New reviews

EN LA TIERRA: Six 21st-Century Guitar Concertos (2 CDs set)
by Brian Head, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, James Smith, Martha Masters (guitars),
with USC Thornton Edge, Donald Crockett conductor, Doberman-Yppan
Top guitarists and ensemble bring life to adventurous program.
A double CD with six new concertos is quite an event. Five years in the making, this is the inspiration of the famous publishing house Doberman-Yppan and its founder, Paul Gerrits.
En la Tierra, by Donald Crockett, is in one movement of several sections and is accompanied by a small chamber orchestra whose contrasting sounds add a subtle and varied background to the guitar, with the music ranging from aggressive to playful to sad, in a very modern idiom. Kaleidoscope, by Dusan Bogdanovic, is in three movements with jazz elements that immediately jump out at you, complete with note bends that sound like they have come straight from a rock guitar. Interestingly, all three movements are based on the same material, with moments of complex rhythms and advanced tonality thrown in – and the last movement is dance-like and full of animation. A Fanciful Plainte , by Brian Head, begins with exotic string chords before the guitar enters, continuing the idea. The two then carry on a complex conversation moving ideas back and forth. The music is mostly in a modern but friendly idiom, with moments of dense string layering often accompanying the soloist.
CD 2 begins with Steven Gate’s three-movement Mystery of Constellation, which concerns the composer’s emotional reactions to the night sky. It is in a noticeably astringent idiom, with the orchestra often acting as a more equal partner and the writing a mixture of the contemplative and the exceedingly animated.
Cuento Desde la Frontera is a new work by Simone Iannarelli that has a connection with a poem of the same name by the composer. Set in one movement, this “Tale from the Border” is less tonal than the other works and has many beautiful moments of emotive writing.
The final piece, Prayers, also by Bogdanovic, is set in one movement for two guitars and orchestra. After a plaintive string opening, the two soloists continue with haunting melodies that exotically interweave, although the pace throughout remains slow.
This fine pair of CDs proves how much variety there is in the modern concerto.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

JAZZOTICA for solo guitar
by Jim Ferguson
A spirited and unpredictable threepart work.
American guitarist Jim Ferguson writes interesting music often full of jazz-styled melodies and harmonies, but also with a big touch of his own personality thrown in. Jazzotica is in three parts, beginning with a “Fast, with Feeling” first movement consisting of an opening of syncopated chords, which continues with a run around an attractive melody with changing time signatures to give it a rhythmic lift. The jazz element is there from the start, but not in an obvious way-Ferguson’s approach is more subtle and original. Some 7/8 bars provide momentum, with strummed chords and ever-changing harmonies that never go where you expect. A middle section in 5/4 briefly provides a kind of respite, until the opening ideas re-emerge and race to a coda that dies down into an anti-clirnactic close.
“Slow and Delicate” is a waltz idea that again sounds fresh, with some delicious harmonic work and unusual juxtaposition of harmonies, while the final “Spirited and Constant” is completely in 4/4, with a bouncy melody surrounded by syncopations and a number of technical flights of fancy that need careful attention to get them right. The cod a begins fortissimo, with a triplet eight-note flight down the fingerboard, but again fades away unexpectedly to a quiet close on a harmonic.
This is a first-class piece of writing, effortlessly individual and constantly musical and engaging. It takes a good player to do it justice, but lesser talents will also enjoy trying to wrap their heads around this fine, entertaining work.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

IMMINENT LOSS for 4 guitars
by Eddie Healy
Written for Texas’ Collin College One O’Clock Guitar Ensemble, “Imminent Loss” opens with a punchy rhythm that builds across all four forces. Set in F-sharp minor, the time signature changes occasionally, but nothing too scary, and the harmony is dark but hypnotic rather than discordant – good use is made of the very low E-sharp to bring the music back to the tonic. This is accessible without being trite and simple, and is rather fun, with short little solo breaks that have an improvisational feel. The score is clearly marked “solo” and “tutti” for use when played by more than four guitarists. There are a variety of textures, and technically the piece is probably no more complex than about Grade Six.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

QUARTET for 4 guitars
by Eddie Healy
“Quartet” in 2/2 time (with one bar in 2/4 time) is perhaps best suited to a mixed-ability ensemble, with Guitar 4 being Grade One, Guitar 3 perhaps Grade Three (on account of some fifth position work and some half barres). Guitar 2 has a little double-stopping in the lowest two positions (but is no harder), and Guitar 1 has faster notes and forays into the ninth position, but a Grade Four player would not struggle. It has a leisurely pace and some lovely, light, jazzy chords; the texture is one of smooth openness and relaxation. With the two repeats and the laid-back pace, the music lasts about two minutes, and it’s an enjoyable sound that novice players might not have seen in many of the pieces written for a modest standard.-DH

THE BOYNE SUITE for solo guitar
by Pat Coldrick
Waltzes and more from respected Irish guitarist-composer.
There is much to commend here, including the beautiful, eye-catching front cover featuring an idyllic country landscape. All four of the movements which make up this suite are very well-written; the music has immediate appeal, is very playable, and easy on the ear.
The opening “Reverie” is a waltz with a pretty and memorable tune. The second piece, titled “Wake Unto Me”, is a slower waltz that displays shades of the influence of Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan. A third waltz, this time with a passing nod to the music of Venezuela, and especially the music of Antonio Lauro, comes with the delightful “Serenade”. And the whole set is brought to a conclusion in grand style with Pat Coldrick’s splendid Latin-influenced “Cayendo”, a highly energetic and exciting piece of writing. The music is clearly notated and the fingering, if followed, works well. For players of the intermediate standard, this could be a little gem in their repertoire.
– Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

IN NUEVO DIA
for 5 guitars
by Claudio Camisassa
An intriguing musical portrait of daybreak.
Marked pmisterioso”, Guitar 5 opens in A minor with a slow pizzicato bass line, joined by Guitar 4, adding sustain to the “footsteps” and two more guitars providing chords above the bass. The melody, when it enters, is sad, set over slightly dark chords, symbolizing the darkness before day. The harmonic is eerie rather than dissonant. Yet, there is movement in the tune, and as the pizzicato drops away, an increasing sense of urgency emerges, more from restless chords than from a change of pace or volume. The sun breaks through as the music is marked “romantico”, and a strong melody in A major sings out over a South American bass line and some striking natural harmonics – glorious writing with a sense of space and a refreshing texture.
A return to the minor key soon follows – can this be British weather we’re writing about? Not at all; there is a cunning mixture of threes and twos and the music here is moving forward at a more brisk pace, through some luscious key changes, before finally returning to the opening theme, which is modified to conclude with a powerful ending back in the minor key. This is not a work for an inexperienced quintet, yet not too technically advanced. It’s more that each line is rhythmically independent of the others, so a certain resilience is needed that a novice ensemble might not have. In terms of complexity, Guitar 5 is probably Grade Three. Each of the parts above has its own challenges.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

GNOSSIENNES AFTER ERIK SATIE
for 4 guitars
by Stephen Goss
The eccentric French composer Erik Satie wrote his six Gnossiennes for piano toward the last decade of the 19th century; the word itself was invented by Satie, probably in reference to the Greek word gnosis, which is related to spiritual knowledge.
Stephen Goss has taken Nos. 2, 3, and 4 of the Gnossiennes and reinvented them for four guitars, putting quite a lot of himself in these superb presentations. Although they have the Goss stamp on them, they still manage to retain the original characteristics – one acknowledges the original composer here; it is as if Satie has been brought “up to date”. The atmosphere Goss manages to cleverly instill in this “simple” music – utilizing cross-rhythms, string brushing, harmonics, and plentiful dynamic instructions – is quite astounding.
In 1897, Satie’s friend, Claude Debussy, orchestrated two of the three Gymnopédies (composed by Satie just prior to his Gnossiennes) and almost as a “bonus track”, Goss has included his arrangement for guitar quartet based upon those orchestrations.
Again, these are very attractive arrangements and work extremely well in this format.
Both the original Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes are widely known and performed (justifiably so) and these new presentations deserve a wide audience, too. It’s likely the great man would have strongly approved of these magnificent pieces. Technically, each part is not that difficult on its own; the hard part is piecing
together the four lines and producing the high musicianship required to make this music work.
– Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LES RUES DE MARCIAC for 5 guitars
by Thierry Tisserand
Set in shuffle rhythm, this piece will quickly separate guitarists with an innate sense of rhythm and the ability to “feel the beat” from those (dare I say more “classical” players) who regard the score as a fixed list of timed jobs, and who should look away now. We’re left with those who love a bluesy, big-band saunter through the score. We’re in for some fun.
Guitar 4 starts off with a jazzy little motif that invites Guitar 5 to join in an octave lower. Metallic discords, with a punchy staccato, give a clue that there’s more on the way, and it arrives, courtesy of Guitar 1, shadowed a sixth below by Guitar 2. And here is the basic orchestration – a tune and harmony line together, rich chords built by Guitars 3 and 4, and a bassline that is partly chord-based and partly a walking bassline. There are glissandi starting on the offbeat, and the mix of missing beats and lugubrious triplet quarter notes over normal quarter notes make this a feast of fun rhythms. The music – just 99 bars – has no repeats, so this runs for almost exactly three minutes at the marked metronome speed.
How hard is it? It needs players who feel the beat, and if pared back to one player per part, every player has to be able to play a pizzicato solo in the finale, so it’s confidence more than ability that is needed.
A mixed ability ensemble between Grade Three and Six will enjoy it.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LES DOUX INSTANTS for solo guitar
by Claude Gagnon
This is a very pretty, lyrical, composition with mostly predictable melodic and harmonic progressions, but that is not necessarily a bad attribute. The tune is romantic/sentimental and although it shifts quite high up the fingerboard, the technical standard remains within the grasp of the Grade Four player.
– Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

CHANDELIER WALTZ; SONG OF DAWN
by Vincent Lindsey-Clark
Vincent Lindsey-Clark has an enviable knack for generating free-flowing melodies accompanied by very guitaristic and full-sounding textures. These two pieces are representative of a series of his compositions recently issued by Les Productions d’OZ. Other titles in the series are Song of Dusk, Anglo Tango, Laura, Church on a Hill, May Dance, and Seascapes. All of them are harmonically accessible and fingerboard friendly.
Chandelier Waltz is appropriately luminous and graceful, mostly in aeolian mode (A natural minor) with a few gentle harmonic adventures in the contrasting center section and in the closing.
All of it falls nicely under the fingers, a pleasure to play and hear. Song of Dawn is also in waltz style, and the overall sense here is mistier, as if to suggest awakening to the half-light of early morning. Again, the performer will be entirely comfortable and find little difficulty in achieving a singing melodic line. The technical ease is not, however, to suggest that the pieces sound simplistic. They are skillfully laid out on the instrument to afford textures that sound rich and more difficult than they actually are.
Of the others in the series, I found Song of Dusk, Anglo Tango, and Church on a Hill especially attractive. I was somewhat surprised that Song of Dusk was not published together with Song of Dawn, since that would seem like such a natural pairing, both musically and programmatically.
– David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

GRANDMOTHER, THINK NOT I FORGET for guitar and voice
by Garth Baxter
The gentle tempo and reflective melody of Garth Baxter’s sentimental piece for guitar and voice, “Grandmother, Think Not I Forget”, present an introspective work for a very specific relationship. The lyrics are a reworking of a poem by Willa Cather in remembrance of Baxter’s wife’s grandmother. The melody is engaging with a straightforward guitar arpeggio accompaniment for the most part. Occasionally, Baxter modulates to reflect the pain of loss. The guitar is unobtrusive throughout, and the solo sections are simple arpeggio bridges back into the next verse. The piece often moves between duple and triple subdivisions, with several spots where the performers are playing two against three. The vocal range is from C4 to G5, and the vocal part is gorgeous.
The piece is carefully presented with several instructions regarding dynamics, tempo, string preferences, fingerings, and barre suggestions. The piece is for an advanced beginner on guitar and a rhythmically attentive vocalist. It would be a beautiful piece to play at a funeral and would appeal to performers who had a loving, close relationship to a grandparent for stage presentation.
-David Isaacs (Soundboard Magazine)

DEU LLETRAS A N’AMELIA for solo guitar
by Gilbert Clamens
Miguel Llobet’s exquisite setting of this traditional Catalan song has long been an honored part of the guitar repertoire, and it has been played lovingly by generations of guitarists. Few, though, may have known the tragic story of the song itself. The lyrics offer the “testament” (will) of the princess Amelia, who has been poisoned by her mother (who has been having an affair with Amelia’s husband). The refrain is, “Ah, my heart is twisted like a bouquet of carnations”.
Clamens’ composition here is a set of imaginative variations on the melody, doing justice to the sense of the song and presenting a very moving statement of its own. After an original introduction, the harmonic treatment of the theme is similar to that of Llobet, and this provides a suitable launching point for ten variations. Two of the variations refer to specific excerpts from the song: Variation IV is in chorale form and cites the refrain noted above, and Variation VIII is courtlier to show the nobility visiting Amelia. Variation VII is tided “Soriana” in tribute to that great Catalan composer. I found this an intriguing piece and a worthy addition to the repertoire.
A few special effects (harmonics and left-hand-alone) are integrated into the textures. The technical level is fairly high but not forbidding.
In addition to the introduction (in French), the text of the song is given in Catalan (from the Cancionero Catalán) and in French translation.
– David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

THE GOLDEN FLOWER VISITATIONS
(Land that is Nowhere that is the True Home) for flute and guitar
by Dusan Bogdanovic
Dusan Bogdanovic’s work for flute and guitar, The Golden Flower Visitations (Land that is Nowhere that is the True Home) is dedicated to Ema Stein, who has also provided the fingerings for this Doberman-Yppan edition. The four-movement piece integrates additive rhythms, an improvisatory sensibility for embellishment and melodic writing, and a largely modal approach to harmony.
The opening movement, “Improvisation” is metered but features variable subdivided groupings of the pulse in both parts within a loosely imitative context, creating a sense of freedom and spontaneity. The pitch language centers around E, with suggestions of E major, E melodic minor, and a brief passage in C mixolydian at the short movement’s point of maximum tension.
The guitar part in “Lullaby” is entirely in harmonics, as the guitar lays down an otherworldly ostinato accompaniment unfolding in triplets in slow tempo. The flute plays a quasi-melismatic line above, as if lulling the listener to sleep with fluid quintuplet and sextuplet gestures. “Lullaby” remains in E melodic minor for nearly the entire movement.
“Mouvement” is primarily in a driving 5/8 meter, and Bogdanovic’s playful reorientation of the division of the five beats results in an infectious and beguiling dance.
The final movement, “Choral”, begins with the flute alone, playing a series of incantation-like quarter-note phrases, each ending with a thoughtful fermata. The solo guitar then imitates this texture, harmonizing similar melodic passages. A rhythmic section follows, as the incantations become more ritualistic and the music and interplay more dense. Throughout the movement, Bogdanovic retains an expansive character, as the flute climbs upward, reaching a high G# at the climactic passage. The simple quarter-note character of the beginning of the movement returns for the final phrase, with the guitar answering the flute line in direct canonic imitation.
The edition is clear, suggesting fingerings when such information is called for without cluttering the entire score with redundant markings that would logically follow from the fingering of earlier notes in the passage.
– Dan Lippel (Soundboard Magazine)

GIGUE
for 4 guitars
by Guy Chapalain
To most people, a gigue brings to mind J.S. Bach and that constant note-mongering and mopping of brow as the notes spew in all directions. In many respects, Guy Chapalain’s “Gigue” fits the genre, but it is more jig than gigue, and the chord progressions definitely have a Celtic feel. It’s aimed at the less-experienced quartet, and most of the perspiration is going to come from Guitar 1. Set in 12/8 in E minor, but alternating between E minor and D, it instantly reminded me of the Irish jig “Brian Borouhme” though the resemblance soon passed, as the piece moves into B minor. The D shape, comprising D on string 5 and F# on string 4 with fourth and third fingers, can be a buzz-fest for a novice, but here, our composer has eased us into that shape one finger at a time.
The key change moves the sense of urgency up a notch – the bass plays more notes per bar and at times all the remaining forces are playing 12 notes per bar, but there are frequent changes of texture and density that add variety. Where the notes are packed end-to-end, there are occasional slurs to relieve the sense of remorseless progress, and these are nearly always on the first two of each beam of three eighth notes, though the occasional exceptions (sometimes no slurs, sometimes eighth notes 2 and 3 slurred) make the texture slightly uneven and perhaps one or two choices could have been different.
In terms of playing skills needed, “Gigue” is another mixed-ability ensemble varying between, perhaps Grade 2 down at the gruff end of the ensemble, up to Grade 5 in Guitar 1, where fret 15 is called upon.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

RUMBA
for 4 guitars
by Guy Chapalain
“Rumba” is a lively little piece again aimed at a less-experienced quartet and follows the same formula that Chapalain has used in other compositions at the same standard – Guitar 4 plays bass, Guitar 3 takes mainly two- and three-note chords, Guitar 1 takes the tune, and Guitar 2 takes countermelody and occasional tune.
The parts enter one at a time with a compelling 3:3:2 rhythm, but rhythmically this moves the bar up a notch compared to his other compositions – many of us will know that there’s a real issue with learners playing passages that are only off the beat, never on; Guitar 3 has that load to bear. And again, Guitar 1 is playing off the top of the neck onto the body, but more arpeggio-based than scale-based, so a clear head and instinctive fingering is needed.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

EVOCATION for 4 guitars
by Guy Chapalain
“Evocation” is quite a short work – the part scores are a single face of A4 and with only a short section repeated, it lasts about two minutes at the marked metronome speeds. But quantity and quality aren’t synonymous.
Opening in D major with some lovely light arpeggios over a high bass and some fairly straightforward natural harmonics, this is a pretty melody with a hint of slow, jazzy chords and some G minor contrasts. Of particular appeal is the use of the third instead of the root at the bottom of the chord, giving it real depth and a sense of moving forward.
The center section is in D minor at a brisk pace, almost a tango feel – a mix of long and short bass notes with Guitars 2 and 3 playing syncopated two- and three-note chords, over which a scale-like melody is woven, with the middle beat of the bar extensively suppressed. The conclusion of the piece reverts back to the open theme and the piece ends as quietly as it began. Playing ability on “Evocation” ranges from about Grade 2 on the bass line up to about Grade 4-5 on top, but just because the bass line is easy doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to play – those deep inverted chords are to die for.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

JAZZY for 4 guitars
by Guy Chapalain
“Jazzy” is a little more rhythmically challenging than other works in the same set, and for this reason I think it will work better as a quartet than a large ensemble, so each line merely has to keep in step bar by bar with the other lines, instead of note by note with other players playing the same line.
It’s in four sharps in 4/4 time, and after two guitars welcome you in, the piece proper is up and running. Chapalain dusts off his tried-and-true formula for each guitar, as stated above about
“Rumba”. This, as you might guess, is not Dixieland jazz, and neither is it that progressive free-for-all cacophony. If you think late-night easy-listening jazz-slow, dreamy, and with little bits of phrase popping up here and there-you’ll be close enough. Technically, this is somewhere between Grade 2 for the bass and Grade 4 for the top part, but knowing where the notes are isn’t the same as knowing when to play them, and you’re going to need good rhythm reading skills, or at least the ability to hear a rhythm and fix it in your head. But if that’s achieved, this is rather classy, and just far enough off the beaten track to make a great concert item.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

3 ARLONAISES
for 4 guitars
by Norbert Leclercq
“Three unconventional pieces fit together well”
These little pieces are dedicated, one each, to three different people.
“Are” has a simple motif of alternating notes in common time that build into alternating chords as the parts enter. Soon, a high melody enters, and the remaining forces change speed – some faster notes, some slower bass notes. The various players each take the melodic theme, and each also takes, at a different time, the bass line and the rhythmic accompaniment. With mild dissonances throughout and with a limited sense of having a home key, this might not appeal to those whose modest technique has so far only been employed on music that is more consonant. Nonetheless, this is not a piece that jars the ear, and some of the discords that look ugly on the page are more of a gateway to a key change than they are the destination themselves. Technically, the demands are modest, but the wandering sense of key means that there are many accidentals, and the use of enharmonic equivalents might unsettle the less-experienced player.

“Lone” is in waltz-time, and again the role that each player takes varies as the piece progresses. Sometimes the writing is rhythmically uniform across the parts, and sometimes there is a greater sense of a melody being woven. With the phrases clearly marked, this is nicely under the fingers and yet some of the chords that build are open and spacious.

“Eze” in 3/8 time, is fast and busy, with bursts of four notes a second, often bringing effects that don’t often hap¬pen on solo guitar. For example, a fast scale on the major triads of Bb, C, D, E, F# moves through the keys faster than the ear can digest, pardon the strange metaphor. The joyous, bouncy feel is tempered by a real mix of chords, from light jazzy major sevenths to wide open chords that clash gently, right across to chords that have a pungent edge to them.
Playing standard is between Grades 3 and 5, and the pieces lock together nicely. The harmonies will not be to everyone’s taste, but the pieces make a strong contrast to more traditional fare.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SONATE No.3 for solo guitar
by Atanas Ourkouzounov
A difficult piece rooted in the avant-garde Bulgarian contemporary guitarist/composer Atanas Ourkouzounov has earned a strong reputation throughout the guitar-playing community. The majority of his 80-plus compositions have appeared in print, and in the preface to this edition, there is an impressive list of notables who have performed and recorded his music. Sonate No. 3, dedicated to Croation guitarist Zoran Dukic, is a monumentally difficult solo guitar piece. Based firmly in the avant-garde, the three movements -“Vivo”, “Poco Rubato”, and “Presto Nervoso” – all explore the gamut of the fingerboard in an atonal flurry of notes, quite meaningless until the specified tempo is reached. Of particular interest is the middle movement with its many contrasts in tempo and mood; for me it is the high point of the work.
This is a demanding work both musically and technically, and needs a player of great technical accomplishment and high musicianship to pull off in a convincing manner. However, nowadays there is a plethora of high-powered players who are more than capable of tackling this type of material, and in the right hands I’m sure this new sonata will make quite an impression on any audience.
– Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

MEDLEY No. 3 for solo guitar
by Thierry Tisserand
“Five appealing works for intermediate guitarists”
Having enjoyed this composer’s first book of “Medleys”, I was really looking forward to playing through this third series, and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed. The first book dealt with the lower range of grades, with ten relatively easy student pieces; for this one, Tisserand has raised the bar somewhat with five works well-suited to the intermediate-plus guitarist.
There is a nice variety of stylistic composing here, opening with an exceedingly rhythmic calypso, which on first glance appears to be very complicated, but once the first bar is sorted out, things should fall into place for a while.
“Des jours meilleurs”, which follows, is a very attractive and nostalgic piece, with a lovely tune of a pop-ballad style. “Mecha Mambo”, with its Beatles’ “Day Tripper”-style opening, is another highly energetic and rhythmic work containing some lovely chord sequences reached at the half-way point (including a brief nod to Jimi Hendrix with a particular chord).
“Azur” takes the player on a melodically romantic journey, putting the hemiola (6/8 against 3/4) effect to good use. A swing-styled blues piece, “Les rues de marciac” concludes the collection in fine style.
All the music is clearly presented and well-fingered. Not having seen Medley No. 2, I cannot vouch for its quality, but if these other two are anything to go by, it must certainly be worth getting hold of. Thierry Tisserand must be one of this publishing house’s most favored composers, if his presence in their catalogue is anything to go by; here’s why.
– Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

PEQUEÑA SUITE
for solo guitar
by Ernesto Cordero
“A small but superb three¬movement work”
This well-respected Puerto Rican composer needs no introduction to many of you. His volumes have been a mainstay of the guitar world for decades, and this small, three-movement work is the latest in a long line of fine pieces. The first movement, “El Caminante” (The Walker), has a pizzicato four-note idea that acts as the glue to which the remainder of this (short) movement is attached. After a brief few bars in A minor, it veers into D major, continuing with the four-note idea as it goes, and dies away after only 36 bars. The second movement, “Niebla” (The Frog), is longer, and begins with a run up to some pairs of fourths that become chords of fourths at the very top. The continuation is an expressive little idea with some gently exotic chords and melodies; always interesting and slightly unusual throughout.
The final “Xochipilli” (an Aztec God-figure) is by far the longest and the hardest to play, beginning as it does with some off-beat triads made up, again, of fourths alternating with open bass E’s. This
climaxes with a resonant 32nd-note tremolo section based on E minor chords, before a molto espressivo three-voiced idea enters by way of contrast. A few bars of artificial harmonics lead to a sudden rush of notes and a new affettuoso section in a melodic three voices before the opening idea returns one more time, and a close of a huge glissando on fourth-oriented chords and a final slap of a bottom E string marked fortissimo.
This man’s music is always worth getting to know, and pequeña (small) it might be, but little in stature and musical ideas it most certainly is not. However, you do need to be a decent player to get the most out of it.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

BANDA ORIENTAL for 5 guitars
by Claudio Camisassa
“Africa meets Uruguay in sometimes exhilarating piece”
Subtitled “Candombe”, this celebrates African music in Uruguay, and what a fusion this is – South American oriental music for Africans, with the minimal performance indications in French.
The music opens in E minor with a striking blend of 3:3:2 harmonics and a simple but effective “bongo-like” percussion. Use of slides and a mixture of fingered notes and open strings are very effective, and the rhythms are passed around like hot potatoes. By 16 bars in, everyone has been up to fret 12 and no one’s really played any bass. That comes next, and though some of the writing is spread across the forces in descending order of pitch, Guitar 5 is the jack of all trades, and uses the full compass of the guitar.
After some exhilarating rhythmic work, where different rhythms are bandied, there is a move to A major and a restful adagio with rich chords and a harmony line shadowing the tune a third below. It’s not long before the initial tempo returns.
Musically, I love it, [it is] a feast of exciting and accessible rhythms. And by accessible, I think Grade 6 to 7 players would have an enjoyable time working this piece up to performance level.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

BEBOPOLOGY for 2 guitars
by Thierry Tisserand
“A superb, jazz-inflected piece that’s fast-paced fun”
You can always rely on this composer’s music to be accessible, fun, and heavily based around jazz, Latin, or modern styles, and I am always surprised that so much of his work is still unknown, as he really is a class act. This latest duet is in one movement and has the oft-found direction for straight eighth notes to be played as if a triplet of eighth notes, where the first two are a quarter note. The clue is of course in the title, for what we have here is a bouncy, syncopated, jazz-inflected piece of some difficulty, which gets the toes tapping and the fingers flying around the guitar like they’re possessed. At a speed of 136 to 150 quarter notes a minute, and with most of the music in eighth notes or eighth-note triplets, you can tell that this is quite a handful. The two guitars take turns to play the themes, so no one gets the easy part! At 88 bars, it is only a few minutes in length, but it is a lot of fun and will take two decent guitarists who can swing to give it the finish it deserves. Less experienced players will get a lot of good practice trying to get their fingers working on this superb piece of writing.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SÉQUENCES EN “KIT”
for guitar ensemble
by Luc Lévesque
“A stylistically diverse work perfect for young guitarists”
Although there are no parts, each full score is two faces of A4 paper, and permission is given to make copies, and once I’ve explained what this is all about, you’ll quickly see that this is teaching material with an unusual twist.
There are eight thematic phrases here, each eight bars long – eight “taster phrases”, if you like, in a wide variety of styles. Each stylist phrase is written in ensemble form comprising six or eight parts, and each line can take multiple players. In addition, each piece has two percussion parts, across a whole range of hitable things.
With every guitar part in first or second position, and with a few strummed chords (all with chord diagrams), this is straightforward material that will quickly fit together. Nothing here is for performance, it’s all about capturing stylistic “signatures” in some textures that learners can quickly piece together and enjoy.
The eight little “Séquences” comprise “Rasta”, with optional cabasa and cajon; “Hispanique”, with castanets and drum; “Asiatique”, with xylophone and temple blocks; “Balafon”, with maracas and djembe; “Pop Rock”, with maracas and cajon; “Saharienne”, with tambourine and doumbek; “Tango”, with cowbell and percussion; and finally, “Western”, with wood blocks and cajon.
Because everything is in full score, learners can swap parts on the repeats; they can experience playing the tune, countermelody, chords, and bass and (equally importantly) can understand how it all fits together.
For a school teacher, this is really a must-have, even if none of this is going to feature in a school concert. Why? These little “studies” can be put together in the classroom, rather than needing home study. The ability to enjoy spontaneous music-making is something that guitarists often miss out on, and this levels the playing field. And there’s more, too: Many of the lines can be played on recorder
or similar “beginner’s instruments”, and much of the percussion can be played on the body of a guitar.
– Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

JEUX for solo guitar
by Claudio Camisassa
“This ‘piece’ consists over two pages of nine musical ideas, placed and numbered in little boxes, and according to the Preface one has numerous ways that one can perform them, swap them around, play them in varying orders and many other ideas besides, all described in French at the beginning. […]”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

THIS NIGHT IS A ROPE/ A LIFE OF CONSEQUENCE
for solo guitar
by Eddie Healy
“Here are two short pieces by an American composer / performer whose version of these two pieces you can investigate on YouTube. His style is an interesting amalgam of the modern, folk-pop influence along with many interwoven classical areas. The opening piece, with a 6th string D and a 5th string G, […] begins with eight bars of long chords marked ‘tambora’. Now, in the recording, Healy plays bars 3, 4, 7 and 8 normally, only playing tambora on 1, 2, 5 and 6; so did he change his mind, or is that a misprint? Whatever the answer, the piece then takes off with some fast arpeggiated chords that sounded a touch Genesis-like before slowing to a complex rhythmic little idea that again stops on a tambora. The arpeggio idea returns, followed by a variant of the rhythmic idea twice more before the opening tambora chords intervene followed by the Genesis-like arpeggios and a swift coda. […] The second piece is marked ‘adagio/flowing’ which was much more apt than the andante of the recording which seemed to be rushed, for played slower this piece is a real find. […] This is a haunting piece of great sadness and tenderness, and would make a fabulous piece in a concert. So the second piece did it for me, whereas the first was a little throwaway but each to his own. Whatever one may think, the second piece is worth the price of admission by itself and I would imagine this man has many more pieces where these came from.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SONG WITHOUT WORDS
for guitar quartet
by Mark Houghton
“A particularly elegant cover design wraps around this substantial piece, which lasts about five minutes at the quoted metronome speed. We open in the key D, with Guitar Four tuned down to 6=D. The parts enter one at a time and the accompaniment lines weave an undulating yet rhythmic platform for the melody that enters high up the neck with a gently syncopated, flowing and pleasing line. But this is not the final character of the piece – the tempo steps up and the music moves from 4/4 to 3/4 and from to two sharps to two flats, under­pinned with deep resonant Eb and Ab basses. The music is divided into short sections and each provides a contrast – we move to D minor, and although the accompaniment increases in pace, the fingering is easy; although it is odd that Guitar Two is fingered in the repeat of the phrase in bar 34, not the initial assertion of the section; easily remedied with a pencil. Back to two sharps and some more lyrical melody underpinned here and there with staccato. Even now, we’re not done – back to D minor and a more waltz-like section. There is even more variety to follow – a change to triplets and then to semiquavers. Without a conductor, the final bar is going to be kill or cure … The pace stops with a six-beat note, but the final bar is a syncopated mix of quavers and semiquavers that requires excellent synchronisation. I think one of the major selling points of this piece is the high degree of sophistication that is achieved with quite modest technical demands. Sometimes a piece that sounds straightforward to the audience can be a challenge to the players, but this is the opposite, and all the better for it. This is a piece that has much to listen to, but which isn’t a trial to play. Grade 5 players will not find anything frightening here, and I think this is going to be very popular, not only for intermediate players, but also for more advanced players too. There is fingering and dynamics, and enough expression marks to make it clear how to shape the performance.”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

MI FAVORITA for guitar quartet
arr. by David Gaudreau
“I have a solo version of this anonymous piece, and it is interesting to compare that arrangement with the quartet that is currently open on my desk for review. The quartet is in the same pair of keys – E minor and E major. As the original solo isn’t all that hard, the initial question has to be ‘what extra does the quartet version bring?’ The straightforward answer is that there is a little extra texture and support, a little extra ornamentation, slightly fuller chords. The more subtle answer is that sharing out the workload also makes it easier to add articulation, glissandi and a sense of forward movement to the music, instead of just regarding it as a series of decorated chord shapes. In this respect, it’s not a whole lot more impressive than the solo version, but it does have a feeling of ‘drive’ and effortlessness. […] it really does come out sounding very pleasing and with phrases that are easier to shape and melody that come be brought out with a rest stroke whereas before the chords got in the way. The part scores are free from page turns, and the type setting is clear. The fingering is a little sparse but well-chosen and there are enough dynamics to help the players shape the performance. I still miss the use of position markings, only fingerings, as it’s not immediately clear where there are position shifts. Nothing is too high or too scary. In terms of playing standards, well, here’s the great news. All the lines are interesting – the bass line has little busy runs, and the other parts have a mix of melody and typically three-note arpeggios. Although the top part is a tiny bit harder, the upper parts are equally rewarding to play, and the bass line is just straightforward fun. I would think that an ensemble of Grade three or above would be able to turn this into a performable piece, and a more skilled ensemble could well enjoying playing this simply because of the interchanges between the parts.”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

ENGLISH SERENADE
for guitar quartet
by Mark Houghton
“Written for Luka Vlasic and the Pozega School of Music Guitar Orchestra, this is a standard quartet, and doesn’t use guitar orchestra instruments at all, so it’s readily accessible to quartets and larger ensembles. Guitar Four is tuned to 6=D and D major is the key we start in. The bass line opens with a 3:3:2 rhythm, which provides a natural platform for a melody where the middle beat of the 4/4 bar is often syncopated – moved forward with a tie. […] there is much attention to detail […], where motifs are passed from line to line, canon-like, but with a gentle treatment that supports the lyrical melodies. Care will be needed to damp that open bottom D. The texture changes – crisp, tightly articulated chords and a more urgent melody. And then we find a sudden modulation to Bb, all the while maintain­ing that tight texture. The chords are thickened with the deep bass and the pitch range at work here keeps the voices well separated. The piece essentially reflects on itself a bit, with the phrases returning in reverse order, before a final section that fades lyrically away with some charming repetition. Is it for you? The overall standard is not going to scare people away – Grade 5 guitarists would be able to piece this together very successfully – the writing gives the music a well-defined beat which will lock the parts together. Some of the harmonies are a little coarse in places – there are bars where passing notes are played along with fixed chord notes, and there’s a definite clash. But the clash is gone as soon as it arrived. […] Does the title suit the piece? That’s for you to decide!”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

HABANA VIEJA for solo guitar
by Fabrice Pierrat
“Habana Vieja (dedicated to Berta Rojas) is one of those pieces which grab you from the start. The opening bars set the rhythmic style for a good chunk of the piece; that is of a staccato bass line with broken chords/melody played above, the hemiola style of writing giving the work a definite South American character. There are some lovely effects throughout – sudden brief bursts of triplets; campanella moments; little melodic phrases emerging out of all the rhythmic arpeggios. This is a really engaging and delightful new work from this highly skilled French guitarist/ composer. On first readthrough the piece seems not too difficult, that is until one spots the intended tempo (dotted minim = 60) which takes it into the realm of the Intermediate-plus player but even taken at a slower speed the composition is still a nice one to play. Recommended.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

HOMMAGE AU SIECLE D’OR
for guitar and flute/oboe/violin
by Jean-Maurice Mourat
“This is a suite of ten dances written in the style of music from the Renaissance/early Baroque. French guitarist/composer Jean-Maurice Mourat has done an admirable job in not only capturing the flavour of the period but also by writing interesting and entertaining music all kept within the relatively confined technical standard of around the Intermediate level. Although the flute obviously has the lion’s share of the tunes, the guitar part does hold the interest and there are plentiful instances where it takes over this lead role; in fact the fourth ‘dance’ is a full-page guitar solo in the style of a ‘Siciliana’. The contrasting melodies and tempi are sufficient to recommend this suite to any amateur duo seeking to add to their repertoire. The edition comes with complete score and a separate part for the melody instrument.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

ESPERANZA for guitar and piano
by Serge di Mosole
“From the opening few bars of the solo piano introduction, Esperanza has immediate appeal. This composition is of the late-night, mood music variety and when the guitar eventually joins forces with the piano part, a new dimension is added to the piece. The composition’s plaintive and imaginative melody lines plus attractive harmonies and interesting rhythmic directions all add up to a most haunting, charming new addition to the repertoire. Both instruments are on equal par from a musical interest viewpoint. The technical requirement is of around the Intermediate standard and the publication comes with a separate part for the gUitar. Altogether a lovely work from a composer I have not come across before but will be watching out for from now on.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

VOUS ÊTES SOLISTE? for guitar and CD
by Jean­ Marie Raymond
To give this volume its slightly pretentious full title, ‘Jean Marie Raymond présente Vous êtes Soliste? Voici l’Orchestre Vol. 1’. It’s actually a lot more inviting than the title – a book of quite well-known classical themes, nearly all single­note, and not at all intimidating on the page. The CD contains a tuning track and then two versions of each piece – one with the guitar and one ‘Music Minus One’ without the guitar. I have to say that the sound quality on the CD is first class – so often these ventures are a mechanical computer-generated synthetic sound but this is whole­some and also expressive. The guitar part, for example, in Ave Maria, isn’t slavishly ‘to the beat’. Although only at one speed, there are of course programs such as Associated Board’s free-of-charge ‘Speed Shifter’ that would let you slow the accompaniment down if needs be. The edition comprises Bach’s Siciliano BWV 1031, a Mozart’s Viennese Sonatina, Schubert’s Ave Maria, Mendelssohn’s On Wings of Song, Albeniz’s Granada, Oskar Rieding’s Concertino in E minor, Grieg’s Morning and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The complexity varies but there’s something here for abilities between Grades 4 and 7. Since the music is nearly all Single-note, everything fits on the page without page-turns. […] a delightful book that not only gives a guitarist access to the full pitch range of the orchestra, but which will help a lot of solo guitarists become driven by their ears to follow the flow of the music, instead of being driven by their eyes and the hesitations of their fingers. Recommended […].
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

COMME UN ROND D’EAU
for guitar quartet
by Roland Dyens
“This is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Tetra Guitar Quartet, and prospective purchasers can cut to the chase with two simple moves. Firstly, how hard is it? Well, be aware that the music is a showcase for Tetra’s fantastic playing ability – this is not for an average quartet. Secondly, what does it sound like? The opening section is on YouTube. It begs the question of where the rest of the video went to, and whether Tetra collapsed with the exhaustion of committing it to memory. The whole track, of course can be purchased on their CD – maybe they used the part-scores for that… This review then, is perhaps just for the relatively small number of quartets who are highly competent and enjoyed what the YouTube clip. The biography is overly long, but you will welcome two pages of explanation of most of the performance indications. You might wonder whether conclusion – with the exhortation ‘you will then pretend playing for about 5 seconds’ after the diminuendo has descended to silence is pretence or pretentious. Guitar Two is tuned to 6=D and Guitars Three and Four to 6=C, giving a wonderfully warm bass from the flesh of the thumb. […] With attention to personal time-keeping, the piece has plenty of alignment points to keep the ensemble tightly in step, though there is plenty else to think of – the mix of notes and harmonics is at times particularly demanding. Most of the rhythmic complexity is in sequencing the notes at the right instant, rather than playing overtly fast, and when it comes good, the complexity is concealed from the audience. Although ‘like a rondo’, the audience would have no easy time if they expected this to be obvious in its structure. Indeed, the piece takes us from Andante, through Poco Piu Mosso, to Jazzvalsando, Calmando, before the reprise. On the way there are episodes in 13/16 time, 5/8 time and oodles of ‘gliss’ and pizzicato. […]”.
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

THE PATH TO TRUTH
for three guitars
by Eddie Healy
“Here is yet another new edition from d’OZ, surely one of the most productive guitar publishers on the planet. In the past I have expressed doubt as to the merit of some of their publications, intimating that they seemed to be going for quantity rather than quality. That said, I have to admit that the last, relatively large batch I have received to review which have been published by them are of high quality compositions and this new composition for three guitars by the American guitarist Eddie Healy hasn’t broken this latest trend. Composed over a period of three years (2004-6), The Path to Truth has three movements: Stagnation, Irrevocably Becoming and Direction; the composer’s explanation of the work, in a nutshell, is that it is all about life’s passage and the many emotions and decisions one has to make during that journey. Each section of this piece holds the interest with many changes of character, interesting rhythms and harmonies and some appealing tunes along the way. What strikes one about these three pieces is the clarity of the writing between the three parts; obviously Eddie Healy knows the instrument well enough to make the voices ‘work’ together in a clear and well­defined manner. This composition would make for an agreeable inclusion in any formal recital; the standard required to do the work full justice is in the Advanced area. The edition comes with full score and separate parts for each player.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

TARENTELLE
for guitar quartet by Guy Chapalain DZ 2147
“What a fun little piece this is if you’re not an arachnophobic. Set in the traditional 6/8 time this is a lively dance in A minor, with an introduction marked ‘mischievous’. There is a centre section in A major, and a reprise of the opening section to finish. This piece has some nice features that would make it particularly suitable for a school environment – it is mixed ability, with Guitar Four being in first position, and Guitar One all over the neck with simple scales and slurred notes. There are imitative phrases and littie bursts where each player has a bar on their own (or in the more complex lines, considerably more). For the bulk of the piece, Guitar Four plays bass, Guitar Three plays two and three-note chords and Guitar One has the tune, often shadowed by Guitar Two, a third underneath, or taking it in turns to have a go in the limelight. The slurs are not only between adjacent notes (where the slurring is a consistent ‘first two of each set of 3 quavers’) but sometimes down to the open string from high up – another great teaching point in getting the right about of ‘pull’ without tugging the string off the neck. […] Elsewhere, the typesetting is clear and the fingerings well chosen. Fingerings are shown by finger number and by string, instead of by finger and position, which I’ve always felt, is a more intuitive way to show how to plan an upcoming shift. […] For a school concert with a mixed ability ensemble – yes, bring it on.”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SWING for guitar quartet by Guy Chapalain DZ 2146.
“Set in quavers, with a strong yet relaxed syncopation, there is no marking to swing or shuffle the quavers, but before you set off thinking how it goes, the indication to shuffle comes in the next section! The opening is a more reflective and leisurely ‘girding of the loins’. Guitar Four provides a sexy bassline throughout the piece and it’s not too hard, so I was surprised that this line plays the opening four bars solo, with music in two parts – that workload could have been split and would take the stress away from otherwise the ‘easy line’. With a formula that’s broadly tune, countermelody, 2&3 note chords, bass’, it suits a mixed ability ensemble. Guitar One is single note music, up as far as twelfth position, but there is a spattering of fingering where the position isn’t obvious, or where there is an ambiguity about which string the notes are to be played on. The music is in B minor and the deliciously lush F# major makes lots of appearances. Where the chords are just that little bit trickier, there is plenty of repetition, so there isn’t too much to be mastered. The downside is that there are bars where there are passing discords (A# against B, for example) because the simple building blocks don’t always fit perfectly. But these are quickly in the rearview mirror, and besides, it’s the texture and pulse that carries this piece. Without a conductor and without cue notes on the score, some of the rests are going to be hard to get right – eleven bars of rests is a long time for a learner to sit and count – cue notes are a simple way to fix this. In terms of the ability range for this piece, well, apart from the introduction, Guitar Four is Grade 2+, and we move on upwards to Guitar One which is probably about Grade 5, possibly Grade 6 as there is the need to be bombproof high up the neck, usually exactly when Guitar Two isn’t shadowing a third below. The transition for ‘unswung’ to swung (especially when the notation is apparently almost identical) might prove a challenge at first, but there’s no doubt that this is an arrangement that is going to lead to a solid sound and, at school concerts, more than a bit of a crowd-pleaser, despite the dark nature that B minor often brings.”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

3 PIECES for solo guitar
by Serge Di Mosole
“Born in Toulouse in 1963, Serge Di Mosole is a new name to me. These three short but amicable pieces are quite diverse in style and suitable for a player of modest ability, yet are not easy enough to be called simple. They are definitely for the more mature standard of player. The opening piece La Cuenta imaginaria […] is a dropped D piece of considerable charm with some lovely harmonies in its three part writing. There are a number of excursions into foreign harmonic territory that effortlessly return to the home key as if nothing untoward has happened. A good start. The second piece is Preludio Hommage a Antonio Lauro. This is the Lauro of the ‘sonata’, not the ‘waltz’ writer; for the harmony work is strange and at times obtuse, so that you feel slightly at sea as to where it might be going […] The final Romance Hommage a Fernando Sor, is in 3/4 with triplet quavers throughout, and in E minor with a middle section in E major (yes, just like that Romance by Anon.) It can’t help but remind one of that piece, when it bears such a marked resemblance to it in so many ways, but in spite of that Mosole just about manages to make it his own. So, in essence the first piece is the best and also that the whole triptych is a little mixed in standard. I feel that his best works aren’t represented by this little book but do not wish to put the book down too much as some of this is really pleasant and fun to get one’s hands around.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

DANSES DE LA RENAISSANCE
for solo guitar
by Mercure D’Orleans realisation by Pascal Bournet
“I love Renaissance instrumental music, particularly on the lute and I have great respect for Pascal Bournet whose many works I have seen and heard before and am a committed admirer of. Therefore I was delighted to see some pieces by a composer whose name I had not come across before, apparently a nom de plume for Philippe-Emmanuel de Lorraine, also a name I had never come across before. There are 13 pieces presented here, obviously from a much wider selection, judging by their titles. According to the Preface the pieces, it appeared were lute originals. Fine but what first strikes the prospective player is their entire lack of fingering or any other guitaristic help whatsoever. I took that, at first glance, to mean that any intervention of that sort would, on playing the pieces, be deemed to be unnecessary, then I hit on a dilemma, for there are several places where some of the stretches are awkward and laboured. Some I managed to find a way around, because as in the first piece Ballet 18, written in D I discovered it was much easier with a lute-like 3rd string to F#, likewise the next piece Ballet 20. But that was not always the case, as in the next piece Ballet 21, written here in E minor, in which the F# proved to be no help at all. So, had the key been changed from the lute original? It would have been nice to know that, because nearly all lute originals benefit from a 3rd string to F#, yet there were some here that didn’t benefit at all. As for the music itself it was, as Renaissance styles go, a little unusual with a number of places where you found yourself wondering where it was going, musically speaking but nevertheless still involving enough to want to try playing, and tuning and fingering would have been helpful in quite a few places. […]”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

TARANTELLA SICILIANA for solo guitar
by Giuseppe Torrisi
“A visit to the italian guitarist Guiseppe Torrisi’s website is comparable to entering Aladdin’s Cave, for here is a cornucopia of wonderful music – both original material and arrangements – for solo guitar and guitar with other instruments, all sorted into three different levels of difficulty; many feature a video of him performing the selected piece. In the past I have encountered several of his original works for guitar and, without exception, have always found them to be very entertaining, wellconstructed compositions; they contain the best of both worlds being pleasurable to perform and also to listen to. Tarantella Sicilliana does not deviate from this standard. As one would expect, this is a fast-paced, ever-flowing work, very exciting to listen to and, due to the constant flirting around the fingerboard, a highly visual experience from an audience viewpoint. A nice change of mood (but not pace) occurs towards the end where we go from minor to major and a lovely, albeit naive, little melody floats out of the score. This is lovely stuff and would make for a brilliant encore for the high-grade player.” Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine) DUOS – VOL. 1 for two guitars by Thierry Tisserand DZ 2139 “This collection of four pieces for guitar duet would be suitable for any Grade 4 duo seeking some new, pleasant-sounding material, each piece contrasting nicely with the rest. Hence we have Les Lilas, a gently flowing piece of sunny disposition; Pennar-Bed, a slower work of ‘theme and variation’ structure and having a melancholy air about it; L’lndolent, a delicate and dainty little work with a nice melody and Calypso Surprise, a composition which concludes the set in an up-tempo and optimistic fashion. The parts are more or less equally balanced with the melody and harmony lines swopped between the two players making for much more interest. Altogether an amiable little offering from a good writer for the instrument. The edition comes with full score and separate parts.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

OBRIO for two guitars
by Konstantin Vassiliev
“After a gentle luscious, late-night moody opening, Obrio then becomes a fiery, highly animated virtuosic piece, crammed with exciting rhythms, constantly on the move. In style, it would have to be likened to contemporary Latin-jazz. On the evidence of just this one piece, it is obvious that the Russian composer Konstantin Vassiliev is a very skilled writer for the instrument. The music works wonderfully well between the two parts with the exciting accompaniment on guitar two providing a perfect complement for the improvisatory-sounding guitar one line which zooms around the fingerboard creating a very interesting visual aspect as well as a musical one. This would make a splendid encore item for the higher-grade guitar duo.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

OUR GREAT SOLACE IN OUR GREAT NEED by Turlough O’Carolan Arranged for two guitars
by Pascal Bournet
“Born in 1670 in County Meath, Ireland, Turlough O’Carolan was a harpist, composer and singer whose music has been passed down over the generations and has made him a national musical figure. Blind (from smallpox) from the age of 18, this did not stop him traversing the length and breadth of Ireland and composing well over 200 compositions. This new publication contains just twelve of O’Carolan’s harp pieces; Pascal Bournet has chosen well here and has not gone for the usual suspects presenting instead some perhaps lesserknown compositions. Titles are: Carolan’s Welcome; Carolan’s Ramble to Castiel; Heuilett; O’Flunn; James Betagh; Betagh’s Jig; Lady Saint John; Lord Inchiquin; Mrs, Crojton; Henry MacDermott Roe; Bumper Squire Jones; Hugh O’Donnell. Musically, the programme veers more towards the up-tempo side of things and is, in general, full of highly melodic material. Over the years I’ve had the misfortune of having to play through and listen to, many poor adaptations of the great man’s music; fortunately, this present book is not in that category and there are several from this collection which could easily fit together to form an interesting and entertaining small suite. Good as these arrangements are, it has to be said that O’Carolan’s music always sounds much better on the instrument for it was written, but for the duo of around the Intermediate standard, there is plenty of fun to be had within these pages. The title of this book is apparently taken from the epitaph on O’Carolan’s tombstone.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

ADIOS MUCHACHA
for two guitars
by Fabrice Pierrat
“In the opening section of Adios Muchacha there’s a distinct melodic similarity to the dramatic Michael Carr composition Man of Mystery, which was used in the 1960s as the theme to the ‘Edgar Wallace Mysteries’ series of films. This tune was also a hit for the group ‘The Shadows’ who, coincidentally, included a piece, also titled Adios Muchacha, on their 1972 album ‘Mustang’. Anyone who can remember this Carr composition will know that it is a very captivating tune, as is this similar one by Pierrat. The tango rhythm established in the first section is carried on through the next two sections with, once again, strong, attractive melody lines. This is a most appealing work which, due to its brevity, would make an ideal encore and leave the audience with one of those tunes which stick in the memory for days on end. My one small quibble is the fact that guitar two plays the accompaniment throughout, leaving all the single-note melody lines to guitar one; it would have been nice to share the responsibility a little more perhaps. Due to some of the difficult stretches required in the accompaniment, this duet is really only suitable for the grade 6-7 players.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

I TEMPERAMENTI for guitar and harpsichord by Jurg Kindle DZ 2092
“I Temperamenti was composed in 1988 by the Swiss composer Jurg Kindle and apparently, until a friend asked him for the score, he had forgotten about it! A search of the composer’s attic brought forth some handwritten manuscripts and after a little ‘tweaking’ this publication is the end result. Anyone familiar with Kindle’s work will know he has a gift for writing interesting and attractive music, often in a highly complex rhythmic fashion. His first played instruments (aged 8) were drums and as a drummer he performed in various rock bands and studied Latin percussion. This obviously had a huge impact upon his composing and having heard many other pieces of his I had half expected these rhythmic styles to be incorporated in this piece. However, the three movements are composed in a more ‘formal’ style and are refreshingly different. Collerico is the first movement and this has a Toccata-like flavour with an incessant forwardmotion drive with the exception of a 40-bar slower interlude performed as a guitar solo followed by a ‘Spanish’ section before a return to the initial thematic material. Melancolico is, for this writer, the highlight of the Sonata. Beginning with a brief guitar solo which sets the atmosphere (sad, reflective) it quickly develops into a more sombre, profound mood when joined by the harpsichord. After a brief spell the music is lightened somewhat when a change to a slightly quicker tempo introduces a delightful little waltz. The movement concludes with a return to the ‘desolation’ heard previously with the pretty little musical motif first introduced at the start having a more prominent feature here. The work concludes in joyful fashion with a spirited movement titled Sanguigno; having the characteristics of a ‘rondo’ this piece has a very memorable Mozart-like theme and it brings the composition to an optimistic finale. The edition comes with full score and separate part for the guitar. Ideally suitable for the upper grade duo.
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

RHAPSODIA METROPOLITANA for solo guitar
by Raffaele Bellafronte
“Italian-born Raffaele Bellafronte has become an important name in the world of contemporary music. A visit to his website reveals his impressive credentials including many world premieres written for a variety of instruments at significant venues around the world. Rhapsodia Metropolitana is a relatively substantial one-movement work of approximately nine minutes in length. The opening is quite stark and desolate but retains romantic overtones; this is short-lived however and with the arrival of a new, quicker section, announced by an ‘ominous’ bass which is everpresent over the next 20-or-so bars, things soon begin to heat up with the music getting ever more complex and decidedly more rhythmical and aggressive. A calmer ‘interlude’ in waltz-style, echoing Nikita Koshkin’s renowned homage to Poe, then provides a lengthy lyrical chapter which itself blends into an agitated section quickly followed by the first of two aggressive segments in this piece involving strummed chords and percussion. The work carries on in this fashion with alternate lyrical and violent material in close proximity. Rhapsodia Metropolitana could, in the right hands and with enough exposure, become a ‘standard’ of modern contemporary guitar solos. It never loses interest throughout its duration and for the very advanced player seeking new, modern material, this is definitely worth a try. The score is very well fingered and presented […].
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

PAR VENTS ET MARÉES for solo guitar
by Patrick Roux
“This piece is one of a set of six solo guitar works under the collective heading of ‘Les Scènes Panoramiques’. Par Vents et Marées (By Winds and Tides) lives up to its title well. It is a dramatic work – a tone poem – in one movement, highly descriptive in character and the wind and general blustery weather is finely captured in Roux’s clever style of writing. Floating above all the arpeggtated chord sequences is a heroic-type melodic line of strong character and this weaves its way through the several changes of tempo, the piece culminating in thrilling and powerful strummed chords which lead onto a brief peaceful conclusion. This is a fine piece of contemporary writing for the advanced guitarist. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing two previous works from this series but this probably holds the most interest so far.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

PRELUDE IN E MAJOR for solo guitar
by Nick Fletcher
“With over 25 books published of his original compositions and arrangements, plus one CD and a DVD, Sheffield-born guitarist Nick Fletcher is fast becoming one of the darlings of Les Production d’OZ’s catalogue. He seems equally competent at writing in a variety of styles whether it is Spanish/Flamenco, South American, Latin, Baroque, etc. and he also happens to be an excellent player. In the Foreword to this edition Fletcher writes about Bach’s Preludes and Fugues where the Preludes act as ‘gateways’ to the following Fugue and for this reason, in concerts he often couples up this Prelude in E major to another of his compositions, the excellent Lady in the Red Dress in E minor. This flowing, perpetual motion-styled Prelude is stylistically written with the late Renaissance/Baroque period in mind but given obvious contemporary overtones. A single melody note at the start of each bar is followed by a rippling scale pattern reminiscent of a Bach invention, (indeed this sounds as if it could be a keyboard transcription). Smooth playing will reveal two voices in a question-and-answer fashion underpirmed by a constant single bass note. A nice key change midway through leads on back to the opening of the piece before eventually a lengthy Coda concludes the piece. The standard to do the piece justice is around Grade 6. The score is well-fingered and clearly presented (most of the minims are impossible to hold on for their duration and I presume it has been written like this for clarity). Never having been disappointed with Nick Fletcher’s output this is another little gem from this highly talented composer.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

KALEIDOSCOPE for solo guitar by Yves Carlin DZ 2045.
“Les Productions d’OZ recently released ten ‘études’ by the Belgian guitarist Yves Carlin and here is another set of contemporary study-type pieces from him, also ten in number, aimed at the student of around the Grade 4-5 standard. Also as in the previous publication there is plenty of variety in style ranging from relatively easy pieces utilising arpeggios and nice chord sequences through to more complex rhythmic works of Latin and ‘funky’ character. Most of the pieces here would be very useful teaching tools both from a technical and musical aspect and as a bonus they are quite entertaining to play and listen to. I can imagine this music being quite appealing especially to the younger player. The music is clearly presented, well fingered […] and some nice dynamics are included to assist in shaping the music. ”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

ROSA/LA VALSE DES PITCHOUNES for solo guitar by Francis Kleyryans DZ 2055.
“French guitarist Francis Kleynjans has to be one of this publishing house’s most published composers, his list of editions exceeding 60 in just their ‘solo guitar’ section alone. Rosa and La Valse des Pitchounes are his Op.284 and 285 respectively and are around the Grade 2-3 standard. The two pieces contrast with each another in that the first one is a slow, dreamy composition with a naive melody line written over a habanera rhythm; the second one is a more upbeat affair in the style of a quick waltz. […]”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

10 ETUDES CARLINESQUES
for solo guitar by Yves Carlin DZ 2067
“This is an altogether welcome little set of contemporary studies for the Grades 4-5 student. From a technical and musical perspective they serve their purpose well offering the player the opportunity to study arpeggios, bar chords, intervals, awkward rhythms, ornaments, position moves and slurs, all contained in well-written and appealing compositions. With a plentiful dynamics to shape the music and excellent fingering suggestions this collection would be well worth teachers considering using with students. Perhaps Mr. Carlin is being a little pretentious in writing a set of pieces which incorporates his own name in the overall title but perhaps when they are as well written as these then I suppose you can overstep the mark by a little.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

ATANAS OURKOUZOUNOV: Sonatine (1999); BulBop (2009)*: Three East Tales (2009-2010)*; 4 Legends (2006); Babini Devetini (2012) “: Labyrinthes (2002-2003). *Live recordings
Atanas Ourkouzounov. guitar Mie Ogura, flute Doberman-Yppan

“Atanas Ourkouzounov (Sofia, Bulgaria). a first prize graduate at the Paris Conservatory (1997) continues to dazzle with his intensely rhythmic compositions. He currently holds a full time position at the Conservatoire “Maurice Ravel” in Paris. Here we have six titles written for flute and guitar featuring his duet partner Mie Ogura from Japan. The sheet music is conveniently available from the publishers Doberman-Yppan. The flute part frequently utilises many of the contemporary techniques available such as flutter tonguing, multiphonics and key clicks (slaps). Mie Ogura’s playing is nothing short of virtuosic. The guitar and flute have always been happy companions and here they are exultant forces weaving magical tapestries. The CD booklet has no biographical details of the performers or compositions, which is fine if one is prepared to look things up on the Internet but that is the only niggle. The Three East Tales, The Fox’s Dance, The Red Eifs Lullaby and Dracula’s Caprice, all captivating titles begging for a little insight into their origins. 4 Legends, especially Mekedonska Pesen (Macedonian Song), are quite beautiful. Also the infectiously amusing Hiiar Peter (Naughty Peter). with its whistling flute are more than worthy of a mention. As are all the tracks, space notwithstanding. There is much to enjoy here, especially if you love the flute and guitar combination in a contemporary setting. It is demanding listening but is equally appealing and without a hint of saccharine. It is impossible not to delight in the Balkan ‘bounce’, where it appears that the time Signature of 4/4 does not exist. Actively ‘live’ performers, many of their performances have been captured for all to enjoy on YouTube, which is now becoming even more enjoyable thanks to such technology as Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. A highly recommended CD for all the curious and inquisitive lovers of guitar music out there.”
Tim Panting (Classical Guitar Magazine)

JAZZ WALTZES
for Bb clarinet and guitar
by Mark Houghton
“Over the years, and particularly from the 1960s onwards, Liverpool, England has had more than its fair share of excellent musicians. Mark Houghton was born there in 1959 and since winning the Chris Kilvington Memorial Prize (Dillington Music Festival) in 2000 he has become another ‘name’ from that city, this time representing the classical guitar rather than in the world of popular music. In 2007 he won the CGML Composition competition in Brazil and has had many works published with at least five different publishing houses. His Jazz Waltzes (op.53) was written in 2007 and were given their premiere performance by Duo Musaikon who included the composition on their CD Eurasia. There are in total, four waltzes – two short, two long – and all four are individual little gems. They each have beguiling melodies and attractive harmonisations and from the opening foot-tapping, swingy one through to the final jubilant waltz which has; to me, a very Englishness surrounding it, Houghton doesn’t put a note out of place. In between there is a gorgeous late-night, moody piece and a quirky, optimistic one which prompted thoughts of circus activities. These are simply lovely compositions and with the sound of the clarinet and guitar gelling so well together I would love to hear these performed in concert. The presentation is excellent with separate parts for the clarinet; the standard required would be of the Grade 6-7 mark. Recommended.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LE TIC-TOC-CHOC for two guitars by Couperin
arr. Lorenzo Micheli and Matteo Mela
“Of all the harpsichord repertoire, one of the most remarkable pieces is Francois Couperin’s Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou Les Maillotins; a ‘pièce croisée’ from his Dix-huitième Ordre published in his Troisième Livre of 1722. Apparently the Maillots were a famous family of rope-dancers, and the Tic-Toc perhaps refers to their repetitive movements that could be likened to an automaton, such as a clock movement. The arrangement for two gultars is constantly on the move, with a continuous stream of semiquavers in one part or the other and takes the form of a rondo with the main melody recurring four times; surrounding three couplets (marked as such) that take the form of the contrasting melodies. Like many Baroque works, it fits really well onto two guitars. Indeed the composer seemingly gave it his blessing by stating in the original ‘Préface’ that the work could be played on any instruments whatsoever! It does require players of considerable skill to get through the piece with the correct amount of musicality but the piece is great fun and I can imagine many duos finding this well worth investigating.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SCENES FROM A SILENT FILM

by Mikhail Sytchev
“Having seen a good number of works from this fine composer I was eager to see this latest book and it does not disappoint. Set in five movements it takes its basis from the style of music which might accompany Charlie Chaplin during his silent films. So you get Little Tramp; marked ‘Giocoso’ with its almost Latin feel, which has a general air of absurdity in some of its musical elements, and widely changing moods. It is followed by A Charming Young Lady which is a deliberately over-emotive little piece in 6/8 that wears its heart firmly on its sleeve. A Narrow Escape from the Law is third and begins with strummed diminished chords, just like in the old films! This piece dives around with much abandon, and is a great deal of fun, whilst not being easy either. Meeting her Again, Proclamation of Love is the rather unwieldy titled fourth movement and takes the form of a tango that definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously; whilst the final She Says ‘Yes’, is a comic scherzo beginning with a whole pack of augmented fourths running up and down the fingerboard, before becoming a mock serious waltz, which has the knack of ending its melodic phrase on a deliberately wrong final note. This would delight an audience. The music is warm and friendly and with enough comic elements in it to be almost visual in appeal. It is of moderate difficulty but lies so well under the fingers that it is a little easier to play than it looks at times. This is a super piece of writing from this composer. Do give it a try.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

CHANSON ET DANSE for solo guitar
by Fabrice Pierrat
“I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing quite a few of French guitarist Fabrice Pierrat’s compositions over the past couple of years and 1 cannot remember anyone piece which wasn’t given a favourable review. Chanson et Danse doesn’t break that thread, for here are two very pleasurable solo guitar pieces which would suit any Intermediate player seeking fresh, interesting and attractive short pieces. The Chanson is a leisurely flowing work with a pleasant melody line floating over broken chords. It has a bitter-sweet quality which is retained until the final few bars bring a little optimism to the music. The following Danse is performed at double the tempo and therefore is a lively little affair containing some nice rhythmic patterns, interesting melody lines and spiced up with the occasional dissonant chord. The pieces are presumably meant to be performed as a pair and as such would provide an engaging few minutes’ worth of material. The music is clearly presented and well fingered […]”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LARGUEZ LES AMARRES
by Yves Carlin
“This translates as ‘Cast off the Moorings’, and consists of a dozen little pieces, the majority of which are in two voices, sometimes three and so are aimed at the moderate players; being a little tricky to be classed as easy. The titles often include a word pun, and so they range from Hamster Dame (Amsterdam) a pleasant if undemanding little item in two voices, to L’Autre Riche (L’Autriche) a jaunty piece in 3/8 (again two voices) to Mal D’Yves (Maldives), with a slightly more complex rhythm and, On Durera (Honduras). which has note bends and some bluesy little ideas. They are all fun, some more so than others but are engaging as far as they go, and are, I feel, definitely more for the pupil than the concert hall but are still worth looking at if you have the appropriate pupils to use them.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SONATA for solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“This large work (18 minutes) is in three linked movements; the first being Meditation and Aria. It begins with a ‘Lento Sostenuto’ with some arpeggiated chords and runs that make you think you are in for something highly chromatic. Suddenly a second speed intervenes and the music becomes more lyrical. This is only a momentary pause, as the opening speed returns with more of the rushing runs but no return of the chromatic crunching chords we experienced at the beginning. A pause on a D chord brings in a new Andante theme, no doubt the aforementioned Aria, with a beautiful emotional idea that pervades the next few bars. Tempi and time Signatures are constantly changing throughout, however, and the restlessness of the whole movement is obvious throughout. After more toing and froing a new ‘Allegretto’ idea emerges, which in turn moves back to the opening speeds and themes before an uneasy coda that doesn’t know if it is D or Eb minor. Then Part II, the Toccata takes over. This is by far the largest part, and a constant Allegro of considerable proportions. Again times change and you really have to be on your toes as this is by far the hardest section also to play. Hammer-ons and pull-offs are constantly in evidence and there is little let up in its 279 bars and nine pages of small print. The final Part III – Conclusion acts as a recapitulation and coda to the work, using as it does the lyrical themes from Part I and the rushing music form Part If. The final section is Gigue-like and a joyfully exuberant close to what is a major work of considerable length and difficulty. It is never easy, and varies from intermediate to very difficult indeed. Musically it is for the greater part friendly / modern with only the strange opening that, in not returning, doesn’t make much of an impact on the piece, being anything approaching atonal. I can see this fine work being highly thought of by lots of players and therefore hope that it attracts the players it no doubt deserves.”
Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine

ARAPANES
for solo gUitar
by Boris Gaquere
“This new work by the Belgian guitarist Boris Gaquere is dedicated to Japanese guitarist Yasuji Ohagi. Having reviewed a few of Gaquere’s compositions in the past I was expecting a demanding work containing intelligent writing for the instrument and highly inventive and stimulating; Arapanés did not fail on any of those points. After a slow, improvisatory-sounding introduction, the piece flows along at a fairly rapid pace without much let-up. There are some lovely harmonies along the way with a delicate melody line weaving in and out exploring the length of the fingerboard. The overall effect is one of a tonal contemporary composition with overtones of Latin/jazz. At around half-way through proceedings there is a slight change of tempo where there emerges a gorgeous tune which could easily be mistaken as being by one of the ‘greats’ – Gershwin, Porter, etc. Things soon heat up once again with some flighty passages around the guitar neck and with some of music in latter part of the work being shown on two staves for clarity. Arapanés is a very enjoyable and congenial piece for both listener and player and is an excellent addition to the solo repertoire for the advanced performer.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

2 BALLADS for solo gUitar
by Mikhail Sytchev
“Here are a couple of contemporary guitar compositions by the Russian guitarist Mikhail Sytchev, a composer I have had admiration for in the past having played through several of his other works. The first ballad is in D minor and after a very heavily despondent-sounding introductory section the piece gets into full swing with some rapid arpeggio segments at double the previous speed. The form of the work is sectioned into various segments played at different tempt, almost, but not quite, like theme and variation form. The following ballad in D major takes on a similar style but has a more memorable melody line to latch on to. […] I can see a market for these for anyone of Intermediate grade seeking new, contemporary guitar music.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

8 EXPRESSIONS
for solo guitar
by Michel Dalle Ave
“These Eight expressions would be ideal for the student of around the Grades 3-4 mark as they serve quite a useful purpose as well as being entertaining and interesting. Various technical obstacles are utilised in these works so with some diligent practicing the guitarist of this standard should be able to get to grip with the techniques of swing rhythm, arpeggios, playing in higher positions, bar chords, damping etc. Also these studies will be advantageous for increasing an understanding in interpretation and phrasing. Each piece is titled (in French) and none of them outstay their welcome, being concise and to the point. Worthy of consideration.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

CEREMONIAL MUSIC, VOL. 4
arranged for solo guitar
by Jason Williams
“This collection is primarily aimed at the guitarist who performs at weddings, private functions and the like. It probably offers a more practical approach to this type of music than a lot of other editions. For an example two pieces from the contents – Prelude from the 1 st Cello Suite (Bach) and Canon (Pachelbel) – are both presented in two different keys, C and D major (with 6th string tuned to D); the idea here being that if a situation occurs where two pieces are required back to back (one for the bridesmaids, one for the bride), no retuning is necessary if the C major version is used. Also, the arrangements have been kept to a relatively simple standard (Intermediate-ish) with plentiful fingering to assist playability. Anyone wishing to fill out these pieces with more full-bodied harmonies should not have too much difficulty in building upon what is here presented. The music has been well chosen with J. S. Bach having the lion’s share with such as Arioso, Jesus Joy of Man’s Desiring, Sheep May Safely Graze, Air on the G String, Sleeper’s Awake and Prelude No. 1. Elsewhere there are works by Beethoven, Charpentier, Franck, Handel, Mendelssohn, Puccini, Satie, Brackett, Wagner and Vivaldi. Most work very well in these settings but there are a small number which I found didn’t quite make the grade but overall these arrangements are very well prepared and make for a nice play-through.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

AS ONDAS VERDES for solo guitar
by David Grimes
“This set of five pieces pays homage of one of Brazil’s greatest singer/songwriters, Dorival Caymmi, whose music infused the folk tradition with sambas and other emerging Brazilian forms. David Grimes opens with Preludio that, unlike the following four pieces, is a standalone piece that has no musical derivation from the works of Caymmi, As the sea often features in Caymmi’s songs, this opening Preludio pays homage to it, and consists of undulating notes, often arpeggiated chords, but not always so, in various contrasting rhythms. There are plenty of places where these undulations occur amongst open strings, so creating some nice harmonic clashes along the way. The remaining pieces all begin with a scrap of the original piece by Caymmi but after that the rest of the pieces are inspired by his work, but not slavish arrangements or interpretations of them. Minha Jangada (My Fishing Raft) bobs along over a bouncy bass line and some exotic harmonies and rhythms. The lengthy E Noite (It’s Night Time) is ominous and mysterious and moves around quickly over a pounding bass E and some suitably nasty sounding groups of augmented fourths. Its eight pages make for quite a difficult few minutes and great care is needed to get the most out of it. A lengthy rasgueado section is its coda. E Bonito (It’s Lovely) is a warm, hauntingly beautiful piece based on Caymmi’s (possibly) most famous song 0 Mar (0 sea): a suave swaying rhythm is intermingled with fragments of melody and create a heady mix of mystery and beauty; a portion in 5/4 adds a Suitably exotic few moments in the middle.The final Festa No Mar (Festival At Sea) makes a great finish to the set with its complex but engaging rhythmic bounce that pervades the whole piece. You can’t relax for a second with it however because the constant changing of the quaver/semiquaver mix of rhythms means that any loss of concentration and you are in trouble. If you like your music Brazilian, and it is all written in that style, then this could well suit you. It is not easy in the slightest but any decent players will have fun giving it a go. Recommended.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

A DOG FROM EVERY TOWN sor solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“This piece is written for a strangely tuned guitar but in such a way that you are treating the notation as if it were tab, so that you play where you would normally find the note yet actually get something else entirely. This is only a problem, if, like me, you look at the music and hear in your head what it sounds like. In normal circumstances you would hear the note you were expecting, (unless you played a wrong note, of course) but with this piece you would definitely not get the one you were looking at; so if that is a problem for you, bear it in mind. The guitar is tuned to (from 6 to 1). Db, Ab, C, F, Ab, and D and it was this almost random tuning he stumbled upon, that could be aptly described in the title as none of the strings bear any resemblance to each other. The piece itself is barred but without time Signature, as it is almost irrelevant. It is a fast-moving piece that lasts for six minutes-or-so and is largely a sequence of solo notes, with one or two very minor exceptions but even so takes some playing as it very fast and, as already explained, confusing between the eye and the ear. Nonetheless, it’s a very playful piece that is plenty of fun both to hear in concert and to attempt under your fingers and as such I can recommend it for any players with the requisite amount of imagination and daring.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

BOPPIN’ for solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“I have lately seen a number of works by this American composer and this one is really one of the best. Commissioned by a young guitarist who wanted a Signature piece, Johanson delved into his own roots of folk and similar acoustic styles that he was playing at the same age and came up with this little gem, based somewhat on the intricate guitar style of Paul Simon and also on the IV broadcasts of Laura Weber whose guitar styles Johanson so enjoyed in his formative years. It is marked ‘Allegro Giocoso’, which it undoubtedly is. It fairly bounces in with a complex but highly catchy idea that repeats in numerous guises throughout its five minutes of length. The time signatures here are many and varied but are written in, in this piece, unlike others where the pieces have been barred throughout but totally without time indications. There are lots of folk-like hammer-ons and pull-offs and hair-raising runs up and down the fingerboard; so potential players have to be ready for the fact that little in this piece is easy. The piece keeps one’s interest throughout and it was hugely enjoyable. It deserves to be really well known and played by as many people that can cope with the sometimes difficult passagework but believe me it is worth it!”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

HABANERA 26
for solo guitar
by Philip Sills
“Philip Sills has the knack of writing melodically interesting pieces with appealing rhythms and nice harmonies all within the parameters of the Intermediate player. I have yet to come across anything of his which is not worth listening to; indeed he has the respect of the likes of David Russell and Paul Gregory, both of whom play some of his works on You Tube. Habanera 26 (so called because it is the 26th piece in Les Production d’Oz’s 25th Anniversary Anthology edition) follows Sills’ style of writing where a nice tune floats above a relatively sparse accompaniment obviously written in the alluring fashion of the habanera. Starting in E minor and changing to D minor half-way through, this particular composition would make a good candidate to introduce the student player of around Grade 5 to the intricacies of this style of playing.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

TANGO DE NINA for solo guitar
by Philip Sills
“Having just reviewed another piece in a favourable light from this composer, it was nice to receive yet another one to try out. The previous one was inspired by the music of Brazil, this one takes as its motivation the traditional music of Argentina. Tango de Nina, written for composer’s daughter, is a jaunty little affair with an attractive melody line which is quite unpredictable as to its direction at times. Underpinning all this is a ‘walking bass’- type of accompaniment. This incessant bass part creates a few technical problems due to the melody line darting up into the higher positions quite a few times during the piece, but the work is well fingered and should not cause too many headaches for the Intermediate player.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

I DREAMED ABOUT YOU LAST NIGHT
for solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“The title of this evocative piece comes from a dream wherein his daughter was telling him a story and he was improvising the actions of the story on the guitar. On waking he decided to try to recreate via some improvised ideas what he had been playing in the dream, and the end result is this piece. It is very melodic, if unconventional in its approach, as like other pieces I have seen from this composer, the work is barred, but without time signature so one is kept on one’s toes throughout. It is quite substantial at six minutes in length, beginning with an introductory idea that after a few seconds becomes what proves to be the main phrase. Chords move freely in and out of the work but the free flowing, dream-like quality continues throughout with whole sections of repeating sequences often with slightly different details every time, just to make it more intriguing to play. The middle of the piece is a startling run of semiquavers that continues for over 13 lines of staves and needs very careful handling. After this the opening idea, slightly altered returns and shortly thereafter the piece glides to a close. This is a very interesting piece that is tonal but definitely out of the norm, and as such carries with it a certain difficulty factor as you find yourself in musical territory that you probably haven’t discovered before but should you try it, you will find it an involving work that really catches your imagination. Well worth looking at.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

TIME’S FALWWS / MR MAGOO’S TUMBLE for solo guitar
by Philip Sills
“Here are two pieces of very ‘lightweight’ character. Time’s Fallows is a swing-rhythm work with hint of a jazzy quality. With not much going off in the bass department the piece relies heavily upon a strong melody line which carries the whole thing from start to finish. Mr Maqoo’s Tumble is an amusing little ditty played once again in swing rhythm. Never having been a fan of this cartoon character from the ’50s, I’m not sure whether the tempo indication of ‘Drunkenly’ is applicable to the Magoo personality. I do know that he was used to advertise an American beer in several advertisements so perhaps that solves the mystery. Whether that is the correct solution or not, this piece is a lovely example of how to write in an amusing and skilful fashion and keep musical interest. These are two works which could easily be paired together in the order of appearance in this edition. Perhaps not intended by Sills but both compositions are reminiscent of the 19th-century British Music Hall scene, and like many a comic-singer who trod the boards, they are almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Both works are of the Intermediate standard and are nicely presented and helpfully fingered. […]”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

MAGIC SERENADE for solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“This latest piece is as a result of the composer exploring unusual ways to play on the guitar and before this sends you screaming for the exit, let me explain that everything he pr oduces is very musical indeed. nothing to scare your granny here! He explains in his Preface that the piece is written for a capo on Fret 7, and at this pitch it is possible to make sounds behind the capo, on the strings. This was his starting point, for the opening idea features harmonics plucked by the right hand, in alternation with the strings being plucked by the left hand, behind the capo. This creates a really magical effect (hence the title) As a result, the music is printed on two staves; the top one being the actual sound and the lower one being the notes played; assuming you had no capo in place, making it much easier to read. Not that this is an easy read, far from it, for the opening idea, after the harmonics introduction, is marked ‘Allegrissimo’ and is a startling array of quaver runs with occasional moments of harmony along the way, set against a backdrop of constantly changing time Signatures. The resulting sound is very musical and aptly sounds magical, but is so difficult that it sounds like a firefly on speed. Just witness the YouTube performances, for there are a few around. There are a few brief moments of respite. Marked ‘Andante Sostenuto’, yet even there the music is far from easy and the music hurls around in such a way that you scarcely feel the benefit of the slow speed.That said, this is a beautiful work with a most original soundworld, and providing you have the necessary technical arsenal you will no doubt be delighted by this most original piece.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

OPEN UP YOUR EARS for solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“A good starting point for this piece is to hunt out the performance by Jesse Freedman on YouTube. At only two minutes long this compelling and forward-thrusting little piece is very forceful and requires a very secure technique to be performed successfully, and indeed is several notches more difficult than most of his other pieces I have seen. It starts with a six-string chord that had me momentarily scratching my head until I realised how it was to be played. So if you cannot put a bar on Fret 5, but then put your other fingers on Frets 7, and 9 and even 11, then don’t look any further; this is not for you! Thankfully, these two opening chords do not recur, so you only have to stretch once. Again, as in other works, the hammer-ons and pull-offs feature throughout and are becoming one of his most recognisable features. There is no let up throughout and one finds oneself hurtling around the fingerboard, in a seemingly random fashion, which is definitely not the case, as this piece is very highly organised. For the player with the right technique, this would prove to be a very flashy item in the middle of a concert but the gifted amateur player will also find plenty to enjoy, and therefore I can definitely recommend it as something very unusual that is completely out of the ordinary.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SWIRLING MODES for guitar quartet
by Atanas Ourkouzounov
“Atanas Ourkouzounov is garnering quite a reputation, both in print as a composer, and worldwide (courtesy of YouTube) as a performer. Some of his works are complex to the point of marginalising themselves and presenting a challenge to audiences; others are more economical in their workload and the kindness shown to the fingers of the player generates a matching kindness in the eardrum of the listener. Straightaway, I have to say that this piece is more in the former camp than the latter, and there will not be many quartets capable of realising this piece with the clarity and precision it not only deserves but also needs in order to stave off its own unzipping. Most of the percussive effects are clearly described, but it is assumed that some – for example, the notation for the Bartok pizzicato, need no explanation. The challenge is much more in the rhythm – there are triplets and quintuplets here and there in the bars in simple time; there are quadruplets in the bars of compound time and there are extended excursions into irregular time (with some bar at a different tempo to their neighbours). There are unfamiliar chord shapes, though since these are six-note chords, deducing the fingering is an unambiguous exercise, albeit initially tedious. Elsewhere, in the monophonic sections, there is an amount of fingering, but it is sparse rather than generous. As a piece, the composer is confident enough to tackle a variety of moods – from recitativo, through agitation and calm, onto scherzo, for the body of the piece, and then to some ten-and-a-half beat long discords (though the mix of A# and Bb makes the discords look worse than they sound). […]”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

THE PHILOSOPHER AND THE FLY for solo guitar
by Bryan Johanson
“As with a number of Johanson’s other works, this latest piece has a story behind it that influenced the writing. This one involves the philosopher /mathematician René Descartes and a story about him being ill in bed and having a fly buzzing around him. The piece is divided into two movements; the first A Philosopher’s Song is, like so many of his other pieces, barred yet without a time Signature. It is marked ‘Larghetto’ but has numerous very fast areas, that make a slow sounding speed, almost irrelevant. The language in this is noticeably more modern than previous works and one finds many places where the harmonies are unusual to say the least. It goes through a number of sections including a couple where you are alternating notes on string one with harmonics on string two, definitely not an easy ride. The second movement From the Diary of a Fly is supposed to be the same timeframe as the first piece but from the perspective of the fly. It is first of all, exceedingly fast, written as it is in semi and demisemiquavers throughout. Secondly it often worries around the same sequence of notes (as a fly would) and this makes for a very tricky time when trying to negotiate it on the fingerboard. The climax of the piece comes when, as the composer explains in his Preface, the fly eventually lands on the philosopher’s notebook he is using. The finality of the Bartok pizzicato on the low E string is enough to tell you what happens then! A highly technical workout, this piece is far from immediate, and extremely tricky to successfully bring off, but it is now becoming clear, after several pieces from this composer, that here is a writer with a truly original way of writing and thinking and one can only applaud his musical skills.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

A STAR IN THE SKY, A UNIVERSE WITHIN…
for solo guitar
by Johannes Moller
“Moller is a unique player / composer. I have never seen his like, and I imagine there are few if any people performing quite the way he does, or play the sort of music that he composes, which is extremely unusual, and unlike anything you have ever heard or seen before. Witness his YouTube performance of this piece Live in Saratoga: an amazing performance. However, the trouble comes when you open the sheet music. Firstly, you need one of those partial capos; because it is written for this particular capo to be placed over only strings 1-5, leaving string 6 open. So you find that the music has two staves throughout: the first, how it sounds and the second, where you would play it if you assumed that the capo was there, and that Fret 4 has become the open strings (for only 1-5 though, remember). If this was a little off-putting, wait till you see the actual score. Rarely before have I seen a score that, more than ever, is a mere approximation of how it is to be played. The timing is so free, and the plethora of small notes and oddly grouped notes makes for an almost impossible task to read, and I defy anyone to make either head or tail of it, without reference to his fabulous YouTube performance. After you see that, then the page starts to make sense and you know then at least how to interpret the dots you are looking at but still don’t understand. Add to that, the numerous places where you have to play a tremolo section that goes off the fingerboard and keeps going upwards to notes you have never attempted before and you are left with a frankly bewildering manuscript of what proves to be a beautiful piece. The trouble is, what you hear, is just about un-writeable on a musical stave. Lots of pieces are hard to play and I often say that you need a wonderful technique to do so but this piece takes this several stages beyond that. I can only say that I cannot see more than a very tiny handful of people ever being able to play this piece and I’ll bet you won’t find anyone else but Moller, actually doing so for the foreseeable future.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

BOSS, CA NO VA for solo guitar
by Philip Sills
“The compositions of American guitarist Philip Sills have much to commend them. In my, admittedly brief, experience of his music I have always found them entertaining, well written and contrasting in styles. Boss Ca No Va is obviously influenced by the music of Brazil and Sills has captured this style well in a high-spirited work of nice melodies and fetching harmonies. The musical direction is difficult to guess at on first hearing as there are several twists and turns along the way; there are also a few quite predictable passages too. Altogether a pleasant excursion into the Latin field, ideally suited to the Intermediate player.”
Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

MAHLER LIEDER for guitar quartet
by Stephen Goss
“This substantial edition comprises six Lieder and the helpful programme notes explain that these are not simply a distribution of the original notes across four guitars but a re-work that not only suits a guitar quartet but which incorporates guitar-specific effects, not so much as a substitute for the textures of the original, but to re-interpret the music. For example: campanella, pizzicato, ponti, harmonics and more are used to broaden the guitar’s palette to excellent effect. The music itself is delightful, varied and not so challenging as to be debilitating. The writing is lush and free, but not so overtly black on the page that it becomes intractable. Across the set of six varied pieces, there is nothing that a Grade 8 player would blanch at, though at this level of player, achieving the speed and fluency of the original might prove a challenge. Given a little more experience and technique, these are very playable quartets and very much in keeping with the Tetra Quartet’s style of flamboyant dynamics and little bursts of percussion on the side of the guitar, so if you like Tetra’s ‘house style’, you’ll find these pieces a worthy purchase. The pieces in this collection are Von der Jugend (given a wonderful far-eastern flavour that’s quite exquisite). Waltz (Symphony No 2). let atmet’ einen linden Dujt, Des Antonius von Padu Fischpredigt, Um Mitternacht and Uindler (Symphony No 1). The part scores have either no page turns, or ones that are clearly carefully chosen, and all the (perhaps unfamiliar) German performance indications are translated. As one might expect, this is not an SATB arrangement, and each of the parts uses the full compass of the instrument and has its own moments of glory. This edition features on Tetra’s CD ‘About Time’, and if you search YouTube you’ll find CG’s own Guy Traviss interviewing Tetra about the album (and you will hear snippets of this particular part of the album). The standard of the edition is exemplary, not only because of the clarity of the page, but because of all the supporting information – something that some editions clearly think is a waste of paper when it’s the very opposite.”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LA VIHUELA EN ESPAGNE
for solo guitar
transcribed by Oscar Caceres
“Although the long-term brief of this recently launched series isn’t disclosed, it would seem we’re dealing with an anthology aimed at guitarists wishing to explore the vihuela’s heritage beyond the handful of hits that were first unveiled in that ground-breaking Pujol book back in 1956. In this first helping, Milan is represented by five Fantasias, Narvaez by six Fantasias and a set of Diferencias, while Mudarra takes the lion’s share with seven Fantasias, one Glosa and three Tientos. No individual item is immediately familiar, but the unsmiling demeanour of 16th-century Spain in heavyweight mode is unmistakeable. Caceres provides realisations of the tablature, plus detailed left-hand fingerings and suggested embellishments in the less busy moments. […]The F# tuning is recommended with just two exceptions: the fourth Narvaez Fantasia and Mudarra’s Glosa sobre un Benedictus de una missa de Josquin. This is fair enough in that the open F# would have been used infrequently in the Fantasia and not at all in the Glosa. Quality transcriptions from an experienced hand. […]”
Paul Fowles (Classical Guitar Magazine)

MADRUGANDO EN VOS for guitar quintet
by Claudio Camisassa
“[…] Although set as a single movement, there is a single definite change of pace, from a tranquil 41 bars to a more brash and rhythmical section nearer a hundred bars in length. The opening starts with some slow, rhythmical chords. The rhythm is easy, but the chords mix open strings with up-the-neck shapes, and they are easier to play than they are to Sight-read. There are some natural harmonics which are well-fingered and three of the forces are rhythmically in step here to produce chords made out of some glorious bell-like sounds. From here, the three melodic lines start to branch out on ordinary notes with differing rhythms and pitches, underpinned by a slow bass line that mixes straight rhythms with 3:3:2 patterns and tango-like descending passages. There are some confident dissonances here, with chords of B7 set to coincide with chords of E minor, so there is a D# E and F# at the top. […] The “Vivace” section is very different. Again, it is Guitar Two that does the chordal support (now in the form of rhythmic arpeggios instead of block chords), and Guitar 5 that has an almost ‘walking bass’ part. Guitars One, Three and Four are sometimes in unison pairs, sometimes in three separate parts, with Guitar Four getting a few more harmonics for his troubles. Almost without exception, Guitar Two plods away with the same rhythm, but it’s rather fun to play, mainly first position but with a spattering of flats and some unfamiliar shapes. It’s a very effective piece if you don’t mind the odd note-clash and would suit a mixed ability ensemble, as Guitar Five is probably Grade 2-3, Guitar Two is probably Grade 4 (though there are some barre chords – the barre could be removed at the expense of some sustain), and the remainder Grades 5-7, though in a large ensemble, keeping it all tight is going to need a bit of spare concentration.”
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LA MARGHERITINA and LULLABY AND VARIATIONS
for solo guitar
by Miroslav Loncar
“Here are two contrasting pieces from this Croatian composer; the first being in dropped D tuning. It has an almost constant run of semiquavers with the melody cropping up in the midst of the arpeggio, and the shape and harmony of the notes constantly changing. In other words, you never sit for very long on one shape, but are moving from one group to the next throughout its five-and-a-half-minutes’ duration. As a result you are on your toes the whole time. Now this is not a negative criticism, far from it, for the shape of the piece is always involving. It begins with a haunting refrain that begins at the top of the arpeggio, and then migrates into the middle only to swap back and forth. The opening theme then repeals in a varied form, before a different grouping takes hold, and the music moves distinctly away from its home key of D major via some unusual chord juxtapositions. After this the music returns in E major, only to move in and out of various keys before an ‘Agitato’ section occurs where the pattern momentarily changes shape, until finally D major recurs and the opening idea is largely repeated leading to a coda. […] The second piece, Lullaby and Variations, marked ‘moderate’ begins with a rather repetitive idea in 3/4 that didn’t strike me as very lullaby-like, and to be fair, the theme goes on for 40 bars in the same shape throughout (i.e. a triplet of quavers and two crotchets) without deviation. I thought this a little long for its content. However things improved considerably with Variations 1, 2 and 3 where the material gets faster and faster, as it is written in quavers, then triplet quavers, and then semiquavers, with lots of little pull-offs and hammer-ons in all sorts of places to make this a real tour de force. Variation 4 is more chordal, and 5 is a Larghetto, which moves all over the place using minor triads that clash harmonically throughout. No. 6 is a Vals that travels through numerous obscure keys and No. 7 is a Milonga, before a return to the opening Lullaby very much as it was before, and a gentle close in E brings the piece to a close. […] these were two very pleasant pieces that proved to be somewhat out of the ordinary and as such are more than worthy of your attention. They are definitely not too easy, so intermediate players upwards will get the most benefit and this proves to be a nice pairing that 1 think will do well.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LULLABY FOR A LITTLE PRINCESS
by Vojislav Ivanovic
“This is a gentle little piece from Ivanovic built up in 3/4 on the rhythm of a dotted crochet and three quavers. It is set in E major and has plenty of sudden bar chords moving constantly around the fingerboard, so this fact takes it out of the realm of the less talented players, as it does require careful handling. The first theme is melodic and the harmonie, friendly but the rhythm is stuck firmly on the pattern I mentioned, until bar 26 when a subsidiary theme enters with a welcome change in the pattern. The harmonies develop a little here, with a couple 0 friendly but noticeable crunches in some of the chords, when the music travels into some unexpect ed areas. A return to the opening theme leads to the coda where there is a gentle winding down ove: some altered E major chords.This is more than a nice piece that many will enjoy. I found it very enjoyable indeed […], it is a fine piece, with lots going for it.”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

THE BOOK OF PRELUDES VOLUME 1 for solo guitar
by David Pavlovits
“Pavlovits has written a great many pieces, a couple of which have come my way over the years. His musical style is kaleidoscopic and ranges from the almost folk-like to the overtly atonal and everything in between. The latest volume has five items; beginning with All In White, which I presumed meant that it was going to be in C major, with little or no accidentals but I was wrong […]. The opening theme is a maestoso chordal idea with a melody running through its inner parts. A slight pause over an unexpected set of chords leads to a new idea with a bass melody underneath some gently clashing chords. A brief return to the opening leads back to the second idea one more time before a brief ‘piu mosso’ leads to yet another new idea at the opening speed. Eventually the opening theme returns and a ‘mesto’ lead to a brief coda. […]. No. 2 The Silver Prelude is more straightforward and relies on a constant ‘laissez vibrer’ for a lot of its effect. […] No. 3 is a fast and relentless piece called The Hawk; No. 4 is called The Blue One and goes through numerous tempi and varied ideas, whilst the final No. 5, called Bagatelle, is scherzo-like and perhaps the most immediate of the bunch. […]”
Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)