Recent Releases Tuesday: Sheet Music from Frederic Hand, Atanas Ourkouzounov, and Mark Houghton
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 listing new classical guitar CD releases on some Tuesdays here, we will also use occasional Tuesdays to announce recent 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
Frederic Hand Cantiga de Santa Maria
Handwerks Music, 6 pp.
This wonderful short piece by the prolific Frederic Hand comes from his acclaimed 2016 Odyssey album. Hand writes that the piece “is based on a song from the 13th century. The modal melody and irregular time meters suggested to me a modern harmonic setting. The rhythmic vitality of the theme inspired the creation of additional material.” Originally written by Hand for a larger ensemble, the translation to solo guitar is fantastic. I love the way it seamlessly moves from a medieval feel to something that almost approaches folk/Americana. Advanced. Check it out below!
Like so many of Bulgarian guitarist Ourkouzounov’s pieces, this colorful advanced piece has some Balkan flavors running through it, and also demands some intricate, rhythmic left-hand work. It’s mien is definitely modern, but it’s still accessible and compelling, and should make for an interesting challenge.
As played by left-handed guitarist Stephen Glover in the video below (which shows his hands only; a great instructional tool!), this short intermediate piece by English guitarist/composer Mark Houghton is a lovely evocation of a specific picturesque Victorian farmhouse on the north coast of the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, overlooking the Irish Sea.