Songs of Yesterday
Matt Withers – Australian Guitarist
McLean Arr. Atkins
- Vincent (Starry Starry Night)
Jobim Arr. Dyens
Lennon/McCartney Arr. Takemitsu
- Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Hart/Rodgers Arr. Almeida
- Blue Moon
Harburg/Arlen Arr. Almeida
- Over the Rainbow
Brel/Jouannest Arr. Dyens
- La Chanson Des Vieux Amants
Piaf/Monnot Arr. Dyens
- L’Hymne a L’Amour
- Tango en Skaï
Myers Arr. Williams
Three Irish Folk Songs Arr. Marsh
- The Harp That Once
- From Clare to Here
- Will Ye Go Lassie, Go
Sojo Arr. Williams
- Que No Te Quiera más
- Preludio de Adios
Morricone Arr. Takeuchi – Cinema Paradiso – Featuring Tim Kain
- Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
- Prima Gioventu
- Tema d’amore
About Songs of Yesterday
Songs of Yesterday draws upon the music of the past, conjuring beautiful memories through arrangements of timeless songs and passionate works for the classical guitar.
Sit back and let this album take you away somewhere over the rainbow to where dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
Matt Withers is an ambassador for Australian music, a well-established classical guitar pedagogue, performer and role model for musicians across the country. His career to date has seen him perform with highly esteemed artists of the likes of William Barton, the Carl Pini Quartet, Sally Whitwell, many of Australia’s orchestras as well as maintaining strong commitments in the leading Australian chamber music groups Guitar Trek alongside Timothy Kain, AM and in The Brew Guitar Duo.
Matt has a strong history of performing, recording and commissioning Australian works from distinguished composers as well as from generational peers. With solo and chamber studio albums released on ABC Classics (Australia) and Soundset Recordings (USA), he thrives on taking his music to wider audiences. His entrepreneurial activities include the creation and development of the Matt Withers Australian Music Composition Competition which gives an avenue of support for Australian composers to have their music reach the ears and hearts of audiences. Matt has presented lectures on his passion The Entrepreneurial Guitarist in Europe to blossoming artists, eager to also find their niche in the musical world.
Matt has performed across the globe including being featured as a Rising Star at the World Expo in Shanghai (China) and has given countless showcase performances across Australia, New Zealand and Europe with highlights at embassies, universities, international music festivals and for community organisations. Matt has been invited to be an adjudicator for major guitar competitions including the Melbourne International Guitar Festival (Australia) and the Uppsala Guitar Festival (Sweden).
He is a mentor for young, emerging guitarists and musicians as shown through his role as Patron for the Senior Ensemble of SAYGE – the South Australian Youth Guitar Ensemble. Matt is regularly invited to present masterclasses for tertiary students around Australia and internationally having mentored in Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, the Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (Wellington), many regional centres and across Europe. With a strong social media following, Matt is truly an all-round musician of the 21st century, having developed a passion as a sound engineer, graphic designer, media liaison and marketing manager. The graphic design and studio recording of his own albums has earned him the praise the recording is excellent, as is the presentation. (UK Classical Guitar Magazine)
Tim Kain is one of Australia’s most respected classical guitarists whose performing and teaching activities have taken him across the globe, building an international reputation both as a leading instrumentalist and classical guitar pedagogue. Tim has performed and recorded with many of Australia’s leading musicians, most notably flautist Virginia Taylor with whom he has recorded four CD’s. Other career highlights have included concerto performances with all of Australia’s major symphony orchestras and a close collaboration with John Williams as his duo partner. He has also dedicated much of his energy to the nurturing of the next generation of Australian guitarists and contributed immensely to the creation of new repertoire for the guitar through his collaborations with composers and his pioneering work with Guitar Trek, Australia’s premier guitar quartet established in 1987. In 2013, Tim was made a member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to Australian music.
The repertoire on this album was carefully chosen to take you on a musical journey down memory lane with the Songs of Yesterday. Themed around arrangements of many popular songs, often originally for voice or in a vocal style, these tunes will inspire a heartfelt connection to a time or place of joy in our lives with friends and family; the people we love. Imagine beautiful artworks, the colourful canvases of Van Gogh and drift away with this music.
A number of melodies on the album are a tribute to great guitarists & composers. Laurindo Almeida (1917 – 1995), a cross-over Brazilian guitarist, arranged Blue Moon & Over the Rainbow and impacted classical, jazz and Latin genres immensely. The range of these styles are featured on this compilation, tied together through a vocal theme of love and happiness. Roland Dyens (1955 – 2016) was a French composer, guitarist and arranger represented on this album with his reworking of Jobim’s Felicidade (Happiness), Brel’s Song for Old Lovers and Edith Piaf’s Hymn of Love combined in this homage with Dyens’ own light-hearted composition, Tango en Skai with a transparent cheekiness. Chet Atkins (1924 – 2001) is known as one of the most important guitarists in history with a truly recognisable picking style combining bass, rhythm and melody in a solo work, displayed in his arrangement of Don McLean’s Vincent (Starry Starry Night).
Two standout works for guitar aficionados are Cavatina and Recuerdos de la Alhambra, pinnacle works of the classical guitar repertoire. Cavatina, originally a piano work was recomposed by Stanley Myers at John Williams’ suggestion becoming immensely popularised as the theme tune to The Deer Hunter (1978). Memories of the Alhambra, which has also been used in countless films, mimics the quality of the voice through the right-hand tremolo guitar technique, giving the illusion of sustain in the melody. Three remarkably recognisable themes from Cinema Paradiso (1988) are brought to life by Japanese composer Noriyasu Takeuchi, as Matt performs as a duo with his mentor and founding colleague in Guitar Trek, Tim Kain.
Arranged for solo guitar here by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930 – 1996), Yesterday by The Beatles’ Paul McCartney was voted the Number One Pop Song Of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. As one of the most recognised songs in history, McCartney tells how the melody simply came to him in a dream.
Included as a collection, the Three Irish Folk Songs arranged by English guitarist Steve Marsh, are a personal nostalgia of Matt’s heritage bringing together the Irish spirit and culture through these beautiful tunes. Will Ye Go Lassie, Go is also know by the title Wild Mountain Thyme is sometimes considered to be of Scottish origin with variants of these folk songs’ poems and melodies passed down from generation to generation.
The South American works, such as Cardoso’s Milonga, display great melodies and rhythms. Preludio de Adios is Montes’ farewell to his home of Venezuela, knowing he would never return and similarly, Sojo’s I Should No Longer Love You tells the story of passion and heartache.
Available online on iTunes, Spotify and other leading digital platforms.
Recorded at: Electric Avenue Studios, Sydney. July 2017.
Executive Producer: Tim Kain
Recording Engineer: Mixed & Mastered by Bob Scott
Assistant Engineer: Dave Anderson
Editing: Matt Withers
Booklet Design: Matt Withers
Photographs: Pg 2 Rohan Thomson, Pg 7 Josie Withers
Guitars: Matt Withers – Greg Smallman & Sons 1999, Courtesy of Carolyn Kidd.
Tim Kain – Greg Smallman & Sons 2015.
Cover Art: Eucalyptus Leaves by Sue Needham