Guitar Cosmos – Reginald Smith Brindle

Reginald Smith Brindle wrote the Guitarcosmos series (published by Schott) and longer works such his Polifemo de Oro, recorded by Julian Bream and others.


The studies contained in Volume 1 of Guitarcosmos are very varied. As the composer states in the introduction: ‘There is tonal music, and atonal music, pieces using whole-tone and pentatonic scales, modal music, bitonality, serial techniques and music in the style of free dissonance’.

As played by Julian Bream, Smith Brindle’s music is imbued with a very wide tonal spectrum. By playing these pieces on a short-scale classical guitar of 60cms string length, strung in gut trebles and silk basses, and plucked with just the flesh of the fingertips, the tonal pallet is more muted. I actually prefer this restricted range as it focusses the attention more on the intervalic relationships within a piece, and brings out an almost Renaissance lute-like quality which you may or may not find attractive.



A couple of videos of other pieces by Regi…

De Angelis:


And his first attempt at writing guitar music, Nocturne:


Finally, the beautiful homage to his teacher, Ricordo de Luigi Dallapiccola:


Here is a wiki page on Smith Brindle, and a Guardian Obituary.

4 thoughts on “Guitar Cosmos – Reginald Smith Brindle”

  1. Interesting to see (and hear) RSB. I tried to persuade Radio 3’s Hear & Now to do a programme on him but no luck! I especially like the arpeggio studies.

    • Thanks, I like his music a lot, string quartets and all – deeply Romantic, despite the modern language. I say modern, but it is already “of a period” and maybe it will become more popular as such in 50 years’ time.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Holger Eggemann said:

    Pero las tiene abrazadas, un polifemo de oro, la guitarra.

    Congratulations Rob. Very intimate recordings of RSB music. Rather like it.

    And I´ve also liked the recordings of Julian Bream, and played El polifemo de oro in a competition about 30 years ago. Now, after years of no practise, I have started again with the guitar. And you have freed me from growing my nails. Good sound is possible. My first teacher made me play with flesh only like for about one year, as it is cited on your site from the old masters. Thanks for all instructions and videos.

    Cheers Holger, Cologne

    • Hello Holger. Nice to hear from you. I’ve been meaning to add to my Smith Brindle page. Hopefully I can do that soon.
      Good to see you have returned to the guitar. Keep those nails off the strings! 🙂

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