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ProduitsPartitions pour guitareGuitare seuleHiraeth



Compositeur: GOSS Stephen

DO 1374


ISBN: 978-2-89796-153-4

Guitare seule

12 p.


Hiraeth was commissioned for Ken Murray by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, to mark the centenary of Manuel de Falla’s Homenaje a Debussy for guitar. The premiere of Hiraeth took place online on March 8th 2021, marking the 100th anniversary of the official first performance of Homenaje, given by Miguel Llobet at the Teatro de la Comedia, Madrid, March 8th 1921. 

Hiraeth is a Welsh word suggesting a deep longing for home; a home that is no longer or perhaps never was. A yearning and grief for people and things long gone. The recent writings of Eco (2002), Boym (2002), Hatherley (2017), Riley (2009), Bauman (2017), and others, point to an epidemic of nostalgia in many aspects of today’s culture and society – a yearning for a ‘return’ to a comfortable Arcadian retrotopia. In her book The Future of Nostalgia, Svetlana Boym defines two distinct flavours of nostalgia – reflective nostalgia and restorative nostalgia. Hiraeth is about a reflective, internalised, and personal nostalgia. I present this as an antidote to the far more destructive restorative, external, and societal nostalgia; represented by national and nationalist revivals all over the world.

Nostalgia and melancholy provide the ambience for Hiraeth. I imagine Falla's yearning for an ideal Granada, while spending his final years in self-imposed exile in Argentina. This is depicted by a recurring sighing figure in the music, a slow glissando from F to E. Hiraeth also incorporates some harp-like material that alludes to the Robert ap Huw Manuscript – a 14th century collection of Welsh bardic harp music. 

Music by Falla and Debussy is quoted and referenced in my piece. Some features of Homenaje are amplified; put under the microscope for closer consideration. The semi-tone F to E sigh figure becomes a trope that underpins Hiraeth. The 6th string is tuned to F for most of the piece, finally resolving to E in a retuning gesture that is an important focal point. The semi-tone figure also suggested the quotations from the Romance del Piscador (from Falla’s El Amor Brujo), presenting the figure in a contrasting harmonic context. Llobet transcribed this piece for guitar in a version approved by Falla, so it seemed apt to include it. Homenaje quotes from Debussy’s La soirée dans Grenade (from Estampes) in its closing section. In Hiraeth, I reference the opening of Debussy’s piece, blending it with material from Falla’s Homenaje in a tonally ambiguous phantasmagoria. This prepares the ear for the complete performance of Homenaje, which concludes Hiraeth.


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