Norwegian classical guitarist Christina Sandsengen marked the 40th anniversary of Randy Rhoads’ death with a stunning performance of Dee.
Playing her custom-built Stephan Connor Portrait classical guitar, Sandsengen makes Rhoads' difficult changes look all too easy, and those harmonics really pop. Connor’s Portrait models are notable not only for their custom rosettes but for the player-facing soundhole – not unlike the Player Port as found on the Gibson Generation Collection.
Sandsengen started on piano aged seven, and only picked up the guitar aged 15, taking lessons from Martin Haug before enrolling in a degree programme at the Norwegian Academy of Music and studying under Erik Stenstadvold. She now sits on the board of the Classical Guitar Association of Norway, and teaches classical guitar with Elite Guitarist.
As for Dee, a classical instrumental was an unorthodox choice for Ozzy Osbourne’s debut solo LP, Blizzard Of Ozz, and one the record company did not approve of. But revitalised and inspired by his collaboration with Rhoads, the Prince of Darkness put his foot down and it stayed.
Thematically, it made perfect sense, almost foreshadowing some of the baroque musical themes that Rhoads would later use on Revelation (Mother Earth), albeit themes contextualised within the more muscular aesthetic of an eco-conscious ‘80s metal epic.
Rhoads was a keen student of classical guitar. But he could take or leave the conservatoire sensibility when it came to touring with Ozzy. As Ozzy revealed to MusicRadar, Rhoads knew exactly just how to bring the two worlds of classical music and heavy metal together.
“I remember we were in a hotel in Canada, and there was a classical piano player,” said Ozzy. “Randy just said, ‘Do you mind if I join you?’ I’m thinking, ‘What the f*** is he doing now?’ Randy got his little Pignose amp and Les Paul from his room and starts playing classical. The guy was impressed… But then Randy starts throwing rock ’n’ roll shapes in. It was f***ing hilarious!”
Read the full interview with Ozzy Osbourne sharing his favourite memories of Rhoads here.