Guitarist Anthony Wilson on John Monteleone’s “Four Seasons” Guitars | MetCollects


(soft piano playing) (playing “Traditional”
by Anthony Wilson) – When John built these
Four Seasons guitars, he asked me to write music
for the quartet. He has a very refined sense of
line and proportion and design. All of those beautiful touches
inspire the player. But his primary concern
is sound and resonance. Each guitar has a little bit
of a different way of speaking. This is the winter guitar. It was the first one
that he completed. It’s got an oval hole, and so
a quite big and developed tone. (playing) So it almost
creates its own little theater. Archtop instruments,
when you play them quiet, they tend to feel
like they’re disappearing, and then when you play them
loud, they freak out, and you can’t get what
you’re looking for out of them. But this…
(playing quietly) at the most kind of…
(playing quietly) delicate dynamic, speaks. It doesn’t get lost. And then, as you kind of… (playing with increasing volume) You know…
(strums loudly) You have quite a bit of room
to play with, as a player, as a composer. (playing “Traditional”) So it makes a beautiful
foundation for the other instruments
in the ensemble. (playing “Jackson”
by Anthony Wilson) This is the spring guitar. It has its own visual brightness
and freshness about it, but it also has
this kind of forward, throaty sound that I love. (continues playing “Jackson”) I almost think of this guitar,
in terms of the whole quartet, as more of the
soprano instrument. That beautiful
birdlike quality, even though it’s the same range. (high-pitched, fluttering
playing) The same time, though,
as I play it, it still has a beautiful,
balanced bass, beautiful low-end response. (lower-pitched playing) (playing “Alla Chitarra”
by Anthony Wilson) This is the summer guitar
of the Four Seasons. This one has
this beautiful scroll borrowed from the mandolin
family of instruments. And it has also an oval hole,
similar to the winter guitar. The sound tends
to whoosh out of them. The winter guitar has a
little more thump to the bass. There’s something in the bass
of this guitar that’s rounder. (playing low notes) You can see this guitar is big, but when you’re holding it,
it just feels so good. It doesn’t feel intimidating. This guitar is autumn, suggested by that beautiful
burnished color. And slightly, in this sense,
a more burnished tone. You know, a little bit… (playing) Slightly darker. (playing) I love this guitar
because of the way it handles beautiful,
complex harmonies. (playing “Vida Perdida Acadou”
by Anthony Wilson) These Four Seasons guitars
are just a testament to how guitars have characters
and personalities if you can just
tune in with them. (acoustic guitar playing)

5 Replies to “Guitarist Anthony Wilson on John Monteleone’s “Four Seasons” Guitars | MetCollects”

  1. Insane how the luthier and this player can actually make the guitars sound like their seasons. The Spring guitar is open and bright, the Summer is the warmest archtop I've ever heard. Such mastery.

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