Johnson | Twenty-One Years CD

Johnson | Twenty-One Years CD

Model: 20462 / DA 1000 UPC: 888295633413
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Twenty-One Years CD
Composer: Louis Valentine Johnson
Model: DA 1000
Recorded at Dos Almas Studios and Flying Whale Studios

Twenty-One Years (1:18)

The Peace Concerto
Portraits (10:21)
Song of Peace (5:21)
The Question (10:45)

Tres Pensamientos Latinos
Snowfall in El Escorial (4:25)
Lullaby of Love (4:40)
Malaguena California! (4:47)

People respond to personal tragedy in a million different ways. For the prolific American guitarist and composer Louis Valentine Johnson, the death of his son Alexander at the age of 21 several years ago led to Johnson memorializing his beloved child in music: the three-movement, nearly 27-minute Peace Concerto that dominates this CD release (as well as the short Prelude, “Twenty-One Years,” that kicks off the disc).

As Johnson writes in the poignant liner notes, “The Peace Concerto embraces memories as Alex grew from from a baby to a little boy to a young man who then had his own son. These compositions encompass as much as music can. the opus includes our love, his struggles, his life Valiantly Running With Fire, playing The Cape, The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends, Greensleeves, and Tárrega on guitar by the fireplace, plus much more.” And indeed it is multi-layered work that runs a gamut of emotions and musical textures. Johnson has an unerring feel for melody, and he manages to connect the different musical threads he creates quite naturally. The influence of Spanish and Latin American composers comes through in many places, but there are also American folk strains evident and even nods to the Baroque. The middle movement of the Peace Concerto, “Song of Peace,” is particularly affecting. Johnson’s tremendously detailed notes about the Concerto certainly add to emotional heft of the piece, but I think that even if you didn’t know what inspired the work, it would probably move you. It’s quite a journey.

The concluding Tres Pensamientos Latinos makes for a pleasing conclusion to the disc; all three “thoughts” are infused with rich Spanish/Latin flavors, from soulful balladry to an exciting improv on classic Spanish tropes.

~ Blair Jackson, Editor-in-Chief-Classical Guitar Magazine


  • Model: 20462 / DA 1000
  • Manufactured by: Johnson, Louis Valentine
  • UPC: 888295633413
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