Courtesy of Schiffer Publishing Erica Goldsmith performed with “The Acoustical Guitar of Lucilia Jowett” during a recording session at PS 21 in New York City.
You may have seen Erica Goldsmith play acoustically at Carnegie Hall, the Barnes Foundation or the Village Vanguard, but no one has really heard the finished product until now.
Goldsmith and her 10-string acoustic guitar are featured in a book with the same name. Called “The Acoustical Guitar of Lucilia Jowett,” the book has been compiled with the help of Glass Guitar magazine, a publication for glass guitar players.
The book recounts Goldsmith’s introduction to glass guitar when she was in college. At the time, she began to wonder if she could play the instrument. “My college professor told me that when you hear a piece of music where an instrument plays it, that’s very rare,” she said. “And if you can play that, that’s a fantastic thing to do.”
Eventually, Goldsmith studied the performance of both acoustic and metal guitars. The experience changed her life. She was amazed by the sounds made by only one finger. Once she learned to play the instrument, she started composing and recording.
Goldsmith created a DVD, “The Acoustical Guitar of Lucilia Jowett,” which includes interviews with her and the former head of Glass Guitar magazine, Jeremy Kaposh.
It also features a recording session at PS 21’s Brick Plaza in Manhattan, where Jowett played all of her own music and also performed with Goldsmith.
“I got quite absorbed in what she was doing,” Goldsmith said. “It was amazing to me the ways in which she incorporated these pieces into her playback.”
This audio recording is meant to be experienced as you listen to the recording. The instruments are in one room and the camera is in another, so it feels like you are actually part of the performance.
Jowett is a great example of what can be accomplished with acoustic guitars, but they can also be made entirely out of glass.
Photographer Matthew Spence recorded a series of vignettes with Ceramicists Gavan and Jon Dingwall, one of the best known glass guitar practitioners in the world. Their guitars are so expressive it is sometimes difficult to hear the instruments because of the warm sounds coming from them.
There are so many instruments to choose from and with such an expressive and intricately handcrafted sound, acoustic and glass guitar players share the same musical focus. Even after more than seven decades, the guitar is one of the last truly shared instruments.