Sheet Music Releases of Music By Béla Bartók, Pedro Ximènez de Abrill, and Vittorio Monti

Christophe Dejour has arranged a late-era violin sonata by Bartók

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 write fairly regularly about classical-guitar album releases in this online space, we also occasionally 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 (often, digital versions are now available, too), but you may have your own regional outlets where you can buy sheet music, so we’d encourage you to look there.  —Blair Jackson

Béla Bartók
Sonate Sz. 117
Universal Edition,24 pp.

With the very first notes of the first movement of this guitar transcription of this violin sonata, which was one of the final works written by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881–1945), it becomes instantly clear that J.S. Bach was the major inspiration for it; indeed, the opening “Tempo di Ciaconna” will certainly bring to mind another “Ciaconna” probably familiar to you. And throughout the nearly 30-minute piece there are echoes of Bach, mutations of Bach, whisperings in the direction of Bach, but also much in Bartók’s own unique and often modern musical language. It’s a tremendously interesting and exciting piece, full of surprises and unexpected turns, and rendered with true virtuosity by the piece’s arranger, Copenhagen-born guitarist Christophe Dejour. I strongly recommend you give it a serious listen!

Pedro Ximènez de Abrill Tirado
100 Minuetos for Guitar Solo
Edition Chanterelle/Allegra, 112 pp.


Though he is still not widely known, Peruvian composer Pedro Ximènez de Abrill Tirado (1780–1856) has come to be regarded by many—as William Lofstrom’s notes for this edition states—”the most prolific and sophisticated composer of 19th century Latin America.” This is the case because it was only in the past 15 years that many of the composer’s original scores came to light. The notes by Lofstrom, a foreword by Josè Manuel Izquierdo König and guitarist Alexander-Sergei Ramírez, and a “presentation” by Octavio Santa Cruz Urquieta (all presented in English and German) tell a fascinating story about the journey these 100 Minuets took to reach our modern world. Lofstrom posits that stylistically, Ximènez de Abrill’s scores “fall somewhere in the transitional period between the late Baroque in Latin America and Romanticism. Moreover I believe that the scope of this collection of sacred and profane musical scores represents a creative effort without parallel in the history of Latin American musicology.” Each of the 100 Minuets is a page in Chanterelle’s generous volume. Below, editor Alexander-Sergei Ramírez plays one (you can find a few others on YouTube, as well, played by other guitarists).

Vittorio Monti
Edition Chanterelle

From the Musici online shop description: “The Hungarian Csárdás Dance is the most famous work of Vittorio Monti (1868-1922), an Italian composer from Naples, who worked as a composer and conductor in Paris. Originally Monti composed this dance for violin or mandolin with piano or orchestra accompaniment. The dance was successful from the beginning: Immediately after his appearance, numerous virtuosos chose him as their reference piece. Nowadays the Hungarian Csárdás dance is still widespread. It is performed in almost every instrumental combination with different solo instruments. The musical spectrum of the adaptions ranges from gypsy orchestra to marching bands.” This solo arrangement is by Russian guitarist Dimitri Lavrentiev (who currently teaches at the University of Augsburg in Germany. It’s a wonderful piece, very Italian in character at the same time it evokes Hungarian music.