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Horst Klee (Guitar)

Born: 1952 - Bad Kreuznach, Germany

The German guitarist, Horst Klee, started to play the guitar at the age of ten and obtained piano lessons two years later. However, his actual field of interest was rather the concert guitar than the pop-orientated guitar. In these early years he was influenced above all by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mick Taylor. His first teacher taught him the Carcassi method , and his skills were so average, that after three years of exhausting Carcassi-plucking Klee eventually gave up the lessons to dedicate himself to Pop Music with heart and soul. Aged 16, he could play every solo of his idols to the tiniest nuance. In these years, he has learnt incredibly much. Precision, playing together, strength,sound developing and expression aroused.

Horst Klee had over 500 concerts with different groups till his 20th. He played especially concerts with popular music. Rock and Pop Music in various formations, consisting at time of three musicians, sometimes of eight. Occasionally, he played in several groups at the same time. Seven years, there was nearly never a free weekend. He played on Gala arrangements for the so-called "High Society" with a show band, that defined itself playing better entertainment music, than, again with a Rock-group in a smoke-filled discotheque. When he started to study Music, he felt this new territory in fact most interesting, but at the same time very well-behaved and conventional.

In 1973 Horst Klee started his studies in music at the Wiesbadener Conservatorium. Consequently (class of Gunter Attenburg), he rediscovered this kind of music with which he never could be friends with as a child. Thanks to his nostalgic feelings and a better musical understanding he discovered a certain attraction to Carcassi all of a sudden. The circumstance that was no technically and musically problem to play the small compositions, spurred him on. Still in complete ignorance of possibilities of the instrument, a former friend gave him some classical lessons. Referring to former conditions the friend played the concert guitar excellently and Klee payed him great reverence, for he played parts of the first Lute Suite of Bach. He was also in possession of the extensive school work of Bruno Henze that later became the basis of Klee's further study. From time to time Klee realized that the guitar offered a lot more possibilities of expressions than the E-guitar. The Pop Music lost its importance more and more, the curiosity towards classical music increased constantly and there was no doubt left anymore - he had to study music.

During his three year at the Wiesbadener Konservatorium Horst Klee played only twenty compositions. Every interpretation took incredibly much time and effort for he first had to acquire technical skills, because he still wanted to reach a high level right from the beginning. In the first semester he played Melancholy Galliard by John Dowland. He bought all interpretations available on record and compared them with each other. Then he applied his acquired skills to his interpretation. In this way, he learned all that subtleties what standard music lessons never would have offered. Over the years he adopted this kind of learning with the aim to play exemplary interpretations and to safe them on record. Of course exemplary interpretations can just possess validity for him and are subjected to experiences and changes of taste. But the base remains constant: the use and the correct relations of brains, soul, imagination and inspiration.

Even today Horst Klee still work on a program a very long time, but do not longer orientate himself to other guitarist. Moreover he admire the level of interpretations by violinists and pianists and learn a lot of them. It took him nearly two years practising for the record Gitarrenmusik of Manuel Ponce.

In 1977 Horst Klee continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende in in Frankfurt am Main (class of Michael Teuchert). He also studied with Professor Robert Brojer and Professor Kaarl Scheit..

Host Klee said in an interview
"There is no use to learn in peace and quite, you have to know what others do in order to remain competitive, and you need to listen to things also that do not correspond to your own conception. This maybe can strengthen your own opinien and your own way.Consequently you educate yourself to self critic which is absolutely essential for every artist. My former teacher Altenburg taught me an excellent base technique and this enabled me to pursue my autodidactic studies. The huge expressiveness of Julian Bream, for instance inspired me. Now there are two possibilities: I only can enjoy it as a listener and leave it at that, or I investigate which technical procedures results in such expressiveness.
I have learned a lot from the American guitarist Christopher Parkening. He is one of the most sensitive and intelligent guitarist at all. It astonishes me that he is quite most unknown in Europe. Listening Bream and Parkening I learn for instance the specific use of sounds and their application. Every guitarist should analyse the Sonata A-Dur of Anton Diabelli in the Bream interpretation concerning the use of different tone production.. The process of acquisition should, in this case not only refer to acoustical perception, moreover you have to understand why Bream uses the timbres and what effect they have. I constantly tried to analyse interesting sounds which requires a lot of effort, especially at Parkening. He dominates an absolute extraordinary playing in a cantabile way whose sensitiveness and intimacy is unique. It took some time until I understood that motorized processes of the touching fingers could not realize the sound. Moreover I had, in order to imitate this effect apply a certain type of strings that showed a milky, unpolished surface. You can control the strings better with the fingernails because of their rough surface, certain sound effects when playing gently and very calm can be accomplished. This sound effect is evident, for instance at Parkening's playing the three cantatas on his Bach record. The melody sounds comfortable smooth, it is stimulated with vibrato and appears extraordinary cantabile and you hear very it very clearly. This is only one example for subtle controlling of a very complicated technique towards which I feel more admiration than the rape of a Picture of a Exhibition transcription.
The elements of art are founded in the detail. The development of a clear and clean tone production is only the base. Many famous guitarists, even some famous ones, remain at this point and are content about it. They play with a constant boring sound which reminds me of playing a piano in a very poorly way. But the guitar is like a organ with many register and after that there is much more to explore.

Horst Klee teaches classical guitar at the Konservatorium in Wiesbaden and at the Musikschule in Bad Kreuznach.



Source: Horst Klee Website; Liner notes to the LP 'Meisterwerke der Gitarre' (Solist, 1980)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2008)

Horst Klee: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Host Klee (Official Website)

 

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Last update: July 15, 2008 16:19:48