We get so much sheet music sent to us by various publishers year ’round—literally hundreds of pieces in every setting imaginable (solo guitar, multiple guitars, guitar-flute, guitar-harp, etc.)—but we don’t have the space to write about the great majority of them in our four quarterly issues each year.
So, just as we are now listing new classical guitar CD releases every other Tuesday here, we now use the Tuesdays in between those to announce new print music releases. As with the CDs, these are not reviews per se (some will be reviewed in the magazine, but frankly most will not), but we think it’s important to at least get the word out about what’s being offered to guitarists out there. Where possible, we’ve linked the titles to the publisher’s website or some other outlet where it can be purchased, and stated the degree of difficulty (if provided by the publisher or it’s obvious). —Blair Jackson
The name sounds Italian, but Diabelli (1781–1858) was Austrian, better known as a music publisher and teacher than as a composer or guitarist; indeed these preludes appear to have been written to be played by his guitar students, as the superb Italian composer Angelo Gilardino notes in his preface for this edition: “They can be considered arpeggio studies, because they aim to the development of the right-hand technique with ordinary patterns, but they are not banal in their harmonic sequences; always respectful of the rules and built to create a full and resonant tone.” The pieces, edited and fingered by Marcello Rivelli, are clearly didactic, with each offering a slightly different skill-set to work on. (They are billed at part of the Lucio Matarazzo Collection of “Studies and Educational Pieces from Past Guitar Masters.”) And though they’re not really concert pieces per se, there are interesting wrinkles here and there amid the “exercises.” You can hear all seven played by a guitarist named Papasyuzo by clicking on this YouTube link.
And here’s a version of No. 6, which is arguably the hardest of the bunch, as played by Jean-François Delcamp:
French guitarist/composer/arranger Marc Le Gars has made a career in recent years of writing pieces that draw from the rich traditions of the Celtic world which, of course, includes many European countries, from the Galician part of Spain up through Ireland. He previously put out a series of books called Paysage Celtiques (Celtic Landscapes) for solo guitar, two guitars, and even Celtic harp, and now has this second set of two volumes for two guitars, which combine traditional pieces with his own original compositions that are spun from Celtic musical thread.
We couldn’t find any YouTube examples from these two volumes, but here’s a piece from Le Gar’s earlier Celtic Landscapes series that at least gives a sense of what his works for two guitars sound like. This features Le Gars and Line Lamarque, who play as Duo Ker Ys:
Javier Farías Trastocada (for two guitars)
Les Productions d’Oz, 16 pp. plus parts
Chilean composer Javier Farías can usually be counted on to come up with pieces that both challenge and satisfy adventurous guitarists (and listeners), and this piece is no exception. Describing Trastocada as “stormy and restless,” Farías notes: “The work is written in a single movement, for which I based myself essentially on the rhythm of the Tonada. This is one of the most popular folk genres in Chile, and one in which I believe there are still great rhythmic and musical possibilities. Appearing recurrently is the characteristic strum, or rasgueado, of this style, which is written in 6/8 and uses a very specific apagado or chasquido on the fourth beat of the bar, producing the shape and character of accompaniment in styles such as this one.” The piece is also notable for containing two cadenzas, one for each guitarist. Advanced. More on Javier Farías can be found in the Summer 2017 issue of Classical Guitar (out in mid-May).
Here’s a definitive version of this piece, played a few years ago by the dedicatees, the Chilean duo of Luis Orlandini and Romilio Orellana: