Leif Christensen

For many of the current crop of players of the 19th-century repertoire for the Russian 7-string guitar, the LP by the tragically late, Leif Christensen, devoted to the music of Vasilii Sarenko (the composer whose name adorns this website) was seminal.

Christensen was an amazing and revolutionary guitarist. At a time when most performers were putting out recordings of popular Spanish encore pieces, Christensen devoted whole albums to one composer, and often a rather obscure composer at that. No one at that time had recorded a whole album of Giulio Regondi, or both monumental Sonatas for guitar by Hans Werner Henze; and who in Europe had heard of the very obscure Russian composer, Vasilii Sarenko, let alone the 7-string Russian guitar??

If you are lucky, you might be able to find the original LP, or even the CD (now also out of print). The booklet notes to the LP are well worth reading, and even the cover is highly evocative and inspirational:

 

 

One track is on youtube, the beautiful Etude in Bm:

 

 

Wikipedia entry:

Leif Christensen (1950–1988) was a Danish classical guitarist.

Christensen was born in Århus, Denmark, where he studied theory and history of music at the University of Århus and guitar at the Royal Academy of Music. He then studied with Konrad Ragossnig at the Basel Music Academy, after which he returned to Århus. His recording debut came in 1981 with an LP of music by the 19th-century composer and guitarist Giulio Regondi.

Christensen was the first guitarist to record both of the Royal Winter Music sonatas by Hans Werner Henze, and also made recordings of music by Fernando Sor and Vasilii Sarenko, the latter on a Russian seven-string guitar.

In addition to his solo performances and recordings, Christensen played in a duo with his wife Maria Kämmerling, also a respected solo artist. They made three records together.

Christensen died in a car crash in 1988,in Denmark approx. 20 km outside Aalborg, Roldskov(a wood) due to a slippery icy road.

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