Performed by the composer
It may not possess the gravitas of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier or Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis, nor does it explore the post-modern soundscapes of David Rakowski’s piano etudes, but classical guitarist Ken Hatfield’s set of etudes in all 24 major and minor keys is a well-written, elegant collection of pieces. Hatfield has a deft sense for chord voicings, crafting suave progressions even in those pesky flat keys that exploit nary an open string.
The WTC is given a nod with the contrapuntal treatment found in the B-flat and F major etudes. Others, such as the D-major and A-major works, channel hints of country music a lí¡ Chet Atkins. Elsewhere Joe Pass and Bucky Pizzarelli insinuate themselves into jazzy riffs and the occasional odd time signature, while the A-flat minor etude explores sensuous flamenco stylings. Hatfield’s set of etudes would be an excellent instructional for guitarists trying to extend their technique to encompass a variety of positions and progressions; but they also make for enjoyable listening.