Although Italian composer Carlo Domeniconi’s Koyunbaba (Suite for Guitar) has been around only 30 years, it already feels like a well-worn classic. It has been recorded by several guitarists through the years (including John Williams in 1998), but more importantly it has entrenched itself in the modern classical-guitar performance repertoire. It’s easy to see why: The four-movement piece offers the guitarist a wide spectrum of moods and tonal colors, from sonorous melodies to speedy runs that test any player’s dexterity. Koyunbaba is one of several works Domenconi (b. 1947) has written that exhibit his passion for and the influence of Turkish music. That interest was first sparked in the 1960s, however it truly blossomed when Domeniconi spent much of three years teaching and playing in Turkey, from 1977-1980. He wrote Koyumbaba in 1985-1986.
Our video pick for this week finds William Kanengiser, perhaps best known for his ongoing work in the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (but also an exceptional solo performer), taking on the challenging fourth part of Koyunbaba, appropriately labeled ‘Presto.’ This is part of Kanengiser’s 2007 Mel Bay DVD called Classical Guitar and Beyond.