B-Minor (originally Étude #22, and also called Study # 5 by Segovia), finds new life in my guitar presentation which combines with the lovely string quartet accompaniment written by Craig E. Palmer and Richard Altenbach.

Richard Altenbach violin 1.
Sid Page violin 2 on The Peace Concerto.
Aubrey Fisher violin 2 on Toccata, Evocation, & Fandango, and Allegretto in B minor.
Lynne Richburg viola,
Susan Lamb Cook cello.
Richard Altenbach produced this recording, supervised the recording sessions, and engraved the sheet music scores available at www.dosalmas.com.

Our cover art painting is by the distinguished Czech Republic artist Ales Pancner.
We are fortunate to have a description of Ales Pancner’s artistic intentions:

We live with our guitars, dream with our guitars while watching the full moon, pass away with our guitars. In this painting there is one guitar in sharp focus in front with a view through the sound hole as we sing by the bonfire. Another just behind it soft and passing. And another in the sky that is becoming a new sunny day. The sound hole represents a moon but becomes a sun too: circle of the guitarist’s life. These beautiful instruments give us special company through all our ups and downs.

Mark A. Radice writes about his composition:
I wrote the Toccata, Evocation, and Fandango
 specifically for Lou Johnson after he mentioned to
 me, in the fall of 1997, the idea of a recording featuring
 contemporary music for the guitar. I was at once 
intrigued by the opportunity to write a piece for
 such a fine performing artist and, at the same time, 
keenly aware of the fact that I knew nothing about 
the guitar. Like Falla, I made the rounds of many 
guitar methods, and I isolated a number of special
 techniques that appealed to me and that I thought
would be useful in writing this composition.
 Knowing Lou Johnson’s fascination with Baroque 
music (see Guitarra Clasica II-Dos Almas Music 1996), 
I decided to write a synthetic piece: Its three-movement 
plan derives from the Baroque concerto in the 
tempo sequence fast-slow-fast. Likewise, the opening
Toccata, written in an improvisational manner in
 order to give the guitarist freedom of tempo, rhythm,
and expression, is clearly indebted to early eighteenth-
century models—despite some sonorities that
would have horrified Baroque ears. Like its baroque 
ancestors, my Toccata takes quite a few unexpected
 turns. It differs from them though, in that it is thematically 
linked with the following two movements. 
Indeed, the harmonics that appear in the Toccata provide 
the basis of the Evocation and play an important
role at the denouement of the Fandango.
 The Evocation is a heart-rending elegy in memory 
of a young life taken by a Colorado blizzard. A boy 
had gone sledding, become lost, and by the time he
was found and taken to the hospital, it was too late.
The twofold tragedy—that for the boy himself and
 that of his family and loved ones—is represented 
in the formal design and musical structure of the
 The transition from the Evocation to the Fandango 
takes place as though in a daze. Once the Fandango is
 in progress though, it is rhythmically assertive and
 clearly focused in the key of E. Twenty-first century 
cathedral bells ring out colors of life’s optimism in 
the face of despair. The piece combines a technical 
and musical tour de force for the guitarist, who must
 perform harmonics, tambouras, portamentos, string bends,
tremolos, rasqueados of various types, as well
 as pizzicato and finger brushing. Chromatic chordal
 and melodic alterations abound in a weaving of five measure
 phrases encompassing Moorish and traditional
 Western European musical elements. The
 augmented second is used as a motif throughout the
 movement. Elements of both the Toccata and of the
Evocation appear again in the Fandango, which in an 
unbridled surge of energy, rushes to its triumphant

Dr. Mark A. Radice, November 23, 1998, 
Ithaca College School of Music, Ithaca, New York.

 (Segovia Study No. Five).

Arranged by Louis Valentine Johnson, String Quartet arranged by Craig E. Palmer and Richard Altenbach.
 Allegretto in B Minor by our famous Fernando Sor has always been one of my favorite compositions. It has been called the guitarist’s Moonlight Sonata.
Sor was a Spanish virtuoso (his father was a guitarist) performer and teacher, a soldier in a Catalan regiment near Barcelona, and a productive composer who was born and/or baptized on Valentine’s day, 1778. He died at the age of 61 on July 10, 1839 in Paris. This lovely piece found a position of prominence again in the Twentieth Century when Segovia titled it Study Number Five in B Minor, and included it in his published edition of Twenty Studies by Fernando Sor. Segovia’s book of Sor studies is used often by students and is also a professional resource for classical guitarists. Andres Segovia, Julian Bream, John Williams, Narciso Yepes, and many other guitarists have recorded this piece.
 I have always been encouraged by Sor’s adventurous spirit and strong statements because he addressed and practiced ideas that were often substantially different from those of his contemporaries. He implemented actions contrary to the accepted rules of his time regarding right hand fingers, the use of adjacent strings, strict alternations, and the playing of scale passages with pulgar and indicio in the style of previous generations of lutenists and Baroque guitarists. Fernando Sor was one of the most daring musical personalities of his epoch. He was a superb composer/performer who enjoyed a distinguished career. Sor’s life was far from smooth. In addition to having to leave Spain and live in France because of politics and war, he was accused by guitarists and critics of cheating by not playing all of the notes that he wrote into his compositions. Guitarists know that the beauty of Fernando Sor’s prodigious body of work rests securely on a sparkling pinnacle for our instrument.

Composed by Louis Valentine Johnson.
Arranged for string quartet by NYC pianist Cullan Bryant.
A solo guitar recording of this piece was recorded in 2018 on the Dos Almas label.

A happy birth,
Valiantly running with fire,
The end of life, Tearful the death,
Like a fantasia of the ascension,
I do not want to leave you,
Because I love you so,
The sadness of goodbye


Open your eyes.
Give your deeds 

As gentle flowers, 

To your hearts, homes, and friends. 

Know their sweet fragrance. 

We are of the same earth. 

More alike than different.

Gently send thoughts of peace

To those you love.

Could love, and have loved.

Take peace to the world.

Start with your family.

Share with others.

Open your eyes

To peace in the world.

Alex and Lou Johnson
, September 10, 2007
Grass Valley, CA

I am here,
Running through life,
Thoughts of the dark fire,
Greensleeves by the fireplace,
There is no answer,
What a big surprise is this light in my life,
Happy with my Mommy and Daddy,
Quotation from Francisco Tarrega,
I live!

Hold your loved ones always safe and close to your heart…
Lou V. Johnson - August 2019



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