Paul Galbraith & Antonio Meneses at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word, Jan. 19, 2020


Galbraith & Meneses

On January 21, two world-renowned Grammy-nominated soloists, guitarist, Paul Galbraith and cellist, Antonio Meneses appeared in concert together as the Galbraith/Meneses Duo as well as individually. The pair performed at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word at 597 East Ave.
Paul Galbraith played an 8-string guitar with a lower A string and a higher A string. The whole instrument is then tuned down a whole step resulting in G—D-G-C-F-A-D—G. The scale and width of the fretboard were naturally increased to accommodate the additional strings and extended range but the design using a fanned fret layout which helped mitigate increasing the scale and tension that would otherwise be required.

According to “Several companies now offer seven-and eight-string guitars with fanned frets (also known as multiple-scale fretboards), where the nut, bridge and frets are installed at varying angles instead of perpendicular to the strings. These instruments provide the best of both worlds—shorter scale lengths for the treble strings and longer scale lengths for the bass strings—delivering the comfortable “slinky” playability guitarists prefer for the treble strings along with bright tone and reliable intonation afforded by adequate tension on the bass strings.”

Galbraith took the design further by adding a cello-like endpin and holding the instrument similar to a cello. The endpin rests on a resonater box for further amplification. This gives him a unique style and allows him to play classical pieces not possible on a standard instrument.

The music was exquisitely, if not perfectly played. The guitar, modestly amplified, sounded big and rich. It filled the space and was well matched to the cello. They played terrifically together, inspiring a standing ovation and a well appreciated encore. While I may have a bias towards guitars, I found the cello a wonderful compliment in sound and Antonio Meneses a most skilled performer. I can not comment on the instrument or performance other than to say the combination made for a delightful afternoon of classical arrangements! The program follows:

Performer “Title” (Composer)

Galbraith, “Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998 in Eb Major” (J.S. Bach, arr. P. Galbraith in D major)
Galbraith, Meneses, “Sonata in A minor, D.821 “Arpeggione”“ (Franz Schubert)
~Allegro moderato, Adagio, Allegretto
Meneses “Three Dances from Suite Macambira for solo cello” (2007, Clovis Pireira)
~canto do cego, Danca caracteristica, Frevo canzonado
Galbraith, Meneses, “Suite Brasileira No.2,” “Five Places from an Imaginary Brazil,” (Andre Mehmari)
~Palmeira Triste, Corrego das Almas, Terra Seca, Cordisburgo do Sul, Manacapora-Andura
Galbraith, Meneses, “Sonata for Cello and Guitar” (Radames Gnattali)
~Allegretto comodo, Adagio, Con spirito
Galbraith, Meneses, “Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5” (Heitor Villa-Lobos) (Originally written for soprano and 8 cellos, arranged for guitar and soprano by the composer; Antonio Meneses played the soprano part!)

~Tom Napoli

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