Recent Releases Tuesday: Sheet Music from Nick Fletcher, Nicolas Guay, John Cage, and Luc Gueugneau
John Cage; not just avant-garde
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
Prolific British composer Fletcher has described this short work as “a companion piece to my composition Village Dance No. 2… The essence of the work is rhythmically reminiscent of the joropo of South America, but with a few odd time measures incorporated to give it a more contemporary feel.” The title comes from Fletcher observing numerous red-kite birds near his home: “Their movement in flight seemed to fit with this dance-like composition.” Intermediate.
This appealing solo guitar sonata appeared on a quite eclectic and, in places, highly unusual album of the same name that came out several years ago by the French guitarist (much of it featuring Guay playing with a percussionist). This is an advanced piece with many different stylistic elements, including some very pretty tremolo passages in the second movement, “Plainte.”
Below, Guay plays the first two movements of the piece. The third movement can be found by clicking here.
John Cage Six Melodies (for violin and guitar)
Edition Peters, 10 pp.
Massachusetts native Aaron Larget-Caplan can (and does) play music from any era, but admits to a special place in his heart for American avant-garde composer John Cage (1912–1992). And so, Larget-Caplan has taken this 1955 piece, originally written for violin and piano, and arranged a guitar part to replace the piano part; it’s a match that works surprisingly well. This is the first time Editions Peters, Cage’s official publisher, has released a piece for guitar. As the arranger writes in the notes to the piece, “Very few changes were made adapting the piano part to the guitar. A few notes were given different registers, a couple of chords were re-voiced, and there is some use of natural and artificial harmonics where technically necessary.” If you’re one of those people who thinks everything Cage wrote is weird and difficult, you should check out this video of Larget-Caplan and violinist Sharon Leventhal playing the six short sections; there’s a lot of beauty here.
Luc Gueugneau New York(solo guitar)
Les Productions D’Oz, 14 pp.
French composer’s musical evocation of different facets of bustling new York City, with six short sections devoted to “Coney Island” (amusement park), “Harlem’s Rag,” “Squirrels of Central Park,” “Times Square,” “Walk on 44th Street,” and “Yellow Taxi Blues.” Intermediate.