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 (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, and stated the degree of difficulty (if provided by the publisher or it’s obvious). —Blair Jackson
Atanas Ourkouzounov Eastern Songs(solo guitar)
Doberman-Yppan, 12 pp.
Modern-sounding five-movement piece seems to draw on Eastern European folk sources somewhat, but is still strictly contemporary. You can hear the composer play the work by linking to the title above. Advanced.
Boris Gaquere Tango del Vertigo(guitar and string quintet)
Editions Henry Lemoine, 19 pp. plus parts
Billed as a “Fantaisie,” this ambitious work by the prolific young Belgian composer was described by the June 2016 edition of L’Education Musicale as “a kind of mini-concerto where guitar and string quintet (standard quartet with added double-bass) dialogues continuously, even if the guitar obviously has the more beautiful part.” Needless to say it is influenced by South American music. Advanced.
Set of four attractive Spanish-style pieces inspired by the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca (helpfully included before each piece). Listen to the esteemed British guitarist Craig Ogden perform the piece here.
Frederic Hand Sophia’s Journey (solo guitar)
Handwerk Music, 4 pp.
Lovely short work by Brooklyn-born guitarist/composer Hand dedicated to his granddaughter: “Observing her movements on a blanket when she was six months old inspired the pizzicato section. The rest represents Sophia’s strong personality, filled with humor and bubbly determination, which she manifested at an early age.” The guitar depicted on the cover was made by Sofia, now age 7.
Currently Professor of Composition and head of the Composition Department at The University of Arizona, Tucson, Daniel Asia is the author of four symphonies, a piano concerto, a cello concerto, various song cycles and many shorter works. These three lilting, short movements (each a page of music) have been recorded by guitarist Jospeh Pecoraro on his Perennials album, subtitled “American Guitar Solos,” and can be heard on YouTube: I, II, and III. Intermediate?
Eight very short pieces, listed as “easy.” The overall title translates to English as “the peace of stars.” A few individual sections are “the ship of friendship,” “the white wizard,” “the shooting star,” and “the laser light.” Each page of music has a cool full-page facing illustration by Antoine Brellmann, who also did the cover. A very nice package!
Here’s the publisher’s description: “Sonata Op. 1 for Piano by Alban Berg (1885–1935) has often been termed as a milestone in early 20th century music. The sonata clearly stems from the Romantic period, but the ‘modern’ harmonies and complex thematic developments play a part in transcending boundaries and ushering in a new era. The arrangement by Christophe Dejour is as close to the original source as possible.” Advanced.
Judge for yourself; here’s Dejour playing his arrangement:
Jan Bartlema Rhythmical Fancy (for guitar ensemble)
Les Productions D’Oz, 12 pp. plus 4 parts
Dutch guitarist and composer has 20 years experience as a guitar teacher, so he knows about working with ensembles. You can watch a YouTube video of the Hong Kong Guitar Ensemble (to whom the piece is dedicated) here. Intermediate.
They say “write what your know,” so Hungarian guitarist Pavolvits must have felt right at home penning this three-part work, two of which are named “The Pipers” and “Gypsy Song.” According to the publisher, “The musical language of his compositions contains often polytonal and polyrhythmic elements.” Advanced.
Fernando Sor Grand Solo Op. 14(solo guitar) Éditions Durand/Max Eschig, 11 pp. plus more
This fine volume contains perhaps the first published version of Sor’s famous piece, published by Pierre-Joseph Porro in 1811–12, and presented for the first time in a modern edition. The book also includes a facsimile reproduction of that original, plus extensive notes and commentary about the piece by Mario Torta and Frédéric Zigante in English, French and Italian.
Here’s the young guitarist Julia Trintschuk (b. 1997), playing a version of the Grand Solo (not the Porro version, however):