Tilman Hoppstock - Guitar

To talk about my first contact with the music of Cyril Scott I have to say that it is a pity that I had never listened to any music of him before I got involved with the Sonatina for guitar. When the italian guitarist and composer Angelo Gilardino discovered the original manuscript of this wonderful piece in the Segovia archive in Spain, everybody was astonished, especially Julian Bream, who knew about the existence of the piece, but he was sure that the music had been lost.

There is always something mysterious behind to know there was nobody before who has brought out a single note on guitar of a piece. On the other hand you are also not influenced by anybody else, because normally – even feel completely independent – you are always influenced by anybodies interpretation, even you play a piece in a different way. But here I started by zero. Step by step I discovered the piece and I tried to understand the spirit of the music.

I guess I was the first person who started to study the piece. A bit later Julian Bream asked Gilardino to do the world premiere in London at Wigmore Hall. Then I was doing the first performance in Germany the day after. Some weeks later I did the recording. It is really strange that no impressionistic composer – beside Cyril Scott – has written any piece for the guitar. You can find little parts of that typical musical language in works by Villa-Lobos or also in the wonderful Homenaje by Manuel de Falla, but real impressionistic music from this important epoche which was written for example by Ravel, Debussy or the other english impressionist John Ireland we don’t have for our instrument. And that is a pity, because the guitar with all the different colours, dynamics and nuances (for example harmonics are beautiful) is the perfect instrument to express many aspects of the impressionistic structure. For that reason we can be so grateful to have the Sonatina by Scott.

When I was studying the three movements of course I tried to get all recordings which had been available at this time, but I had to realize that not so many CDs existed on the international market 15 years ago. But I could listen to most of his piano music and some orchestra pieces, what helped a lot to understand the guitar piece much better, because it is not written very idiomatically for the guitar even the music is so wonderful. I guess that is the reason that not so many guitarists in the world perform the Sonatina in concert, because it is very very difficult to play, lets say a bit bulky if that is the right expression. The three movements are totally different and especially in the first movement you can feel that Scott must have thought more in pianistic structure when you play the parallel chords (also in the Finale). On the other side he creates such beautiful melodies in the first movement which fit very good to our instrument. I always loved to play the piece!

After I went deeper and deeper into the Sonatina I started myself to compose for the guitar in impressionistic style, at the beginning with my pseudonym Allan Willcocks (1869-1956), an English composer who lived in Paris for many years. To study the Sonatina by Cyril Scott gave me a big inspiration to write for the guitar, of course in a different style but typically impressionistic. The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet have commissioned a quartet piece, which they have been performing since november 2015

Tilman Hoppstock (*1961) has been highly acclaimed in the classical guitar scene for about three decades. As a concert soloist, recitalist and teacher of masterclasses he was invited to places like Paris, Amsterdam, London, Athens, Jerusalem, Ankara, Kiev, Casablanca, San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Tokyo, Mexico-City, Singapore and Sao Paulo. Invitations to international music festivals in Europe and overseas, as well as to the London Royal Academy, the Manhattan School of Music(New York) and the University of South California (Los Angeles), have been further highlights of his multifaceted career. 2003 - 2005 he was invited to teach as a guest professor at the Music University in Piteå (Sweden). In addition to his live performances, the artist has recorded 30 CDs which have been received enthusiastically by the press. 2010 and 2013 he published two critically acclaimed books about “Bach’s Lute Works from the Guitarist’s Perspective“ (Vol. 1, Suites BWV 995 & 996 and Vol. 2, BWV 998-1000, both at PRIM-Musikverlag). 

Besides his career as a recitalist, Mr. Hoppstock teaches international guitar classes the Academy of Music at Darmstadt (Germany). In 2013 Tilman Hoppstock has received the ”Darmstadt Music Award 2013” for his livework as guitarist, teacher, musicologist and publisher. In 2014 he obtained one‘s doctorate with his dissertation about „The Polyphony in Bach‘s Lute Fugues“. He has a predilection for crime novels and Russian literature, but is additionally an enthusiastic specialist in large and small ducks and stories based in the famous town of Duckburg. He is also a passionate lover of art and enjoys the great wines of France and Italy, preferably together with friends, and feels himself particularly attracted to Italy not only due to his love of wine.