Randall Kohl: Octaviano Yáñez & Estudios Étnicos

Classical guitarist and composer, Randall Kohl, recently sent me some interesting materials. Kohl is on the music faculty of the Universidad Veracruzana en Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. I wanted to showcase three items: a new CD with music from the Orizaban guitarist of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, Octaviano Yáñez; his published anthology on Yáñez; as well as Kohl’s own book of etudes. Kohl, having both published the works Yáñez as well as recorded them, has made a significant contribution to the repertoire. I love these kinds of projects combining research, production, and performance. Read more info on Yáñez from the quotes below.

Dr. Randall Charles Kohl holds a BA in Music with Honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and a Doctorate in History and Regional Studies from the Universidad Veracruzana (UV) in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. He is a full-time, tenured professor on the Music Faculty at the Universidad Veracruzana and a member of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, of Mexico.


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“Little is known today about Octaviano Yáñez (1865-1927?) who was originally from the city of Orizaba in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. The most important piece of information about him is found in the magazine “El Arte Musical” which declared him, in 1905, to be the most important Mexican guitarist of his time. Significant, also, is the fact that maestro Yáñez was one of the first guitarists ever recorded, having been done so by the Edison and Victor recording companies during the first years of the 20th century. Nonetheless, throughout his career and up to modern times, very little of his music has been interpreted, recorded or distributed by others. This CD represents one of the few professional productions which consists entirely of his original compositions and arrangements, performed here by R. C. Kohl.” – Notes via CDBaby

Octaviano Yáñez Antología

Octaviano Yáñez
Antología de arreglos y composiciones para guitarra
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Editorial Académica Española (2011)
Language: Spanish
More info: eae-publishing.com

“This text on the today forgotten Veracruz guitarist, Octaviano Yáñez, is in recognition of the important place that he deserves within the history of the guitar in Mexico. The pieces published here were originally notated by him and represent a musical photograph of the Mexican Porfiriato and Revolutionary periods. In addition to an introduction on his life, brief historiographical and musical analysis as well as biographical information on the composers are included.”

Estudios Étnicos cover

Estudios Étnicos para la guitarra clásica
Purchase at concerts or through his Facebook Page

Ethnic Studies for classical guitar: an introduction to world music traditions for the classical guitarist, Part I
5 pieces, 44 pages

The five works in this collection are influenced from the music of Spain, Brasil, Ghana, Mexico, and the United States. These are combined with Kohl’s writing style. Solid pedagogical writing make these great etudes. They stay well-focused on single textures with consistent ‘ethnic’ rhythms. These are great pieces for those looking to expand their knowledge and skills or just looking for some new repertoire. There are nice write-ups on each piece which help the player to understand the basis and musical elements involved.

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