We ship to Canada, the United States and Europe for a more efficient service!

New

Reviews

ELI’S PORTRAIT for solo guitar
by Sergio Assad
“A lovely tribute to Canadian guitar giant”
Apparently, this is the first “portrait” in a series of that will pay homage to illustri­ous guitar personalities of our time. Assad composed Eli’s Portrait to celebrate the 80th birthday of Eli Kassner, the beloved and influential Canadian guitar teacher (and one of the original classical guitar fes­tival promoters). Sergio Assad has chosen to compose the work based upon Kass­ner’s name, so using the alphabetical sys­tem of music notation in a recurring loop, Eli Kassner’s name comes out as EEB DAEEGED. This has all been done before of course, the most well-known being the Tonadilla upon the name of Andres Segovia by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Tedesco composed several pieces in this method, and it just so happened that Segovia’s name produced the best theme. Assad has struck lucky here also, as the recurring short theme based on Kassner’s name is memorable and attractive. The opening segment of the work has a slow, lyrical, and poignant character that makes it instantly likeable, and it is at the end of this section that we first encoun­ter the Kassner theme. The mid-section livens up with flights of scales and arpeg­gios, above which snippets of the theme and related motifs also appear. After this comes a recapitulation of the opening slow section, before the work concludes with a tender and emotive short coda. The technical standard is about Grade 8/advanced.
-Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

GNOSSIENNES AFTER ERIK SATIE for guitar quartet
by Stephen Goss
The eccentric French composer Erik Satie wrote his six Gnossiennes for piano toward the last decade of the 19th century; the word itself was invented by Satie, proba­bly in reference to the Greek word gnosis, which is related to spiritual knowledge. Stephen Goss has taken Nos. 2, 3, and 4 of the Gnossiennes and reinvented them for four guitars, putting quite a lot of himself in these superb presentations. Although they have the Goss stamp on them, they still manage to retain the original charac­teristics-one acknowledges the original composer here; it is as if Satie has been brought up to date. The atmosphere Goss manages to cleverly instill in this “simple” music-utilizing cross-rhythms, string brushing, harmonies, and plentiful dynamic instructions is quite astounding. In 1897, Satie’s friend, Claude Debussy, orchestrated two of the three Gymnopédies (composed by Satie just prior to his Gnossi­ennes) and almost as a “bonus track,” Goss has included his arrangement for guitar quartet based upon those orchestrations. Again, these are very attractive ar­rangements and work extremely well in this format. Both the original Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes are widely known and per­formed justifiably so and these new pre­sentations deserve a wide audience, too. It’s likely the great man would have strongly approved of these magnificent pieces. Technically, each part is not that difficult on its own; the hard part is piecing together the four lines and producing the high musicianship required to make this music work.
-Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

BENGA BEAT for solo guitar
by Gary Ryan
Gary Ryan always manages to write enter­taining music, and this latest pairing is every bit as good as the others I have seen. The composer’s intention with Benga Beat was to write a lively piece with an Afri­can flavor, and here he has been remark­ably successful. It begins at a frenetic pace and doesn’t let up for seven minutes, and is therefore quite a handful. But what really takes it into another category altogether is the manner in which Ryan introduces various percussive techniques into the piece-the opening features extensive pas­sages with syncopated 16th notes, often played pizzicato, with numerous percus­sive bits interwoven throughout. Don’t get me wrong, this piece is wonderful and very clever and effective, but only the best play­ers will be able to cope with its require­ments. There is an excellent performance of Ryan performing it on YouTube, so if you have any doubts about what l’m saying, check it out!
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

HOT CLUB FRANÇAIS for solo guitar
by Gary Ryan
Hot Club Francais is very much in the Django Reinhardt Hot Jazz mold, with a fabulous melody and a bouncy set of har­monies, but again, the speed marking of 160 quarter notes surely takes this beyond all but the most talented players. So I would again refer you to Ryan’s YouTube performance, for this isn’t just a case of being slightly tricky; it is way beyond the talented amateurs among you, first-rate though both of these piece may be.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

EN LA TIERRA: Six 21st-Century Guitar Concertos (2 CDs set)
by Brian Head, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, James Smith, Martha Masters (guitars), with USC Thornton Edge, Donald Crockett conductor, Doberman-Yppan
“Top guitarists and ensemble bring life to adventurous program.”
A double CD with six new concertos is quite an event. Five years in the making, this is the inspiration of the famous publishing house Doberman-Yppan and its founder, Paul Gerrits. En la Tierra, by Donald Crockett, is in one movement of several sections and is accompanied by a small chamber orchestra whose contrasting sounds add a subtle and varied background to the guitar, with the music ranging from aggressive to playful to sad, in a very modern idiom. Kaleidoscope, by Dusan Bogdanovic, is in three movements with jazz elements that immediately jump out at you, complete with note bends that sound like they have come straight from a rock guitar. Interestingly, all three movements are based on the same material, with moments of complex rhythms and advanced tonality thrown in – and the last movement is dance-like and full of animation. A Fanciful Plainte , by Brian Head, begins with exotic string chords before the guitar enters, continuing the idea. The two then carry on a complex conversation moving ideas back and forth. The music is mostly in a modern but friendly idiom, with moments of dense string layering often accompanying the soloist. CD 2 begins with Steven Gate’s three-movement Mystery of Constellation, which concerns the composer’s emotional reactions to the night sky. It is in a noticeably astringent idiom, with the orchestra often acting as a more equal partner and the writing a mixture of the contemplative and the exceedingly animated. Cuento Desde la Frontera is a new work by Simone Iannarelli that has a connection with a poem of the same name by the composer. Set in one movement, this “Tale from the Border” is less tonal than the other works and has many beautiful moments of emotive writing. The final piece, Prayers, also by Bogdanovic, is set in one movement for two guitars and orchestra. After a plaintive string opening, the two soloists continue with haunting melodies that exotically interweave, although the pace throughout remains slow. This fine pair of CDs proves how much variety there is in the modern concerto.
– Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

3 TANGOS for solo guitar
by Yves Carlin
“Pleasing dances aimed at intermediate guitarists”
If the number of sheet music and record­ings I’ve received for review over the past several years are any indication, the tango fad is seemingly not going away. These three tangos by Belgian guitarist Yves Carlin appear to be aimed at the interme­diate player, which gives the grade 4-5 student a chance at playing a style that is often composed/arranged for much higher­grade players. The three tangos are arranged in order of difficulty, beginning with Le Tango a Tan­guy, a moderate-tempo piece with a catchy and memorable melodic line. Next cornes Le Tango du Sombre Heros, which defi­nitely sounds more like the prototypical tango due to the staccato accompaniment connecting the small fragments of mel­ody together. Finally there is Tango Russe, which begins with a stop-start rhythmic motif that also immediately conjures up the traditional tango atmosphere. After a brief spell of 16th-note scales, there cornes a change of mood à la Piazzolla, in which a slower, Iengthy lyrical section emerges and then moves into very high positions, before a finale reminiscent of the earlier opening section brings things to an end. lt’s a very nice presentation, and one that would most likely go down well with students.
-Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

DIVERTIMENTO 1 (K439B) for 3 guitars
by W.A. Mozart, arr. by Jürg Kindle
“A wonderful piece for modest ensembles”
Originally for three basset horns, this is more a transcription than an arrangement, but Mr. Kindle makes it look like it was writ­ten for guitar. Guitar Three is predominantly in first position, Guitar Two only ventures up to the fifth fret of the top string occasionally. Guitar One needs fifth position but there is nothing fast and furious here. Set in the key of C, there are occasional forays into F major and there are helper accidentais wherever there might be ambiguity about whether a B is flat or natural. There is no fingering, but only Guitar One really needs a few helper finger num­bers, and these are easily added. The five movements mean the part score is a sta­pled booklet comprising 12 faces. There are eight sides of music, and each part has a blank sheet in the middle to remove any need for page turns - so much more considerate than trying to save a sheet of paper in the booklet! This piece is not complicated and the parts fit together well and as such would go down very well in a school concert, performed as a trio or large ensemble. All that is needed is the ability to play triplets and to not panic in the «Adagio» where the 16th-notes are actually quite leisurely. This is a wonderful «big» piece for an ensemble with modest abilities.
-Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SUITE ÉLÉGIAQUE for solo guitar
by David Gaudreau
“Unusual and unexpected turns in Canadian’s new suite”
There are six movements in this recent work by one of Canada’s most consistent writers. «Valse Triste» («Sad Waltz») gets things going nicely-it’s in E minor with a gentle lilt, and, if it has a fault, is perhaps a little predictable. Things pick up with «Aria,» a melodic work in D with some nice modulations and unexpected harmonies along the way. lt’s followed by «Milonga del Sol,» which is lots of fun and one of the real highlights of the suite, with its unpredict­able mixture of time signatures and catchy syncopations. «Promenade des Amoureux» is an emotive rubato piece with a beautiful melody and slightly unexpected phrasing that enhances the almost improvisatory feel it embodies. Next is «Mystere,» which moves along at a moderate pace, has some unusual modulations in its harmony work, and a number of themes that do not repeat or develop (which left me a little puzzled at its close). The final movement, «Reflets dans L’Eau» («Reflections in the Water’’), is a fast-paced 16th-note piece, first set in arpeggiated chords with a melody inter­mingled, then a syncopated bass note is pedal interwoven with the themes above, ail heavily accented on the offbeat. The opening idea returns for the final close. Although this is a nice set of pieces, one or two felt a little sub-par. Still, that leaves plenty to enjoy from this composer who has written such a vast amount of memorable music. -Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

CATTYWAMPUS ROMPUS for 4 guitars
by Olga Amelkina-Vera
Described as a modern (Texas) take on the tarantella, the title indicates an off-kilter «rompus» is fake Latin, but «catty­wampus,» an adjective meaning askew or in disarray, is now in my vocabulary and awaiting a chance to bring it out at parties! This is more than a bit tongue-in-cheek, and so are the program notes. The performance markings are in English and gloriously funny, with a section marked «murmuring,» passages marked «unsure» and «uneasy with dread,» and my favorite: «Go ail out!» Set in 6/8 and not too fast ( six notes a sec­ond) this is a feast of different textures and tone colors, with an emphasis on bold artic­ulation and lots of rests in the accompani­ment while the tarantella feel continues. But this is not the melodic tarantella-to capture the overall feel, think, «’Teddy Bears Picnic ­meets-horror-movie.» Though chromatic and dissonant, the technical demands are not too fierce, but will require a confident ensemble to stay tightly locked together, and quite a lot of rehearsal to keep the con­stant momentum from flagging. Opening in no sharps, there is a wonder­fully sweet section, which appears twice, set in live sharps and using two guitars to form an arpeggio-a trick that gives a lovely and clever sustain to the repeated top note, shared as it is here, between two guitars. This piece is a (deserved) winner of the 2013 Japan Guitar Ensemble Association Composition Competition, but is not so difficult as to restrict its playing to profes­sional ensembles. -Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

THREE GRACES for 2 guitars
by Mikhail Sytchev
“Dissonant dances with dark humor”
Mikhail Sytchev is no doubt a very tal­ented composer, with a unique flavor to his music; his Waltzes and Scenes from a Silent Film being two works I particularly enjoy. This latest offering is a set of three very short dances; a waltz, a tango, and a polka. Starting with the Waltz, one quickly realizes that there is more than the usual predominance of effects to create this particular sound world-namely, strik­ing various parts of the guitar, squeaking the strings in glissando runs, playing the strings between the nut and the machine heads, and so forth. That is all perfectly fine, of course, but add this to the disso­nance factor and the black humor one associates with much of this man’s writing, and it becomes quite bizarre. The Tango that follows continues with chord shapes sliding up and down against linger clicks and syncopated dissonances from the other guitar. The Polka is only one min­ute and 40 seconds long and never seems to really settle down into a piece of music, so intent is it on sounding bitingly unusual.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

WHITE, YELLOW AND RED for 3 guitars
by Annette Kruisbrink
Set in three movements that run end-to-­end, this is a rhythmically fascinating piece. The piece, listed as «easy» by the publisher, sees the three forces in the title broadly having their own range of pitches, with Guitar Three providing the bass, and Guitar One the higher notes. But the parts cross and share motifs here and there to add variety. «White» pits 3/4 against 6/8 time, with the individual parts tending to stay in one meter for an entire phrase, but both time signatures are always present. The movement is all in the first two positions and the selection of strummed chords use simple and comfortable shapes. «Yellow» is in 4/4 with more performance tricks­tone changes, harmonies, bent notes and a more somber overall mood. Although there are 16th notes, they are either slurred or have notes repeated, so that only one hand is working at full speed at any one time. «Red» is a Little more complex, reverting to the rhythm patterns of «White» but with a more strident melody and adding percus­sion and tambora effects. There is no fingering, but everything is self-evident. The dynamics and articu­lation are clearly shown. The piece would suit an ensemble of modest ability, but perhaps a conductor might be helpful in binding together the contrasting rhythms.
(Classical Guitar Magazine)

VALZER, AND CANZONE for solo guitar
by Giuseppe Torrisi
“Engaging Sicilian-style waltz and tremolo outings”
These are the first two movements from the three-movement Suite Siciliana from an ltal­ian composer whose works are many and varied in style.   Valzer is marked «appassionato» and is largely in three voices, but never resorts to the bass and two-chords style that often passes for a waltz on a guitar, as the part-writing is interesting from the start and there is always one or another of the parts moving around the basic beat. Some of the fingering changes are not easy to achieve and as a result, the difficulty factor is inter­mediate-advanced. The harmonie work can be acerbic or melancholy in places, but always melodic, beginning in E minor, lead­ing to a central section in A minor, and a final section in D, although the number of accidentais throughout this work show you that this is not simple in its harmonie style at all. That said, this is a fine movement, and its friendly but unexpected harmonies and  passagework add to its appeal. The Canzone is a tremolo work and thus requires an even tremolo for the top-voiced melody, which does extend up to the 17th fret in places. Both are very interesting and challenging pieces and, assuming that the final movement, Tarantella (available from the publisher, but not submitted for review), is as good as the preceding two, then this suite would be a fine concert work for any interested player. -Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SEVILLANA for 4 guitars
by Edward Elgar, arr. Carl Herring  
“Spanish-flavored piece is fine for guitar quartet”

This charming piece can be seen on You­Tube performed by England’s Tetra Guitar Quartet, of which arranger Carl Herring was a member. (Stephen Goss is perhaps the best-known Tetra alumnus). And that makes the job of reviewing this piece a little easier, because my task is simply to guide you on the complexity of the arrangement so that you can see whether it is perform­able by your quartet or ensemble. The piece derives from an 1884 orchestral work by English composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934), more fully titled Sevillana (Scène Espagnole). Set in E minor and E major, with Guitar Four tuned down to D for what, as far as I can see, is just a pair of bottom Ds, the music is fast, rather than complicated. The part scores are very easy on the eye, and all the parts have two page-turns that are in periods of silence, so playing from score is not going to be fraught with chaos. Fingering is sparse, but where present, it includes left hand, right hand, and string numbers. This is certainly accessible to a compe­tent quartet, though the wonderful clarity and ease that you will hear on YouTube might prove a little elusive to a less-skilled ensemble. Performance techniques are clearly marked and there is nothing one would regard as out of the ordinary. This piece really sounds good on guitar!
(Classical Guitar Magazine)

KOBE IN MY HEART for solo guitar
by Jean-Marie Raymond
“Another lovely work from French composer”
Here is a French composer whose works are always worth playing, and this is no exception. Following a tranquillo opening of eight bars in the friendly key of A major, it launches into a catchy gavotte with an uplifting feel. However, it goes around the entire fingerboard in the top voice, so it is not very easy. Moreover, there are several places where block chordal ideas inter­change with swiftly changing melody lines. This leads to a brief pause on the dominant 7th and then melds into a middle section in D minor consisting of a valse tendre that is very melancholic, with an appealing grace and a beautiful set of harmonies. This extended section is mostly a bass/chord waltz in the classic style, with several places where a third middle voice enters, or occasionally has its own quick melodic runs. This then pauses and the gavotte re-enters one more time, leading to a short, gentle coda. This is a lovely work that many will enjoy playing. It is not too difficult (it’s listed as «intermediate») - the hardest parts are the sudden position changes in one or two places and the idiomatic way the composer occasionally uses a har­monie amid fretted notes, which could cre­ate one or two awkward moments for the less skilled. That said, this is a wonderful addition to Raymond’s oeuvre, and any interested parties do well to look at the extended list of his pieces published by D’Oz.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

PICTURE ON A TRAIN for guitar ensemble by Matthew Denman
“Evocative «story» about strangers on a train”

As the Director of Education for the GFA and Director of Guitar Studies for Okla­homa City University, Matthew Denman is someone who has demonstrated that he’s keen on guitar ensembles. In this piece, scored for guitar quartet, Guitars One and Four have a «divisi» section, so a larger ensemble is ideally needed. This is a sub­stantial work, but all the part scores have well-chosen page turns. The score tells a story: there’s mist, a train, its whistle, and then we meet Pas­senger 1, and the effect that the titular «picture» has on each character. Passen­ger 2 is nervous and the picture reminds them of an unpleasant memory. Passenger 3 receives a spiritual awakening from the picture and there is a conversation about art. The piece concludes with the perfor­mance marking «Three passengers having three different experiences because of one picture on a train.» All of these ideas are to be evoked by Denman’s score. This piece requires an ensemble with quite strong technical ability, but rhythmi­cally the motion of the train acts to bind the parts tightly together, so this may actually come together more readily than some eas­ier pieces where the parts do not interlock. I feel a good ensemble could make magic out of this «intermediate» piece. (Classical Guitar Magazine)

NAOKOLO for guitar orchestra by Dusan Bogdanovic
“Challenging but rewarding workout for multiple guitars”

Subtitled “Around Dance”, this piece by the prolific and diverse Yugoslavia-born composer/guitarist was commissioned by the Boston Classical Guitar Society and is scored for five guitars and a bass part that is presented in both treble and bass clefs. The four movements are «Introduction» «Kolo» «Fugue» and «Choral» . «Introduction» has Guitar One and Gui­tar Two play a thread that is improvisatory in feel. The rhythms are challenging and not for the faint-hearted. With many rests and changes of Time signature it will be difficult at first to keep the parts in step. «Kolo» is a delightful and gentle piece with decorative trills and solo and tutti sec­tions. The thematic material is handed around to all except the bass part, and although the rhythms are varied, they lock together very well. Some of the parts have chords, and while there is no fingering and the chords have a mixture of stopped and open strings, they are comfortable under the fingers. «Fugue» is only in four parts, and guitars Four and Five have parts marked «Tacet» (which means «it is silent» in Latin). «Choral» has a much more challenging bass part, under­pinning a rubato melody and tremolo-style accompaniment. All in all, this «advanced» piece would be a challenging work for an amateur ensem­ble, but the music is quite rewarding.
(Classical Guitar Magazine)

WATTS CHAPEL for solo guitar
by Stephen Goss
Watts Chapel is a mov­ing and emotive piece that refers to various themes from Gustav Mahler. It has a scorda­tura of 3rd to F# and 6th to D. The Mahler themes are easily spotted, and include the opening pair of chords, from Mahler 9’s opening movement, together with a longer section at bar 21. Further quotes include the 3rd Symphony’s fourth movement a lit­tle further on. This makes for a pleasant and very interesting six minutes.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LOOKING GLASS TIES for solo guitar
by Stephen Goss
Looking Glass Ties (the name comes from the Beatles’ «Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds») was first published in 2003, but here has been revised from nine move­ments to five. «Invisible Starfall» opens the piece with clashing clusters of harmonie chords and strange campanella arpeggios. «Some Like It Hot» is rhythmic and full of stop-go chord sequences and runs up and down various complex arpeggios and pat­terns. The middle movement is a transcrip­tion of Scarlatti Sonata K25 and seems a strange bedfellow compared to the other movements. «In This Style 10/6» is, in its own words, hard and manic but also ironi­cally humorous- and quite a considerable handful, too. The final movement, «Late Music» is unbarred, with many open-ended note lengths and closes the work on pia­nissimo harmonies. The Scarlatti notwith­standing, this is a largely atonal work, extremely difficult to play.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

A FAMILY PORTRAIT for solo guitar by Siyoh Tomiyama
“Surprising suite from Japanese composer/guitarist”

It is obvious from the front picture that each of the four movements here represents a family member, but you are left to work out exactly who for yourself, although there are cues! «Happiness in Uneasiness» has a mournful opening theme with a descending harmonie idea interlaced with chromatic hammer-ons. A briefly happier theme comes in, but the opening returns and pro­vides the coda. «Little and Innocent Varia­tions» is obviously a child, as the theme is joyful and bouncy, with a lilting, skipping melody. There are three more variations, with the middle one being very slow and mournful. Just to drive home the point, there is a brief quote from «London Bridge is Falling Down» right before the close. «Waltz for A Gentle Person» is a beauti­ful idea full of surprising details. It moves around various keys quite naturally, but this makes it far from easy. The final move­ment, «Completely Honest Person» is, I sus­pect, a dig at the composer himself, and the bluesy, slippery feel it occupies makes me think that perhaps the title is ironic. There is a direct quote from the previous «Waltz» in the middle, before the synco­pated ideas return. Again, the harmonies are surprising in their originality, and rely on semi-tonal moves to some extent, and very jazzy chord sequences. This is a wonderful suite that many will enjoy. It is of moderately advanced diffi­culty, but shouldn’t stop any decent play­ers from trying it out.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

IMMINENT LOSS for Guitar Quartet
by Eddie Healy
Written for Texas’ Collin College One O’Clock Guitar Ensemble, «Imminent Loss» opens with a punchy rhythm that builds across all four forces. Set in F# minor, the time signature changes occasionally, but nothing too scary, and the harmony is dark but hypnotic rather than discordant.­ Good use is made of the very low E# to bring the music back to the tonic. This is acces­sible without being simple, and is rather fun, with short little solo breaks that have an improvisational feel. The score is clearly marked «solo» and «tutti» for use when played by more than four guitarists. There are a variety of textures, and techni­cally the piece is probably no more com­plex than about Grade Six.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

QUARTET for Guitar Quartet
by Eddie Healy
«Quartet» in 2/2 time (with one bar in 2/4 time) is perhaps best suited to a mixed-ability ensemble, with Guitar 4 be­ing Grade One, Guitar 3 perhaps Grade Three (on account of some fifth position work and some half barres). Guitar 2 has a little double-stopping in the lowest two positions (but is no harder), and Guitar 1 has faster notes and forays into the ninth position, but a Grade Four player would not struggle. It has a leisurely pace and some lovely, light, jazzy chords; the texture is one of smooth openness and relaxation. With the two repeats and the laid-back pace, the music lasts about two minutes, and it’s an enjoyable sound that novice players might not have seen in many of the pieces written for a modest standard.
-Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

THE BOYNE SUITE for solo guitar
by Pat Coldrick
There is much to commend here, including the beautiful, eye-catching front cover fea­turing an idyllic country landscape. All four of the movements which make up this suite are very well-written; the music has imme­diate appeal, is very playable, and easy on the ear. The opening “Reverie” is a waltz with a pretty and memorable tune. The second piece, titled “Wake Unto Me,” is a slower waltz that displays shades of the influence of Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan. A third waltz, this time with a passing nod to the music of Venezuela, and especially the music of Antonio Lauro, comes with the delightful “Serenade.” And the whole set is brought to a conclusion in grand style with Pat Coldrick’s splendid Latin-influenced “Cayendo,” a highly energetic and exciting piece of writing. The music is clearly no­tated and the fingering, if followed, works well. For players of the intermediate standard, this could be a little gem in their repertoire.
-Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

IN NUEVA DIA for 5 guitars
by Claudio Camisassa
Marked “misterioso” Guitar 5 opens in A minor with a slow pizzicato bass line, joined by Guitar 4, adding sustain to the “footsteps” and two more guitars provid­ing chords above the bass. The melody, when it enters, is sad, set over slightly dark chords, symbolizing the darkness before day. The harmonie is eerie rather than dissonant. Yet, there is movement in the tune, and as the pizzicato drops away, an increasing sense of urgency emerges, more from restless chords than from a change of pace or volume. The sun breaks through as the music is marked “romantico,” and a strong melody in A major sings out over a South American bassline and some striking natural harmonics - glorious writing with a sense of space and a refreshing texture. A return to the minor key soon fol­lows-can this be British weather we’re writing about? Not at all; there is a cunning mixture of threes and twos and the music here is moving forward at a more brisk pace, through some luscious key chang­es, before finally returning to the opening theme, which is modified to conclude with a powerful ending back in the minor key. This is not a work for an inexperienced quintet, yet not too technically advanced. It’s more that each line is rhythmically in­dependent of the others, so a certain re­silience is needed that a novice ensemble might not have. In terms of complexity, Gui­tar 5 is probably Grade Three. Each of the parts above has its own challenges.
-Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LES RUES DE MARCIAC for Guitar Quintet
by Thierry Tisserand
Set in shuffle rhythm, this piece will quick­ly separate guitarists with an innate sense of rhythm and the ability to «feel the beat» from those (dare I say more «classical» players) who regard the score as a fixed list of timed jobs, and who should look away now. We’re left with those who love a bluesy, big-band saunter through the score. We’re in for some fun. Guitar 4 starts off with a jazzy little mo­tif that invites Guitar 5 to join in an octave lower. Metallic discords, with a punchy staccato, give a due that there’s more on the way, and it arrives, courtesy of Guitar 1, shadowed a sixth below by Guitar 2. And here is the basic orchestration - a tune and harmony line together, rich chords built by Guitars 3 and 4, and a bassline that is partly chord-based and partly a walking bassline. There are glissandi starting on the offbeat, and the mix of missing beats and lugubrious triplet quarter notes over normal quarter notes make this a feast of fun rhythms. The music - just 99 bars - has no repeats, so this runs for almost exactly three minutes at the marked metronome speed. How hard is it? It needs players who feel the beat, and if pared back to one player per part, every player has to be able to play a pizzicato solo in the finale, so it’s confidence more than ability that is needed. A mixed ability ensemble between Grade Three and Six will enjoy it.
-Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

LES DOUX INSTANTS for solo guitar
by Claude Gagnon  
Short and sweet; This is a very pretty, lyrical, composition with mostly predictable melodic and har­monie progressions, but that is not neces­sarily a bad attribute. The tune is roman­tic/sentimental and although it shifts quite high up the fingerboard, the technical stan­dard remains within the grasp of the Grade Four player (but watch out for the one un­expected moment in bar 28, where a sud­den left hand large stretch is called for). It’s an attractive work one could easily slot into the student-concert or restaurant ­music category.
-Steve Marsh (Classical Guitar Magazine)

AGAPI MOU for plectrum orchestra
by Erik Marchelie
Marchelie’s Agapi mou (My love) is certainly in good company, with the famous and beloved songs of the same name written by Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hatzidakis. This instrumental composition has the same general flavor, presenting a simple modal melody accompanied by diatonic harmonies (almost always in root position). The second part breaks into a faster 7/8 rhythm in kalamatianos style. Afterward, an elaborated version of the opening material gives a satisfying close. The scoring for the “plectrum orchestra” has two parts for mandolin, one for mandola, one for guitar (classical), and one for contrabass. Clearly the intent is to evoke the sound of the bouzouki. This piece would be engaging for an audience, so it would surely be a good choice for any plectrum orchestra out there.
-David Grimes (Soundboard)

5 TRIBUTES for solo guitar
by Benoit Albert
This is a nice set of contrasting homages, set in dropped D. So, the opening item is “Mr. Debussy Finally Went to Spain”, with some very Debussyan whole tones and other typical harmonie ideas. “The Day Mr. Bartok Lost His Scales”, after a deliber­ately dissonant opening, develops into an increasingly fast folk melody over a drone bass and some crunchy notes within, just to spice things up a bit. “How Mr. Metheny Met Mr. Kapsberger” consists of a chord sequence with some gently dissonant modulations, first written à la jazz guitar­ist Pat Metheny, followed by a variant in the manner of baroque lutenist Giovanni Kapsberger. “Mr. Prokofiev Lost His Glasses” has a walking bass idea that gradually gets more anxious and dissonant as our hero looks for his lost spectacles (?), only to “find” them towards the end, where musi­cal normally is restored. The final “Waltz for Mr. Satie” really sounds like a piece Erik Satie never got around to writing, with its gentle, very French-sounding clashes in the manner of Satie’s Gymnopedies, but set to a slow waltz. This set is humorous and fun to play, and not terribly difficult, although a certain maturity is required to do them full justice. Definitely worth the effort, though!
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

CELESTIAL - The Music of Ernesto Nazareth - CD
by Marc Teicholz
For many of us non-Brazilians, our intro­duction to the legacy of Ernesto Nazareth (1863--1934) was a legendary 1989 clip of the Assad brothers performing Escorre­gando on a single guitar. A more restrained performance of the same piece appears on this stylish and amiable release from Marc Teicholz - a link between the two versions being established by the revelation that Teicholz’ recording is produced by none other than Sérgio Assad, who is also cred­ited with all 16 arrangements (from piano originals) and provides the program notes. This is a charming set of retro minia­tures in which only Turbilhao de Beijos exceeds the five-minute barrier. Given that Villa-Lobos was Nazareth’s junior by just over two decades, it’s perhaps best to see Nazareth as a key figure of the pre-Villa­-Lobos generation. Although not many would mistake the Villa-Lobos Etudes for the work of Nazareth, it’s universally accepted that Villa-Lobos drew much inspiration from the chôro groups to wich Assad refers in his notes on Nazareth. It’s certainly possible to detect parallels with Nazareth’s developed yet popular-leaning language of Suite Popu­laire Brésilienne. All is secure on the playing front, with Teicholz’ mix of the rhythmic and the lyrical in keeping with the upbeat yet unassertive character of the program. Guitars by San­tos Hernândez (1930) and Robert Bouchet (1961), further enhance this classy presen­tation of a significant chapter in Brazilian music.
-Paul Fowles (Classical Guitar Magazine)

IBÉRIQUE for solo guitar
by Fabienne Magnant
This is intended for classical or flamenco guitar and inspired by the seguiriya, which is said to represent one of the purest forms of the cante jondo. lt is marked by a serious, dramatic affect, with intricate and insistent rhythmic patterns, a narrow melodic range and a hypnotic repetition of the underlying accompaniment motif. The tightly restrained emotive content can be very powerful. This piece does capture the essence of that very moving emotion. It is most satisfying for the player and could be mesmerizing for the listener. The technical difficulties are not daunting, but the player will need to be very attentive to the intricacies of rhythm and subtle development. Ideal for the classical player who wants to play a “flamenco” piece that is deeper and goes beyond the cheaper varieties. The sixth string is tuned to F#, and a capo at the second fret is indicated.
-David Grimes (Soundboard)

LAS TRES AMÉRICAS for guitar orchestra
by Claudio Camisassa
A “stark and aggressive” tour of the Americas by guitar musical directors the world over may weep when an orchestration of 65 players is suggested; even more so when those players have to be comfortable playing in 11/8 time, up to the 19th fret at six notes per second. If only we all had access to that sort of resource! But this piece will work acceptably as a sextet, and if there is no contra guitar for line 6, then a conventional guitar will suffice. It would be better with more than one player per line, because the top four parts have divisi writing. Starting in North America, deriving inspiration from minimalist composers and drawing on the fashion for tapping, the music continues to Central America with more syncopated rhythms, and then to the South with tango and milonga influences. The piece is not technically as challenging as many I have reviewed, but it requires players with a solid sense of rhythm and the courage to play strongly, because so many lines provide rhythmic dues to the timing in some of the harder passages that beset each part in turn. -Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SONATA No. 1 for solo guitar
by Nick Fletcher 
“Prolific guitar composer finally writes a sonata”

Nick Fletcher is a UK-born player/com­poser who has written many fine pieces for the guitar published through d’Oz, and here he tries his hand at his first full-blown sonata. It’s in three movements - the first and third are fast and furious, the second is a very smooth, jazz-like, free-rhythmed piece that sounds almost like it could have come from the 1930s. The first movement, “Allegro,” has a ground bass A over which a long-breathed, rhythmed melody of a 16th note and two 32nd notes takes hold. The time signa­tures change from a steady 4/4 to 2/4, 3/4, and 5/4 at times, as the melody ploughs through relentlessly. A brief, more melodic second theme intervenes before a presto materializes, consisting of an arpeggiated four 32nd-note idea that is harder to exe­cute than it looks. After the repeat, a development section plays with the previ­ous themes, before yielding to a complete repeat of the recapitulation section and a small coda. The slow movement is wonderfully warm and clearly jazz-influenced, with melt­ing harmonies and sudden changes of key. The final “Presto con Fuoco” is a mix of 6/8 and 3/4, mostly in two voices, leading to a middle section that quotes directly from the first movement before returning to the opening idea and a swift and forceful coda. This is a pleasant and rewarding piece that definitely deserves to be heard. How­ever, it is advanced in its techniques and really only for the experienced player.
-Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine)

SUITE PARANESERA for 4 guitars
by Raul Maldonado
“Substantial advanced piece from argentinean composer”

This is a big three-part work, and although not intimidating on the page, it contains one or two traps for the unwary. “Fin Del Rio” opens in G Minor, and though it is set in 6/8 time, Guitar Four is playing in 3/4 ime underneath. From there we move to G Major and the roles are passed from player to player, so this requires four of equal ability. The piece then moves to D major. With no performance markings and very few dynamics, it calls for some experimentation to really capture the feel. “Me Dijo El Manguruyu” is a very effec­tive piece of writing, pitching 4/4 time against the characteristic 3+3+2 tresillo pattern, giving a real feeling of energy. The key of E makes for a rich sound and not too much high-position work. This is a lengthy movement, but the writing takes us through a variety of keys. “Del Buen Amigo” is perhaps the hardest movement, again putting 6/8 over a 3/4 bass, but then moving onto quadruplets, playing four eighth notes in the time of three without being put off by the 3/4 bass! The edition has no fingering and requires some expertise and patience before the parts lock together and the music starts to emerge from behind the notes. However, when it does, the move­ments are substantial and not overly repet­itive.
-Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

5 FACHADAS for guitar and viola
by Javier Farias
Chilean composer and guitarist Javier Parias initially wrote 5 Fachadas for solo guitar in 1996, later arranging them for the present combination of viola and guitar for the Alturas Duo. Two of the pieces retain significant solo guitar passages, providing textural contrast. Parias draws upon Latin American folkloric rhythmic characteristics, using modal harmonies, chromaticism, and subtle rhythmic unpredictability to inject a contemporary sensibility into the set. This edition of the 5 Fachadas is a wonderful addition to the repertoire, addressing a need for more pieces of significance for the worthy but relatively underexplored instrumental combination of guitar and viola, and asserting a strong and convincing approach to integrating folkloric material into a modern aesthetic. The guitar part is idiomatic, though with plenty of challenges, and is a strong concert-level piece. The edition is clear and well engraved, with somewhat limited but always helpful fingering suggestions.
-Daniel Lippel (Soundboard Magazine)

A STAR IN THE SKY, A UNIVERSE WITHIN... for solo guitar
by Johannes Möller
This is a solo guitar composition that could easily be treated as a two-part piece, starting with a two-and-a-half-page introduction (“Spacious and contemplative”) followed by a much longer tremolo section. It is in the unusual key of G# minor. The score appears in two staves: the lower shows the way of playing, the upper indicates the sounding of the music. This is not necessarily uncommon, but then the work also calls for a capo that covers only five strings, leaving the sixth open to sound at its natural E. Players should be aware that this eliminates many capos - at least the older ones I have - that are limited to covering all six strings simultaneously. This is a compelling piece. The suggested tremolo pattern contains five notes, though the composer allows for the standard four-note one as an alternative. Another interesting feature of the piece is the manner in which the melody often climbs to the very highest register, beyond the fretboard. And there are bars in which the left hand alone plays tied (legato) notes while the right hand executes harmonies. Johannes Moller belongs to the younger generation of Swedish guitarists and composers, and he was inspired for this music, he tells us, by the endless cosmos. As he expresses it, he was looking at the stars, wondering about the things that humans have done. His intention was to respond with a mysterious and emotional music. I can only suggest that players obtain this title and decide for themselves whether he has succeeded.
-Uros Dojcinovic (Soundboard Magazine)

ANANDA for solo guitar
by Johannes Möller
One of the distinguishing attributes of Western music over the past millennium has been its ability to synthesize new styles from pre­viously existing ones, as in the blending of national idioms to create a wider cosmopolitanism or the mixing of Western and non-Western traditions to forge a modern multicultural aesthetic. Increased global­ization since World War II has especially stimulated artistic intercourse between East and West, and Ananda is a shining example of this on guitar. Moller’s inspiration is India and the sitar. He dedicates his work to yogi Ramakrishna Babaji and explains in his preface chat Ananda is a Sanscrit word of great importance in eastern philosophy and spiritu­ality translating to English as ultimace bliss and happiness. The com­poser evokes the Indian ethos not as a mere exercise in exoticism, like one finds, say, in a Puccini opera, but as the sincere embrace of a distant culture. Ananda uses a tuning of B1-G2-D3-F-sharp3-B3-E4, in which all strings at one point or another serve as drones or pedal tones. Coupled with the work’s strict modal idiom - B aeolian through­out - these ever-present open notes create a harmonie stasis chat effec­tively depicts a mood of quiet contemplation, at least initially. This is furthered by flexible tempos and unmetered rhythm as well as by a limited number of themes, frequendy recurring in exact or varied form but undergoing no extensive development. One motive in particular, which includes the instruction “bend (sitar-like)” appears in all sections of the piece and provides both a principal means of unity and a striking aural allusion. Moller’s work begins calmly with lyrical phrasing, frequent slurs, and colorful use of cross-string unisons and natural harmonies while spanning four full octaves: the complete range of the instrument from the open sixth-string B (a fourth below standard pitch) to the first string’s nineteenth fret. Midway through, the music gains inten­sity, climaxing in a dramatic flurry of arpeggio and rasgueado figures, most of which are based on chords presented earlier. Near the end of its six-minute run, the piece returns to the themes and serenity of its opening. Moller is a virtuoso guitarist, and like all his published solos for the instrument, Ananda is for the advanced player. Given its purely diatonic language, coupled with substantive form and content, this music appeals to connoisseurs and casual listeners alike.
-Robert Ferguson (Soundboard Magazine)

PERSPECTIVES IMPAIRES for solo guitar
by Atanas Ourkouzounov
In reaction to the serialist hegemony that pervaded much of the musical art world in the decades immediately after World War II, new musical movements inevitably arose. Aleatory had already pro­vided a stark alternative to the ultrarationalism of the period, but by the 1960s minimalism, neo-romanticism, third-stream, and other musics were also joining the opposition. At the same time, many com­posers remained committed to a modernist post-tonal language but abandoned some or all serialist strictures. Absent the structural and unifying power of serialism, “free atonality” as developed primari­ly by Schoenberg and his circle in the years 1908-1923 took on new relevance. Its procedures continue to inform present-day work in the idiom. “Perspectives impaires” for solo guitar by Bulgarian Atanas Ourk­ouzounov (b.1970) stands squarely in this neo-atonal tradition. The work displays a number of features that underscore its debt to World War I era atonality. One is brevity, which can be seen in its seven short movements: I. Capriccioso; II. Allegro ritmico; III. Poco rubato; IV. Allegro; V. Largo, poco rubato; VI. Vivo, nervosa; VII. Recitativo, rubato. Other parallels are evident throughout the work, but the following discussion focuses on the first movement only. Capriccioso opens with all twelve pitch classes presented within the span of its first phrase (mm. 1-3). This technique of chromatic saturation, though observable in some late tonal music too, character­ized much early atonal literature. After the full chromatic gamut has unfolded, the process repeats for several more cycles. This is the case both in the Schoenbergian repertory and the present piece. Within each cycle some pitch classes recur, and between cycles their order changes, thus differing from row technique. Pitch content is organized by the presentation of motives and longer themes, restated or developed, and manifested in both horizontal and vertical arrays. For instance, the opening trichord, F-E-E-flat-two major sevenths superimposed-is compacted in the next measure to two semitones and transposed to create the stepwise figure, C-sharp-C-B. Further manipulation pro­duces a second symmetrical motive, C-B-A-flat-G, which in various transposed and permuted forms serves as a central referential element. By such methods, Ourkouzounov realizes one of the reigning ideals of most atonal composition: integration of the melodic and harmonie planes. At the end of Capriccioso the composer brings back his opening theme, verticalizing its former linear elements and following it with his second main theme (from mm.8-9), the latter restated three times exactly and a final rime varied. Using verbatim repetition to round off a piece was rare in prior atonal practice, but the overarching ternary scheme of A-B-A’, wherein the outer sections function as exposition and recapitulation while the middle is developmental, was common. On a larger scale Perspectives impaires is cyclic, with main motives of the first movement recurring in the other six. Rhythmically, Ourkouzounov’s composition departs markedly from Schoenberg’s early Viennese school and points to other influences. Irregular meter, moving among all values from 4/8 to 13/8, governs the rhythm of the faster movements, stabilized by the unwavering eighth­-note denominator of the time signatures. One of the most engaging features of these up-tempo movements lies in the way that mensurally unpredictable beat groupings counteract the steady underlying unit of measure. Rubato movements are written without time signatures or bar lines and alternate with their livelier counterparts to convey a spectrum of moods. All but one of the movements of Perspectives impaires are poly­phonically conceived. Of these, Capriccioso is the most intricate. Appropriately, Ourkouzounov employs harmonies more abundantly here than elsewhere. Such light, crystalline tones counterbalance the inherent density of a multipart, chromatically saturated texture like this one. Sinusoïdal color was similarly employed by the Viennese atonalists. Interestingly, Schoenberg’s last free atonal work, Serenade, Op. 24 (1923), included guitar and mandolin, which supplied timbres analogous to harp and celesta in previous works. (Webern also used guitar in his Drei Lieder, Op. 18 of 1925, after turning to serialism.) So Serenade links the guitar directly to early atonality and its sound ideals. In our present age of diverse and fragmented culture, that century-old aesthetic remains a strong current of creative expression. Works like Perspective impaires assure the guitar’s continued place in the discourse.
-Robert Ferguson (Soundboard Magazine)

IMMINENT LOSS for 4 guitars
by Eddie Healy
This is a relatively short quartet piece to be played at a moderate tempo. All four guitars play an important musical role. The fourth guitar is rhythmically interesting and creates a steady, heavily accented, syncopated bass line. The first guitar plays the primary melody, which contrasts yet complements the rhythms played by the fourth guitar. The second and third guitars go back and forth with secondary melodies, creating harmonies with the fourth guitar. Fingerings are abundant and clear and place the melodies in higher positions, creating a full and rich tone. The rhythmic patterns are probably the most creative and interesting thing about this quarter piece, and they’re not difficult to play once one “gets the feel” of the syncopations. The title hints at a musically depressing mood, but it is actually more haunting. Although it remains in the key of F# minor, there are a few moments in which the melody creates a sense of hopefulness. It wouldn’t be hard for a quartet with a strong sense of rhythm to put this piece together, and with the staccatos, heavy accent patterns, and contrasting melodies, when played well this could make an effective concert piece.
-Amy Hite (Soundboard Magazine)

QUAND AU MATIN TU T’ÉVEILLES for 4 guitars
by Jean-Marie Raymond
Jean-Marie Raymond is a French classical guitarist, composer, and teacher. This is a melodic quartet piece that would be suitable for an early college-level quartet to play. The second, third, and fourth guitar parts are simple, playing single notes or two-note chords in first position, and generally ail moving contrapuntally. The first guitar plays a steady, romande single-note melody in higher positions. There are two modulations, one brief section with four flats, but it is still not difficult to sight-read with the detailed fingerings that are included. The tempo is moderate. It is written in 6/8 meter and is strongly felt in two beats per measure, but the time signature is marked with both 6/8 and 3/4. The French title refers to one waking in the morning. Overall, this is a fairly simple quarter piece with an attractive melody that would be suitable for late-beginner to intermediate guitar students.
-Amy Hite (Soundboard Magazine)

PARTITANGO for 4 guitars
by Jürg Kindle
For this intriguing quartet, Kindle has cleverly re-imagined the Allegro from Bach’s Partita for violin, BWV 1003, using the thematic materials and many of the specific gestures to create an energetic tango. This works surprisingly well, and the result will be enjoyable bath for those unfamiliar with the Bach and for those who know it well. It is also fun for the players. Such reworking of earlier compositions has a long and (mostly) reputable tradition, including Bach’s own usage of works by Vivaldi. This particular example calls to mind Carlos Perez’s delightfully witty Divertissements sur un thème de Vivaldi (d’OZ publication DZ 811, also for four guitars), which morphs a brief Largo by Vivaldi into a series of South American dances. The PartiTango is not difficult to play, and it could be a real hit with amateur and professional ensembles.
-David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

NUITS ANDALOUSES for guitar and piano
by Erik Marchelie
Combining classical guitar with piano is a challenge, but it can be successful if the composer is ingenious enough. Perhaps the best example is the ravishing Fantasia, Op. 145, by Mario Castelnuovo-­Tedesco. The parts for both instruments must be designed very carefully to give the guitar a part that can work through the greater volume of the piano, and the piano part conceived so as to give the player enough interest but not so thick a texture that it overwhelms the guitar. Marchelie’s Nuits andalouses strikes a very workable balance, integrating the parts with complementary textures and gestures. The piece is in two Andalusian-themed sections: a slow and sensuous “Tranquillo e misterioso” and then a “Vivo” that is reminiscent of the Petenera by Regino Sainz de la Maza in its harmonic structure and in the alternation of 3/4 and 6/8 measures. Both parts are at an intermediate technical level, so this could be used and enjoyed by students as well as professionals, and it would surely be an audience pleaser.
-David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

HABANERA VIEJA for solo guitar
by Fabrice Pierrat
Fabrice Pierrat is in charge of guitar studies at the École Nationale de Musique et de Danse de Cayenne in French Guyana. He has composed numerous solo and chamber works based on South American and Caribbean rhythms. In Habana Vieja he captures an atmosphere of “Old Havana” that is both aromatic and tasty. The piece has enough substance for concert presentation, but it would also serve admirably as an encore or for «gig» use. The difficulty level is intermediate.
-David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

THREE CURIOSITIES for solo guitar
by Nathan Kolosko
Here are three inventive, blues-tinged solos that are fun to play and enjoyable to hear. Asymmetry has an ostinato bass line in alternating measures of 5/8 and 6/8 meter, above which an expressive, free­ flowing melody rides comfortably. The notation for the right-hand harmonies seems inconsistent but can be inferred from the context. Those on the first two pages appear to be written at the pitch to be sounded, while the ones in the last line must sound an octave higher than notated. Similar inconsistencies appear in the other two pieces, but all can be resolved readily. Clown Solace also has frequent changes of meter in the center section, where a melody is developed beneath a treble pedal point. Blue Arabesque is appropriately exode, again featuring an ostinato bass (usually pizzicato) that provides the foundation for passagework in the treble that later becomes the principal melody. Nothing too difficult here, and the results will be rewarding.
-David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

THE AUTOMN SONG for cello and guitar
by Stephen Goss
Most of Stephen Goss’s guitar compositions are known worldwide, and so are his other professional activities: playing, teaching, recording. Among the large number of his pieces commissioned by various artists and institutions, I find this duo piece for violoncello (or flute) and guitar particularly notable. The Autumn Song is a one-breath composition, so to speak, but structured in some seven different segments over a period of nine minutes. More or less all of them are in a medium-slow tempo, and all convey meditative peacefulness, lyricism, and reflectivity. Avery free interpretative approach is required throughout the work. As the composer explains in his program notes, The Autumn Song is inspired by a group of ancient Chinese poems and stories, texts that talk about the parting of lovers, and more specifically about the men who had to serve in the building or guarding of the Great Wall. Goss evokes the melancholic feelings of loss, heightened by the fact that neither male nor female partners knew if their separation would be temporary or permanent. Sometimes in this piece both instruments exhibit nearly complete independence. The guitar part is mostly based on broken chords and the resultant sonorities achieved through the overlapping sounds of many different strings. The Autumn Song is quite a complex composition but serves performers well; both its instrumental parts are notated clearly and all important performance indications are provided. Besides the full score, the edition also includes separate cello and flute parts.
-Uros Dojcinovic (Soundboard Magazine)

EX-LIBRIS for solo guitar
by Gloria Villanueva
This is a shorter solo guitar piece in D major, written by Spanish composer and psychologist Gloria Villanueva. Born in Barcelona, Villanueva studied both piano and guitar, and later combined her professional activities as a psychotherapist with the field of music. Her other compositions include solo and chamber works, an original guitar method, a collection of guitar studies, and a guitar concerto. EX-Libris starts with four slow measures, followed by a faster section connstructed of arpeggios, with the highest voice as the melody. This idea for the form is twice repeated, after which the music ends again in a more tranquil mood. It is a pleasant, lyrical piece, not difficult to play, and suitable for any concert program.
-Uros Dojcinovic (Soundboard Magazine)

AFFALAE E MARÉ for 4 guitars
by Joao Luiz
Alfaia e Maré consists of 10 pages plus parts. Guitar Four is tuned to 6=C, and opens with a compelling rhythmic bass line. Then things take a sudden turn: The music moves into 5/8 time and Guitar One is at fret 19 with quick passages across the strings. We return to 4/4 and to energetic rhythm patterns played loudly. Many of the opening passages are repeated, and the writing is rhythmic and harmonically adventurous. The texture evolves with staccato chords and a solo woven from triplets. A center section with harmonies and a recitative quality leads into a pianis­simo reprise of the opening bassline before a fiery ending on the last 16th note of the bar. It looks at first sight like more is to come, but no, the piece finishes on a stac­cato note right at the end of measure. This piece requires a competent ensemble, but there is nothing that looks unfamiliar to a good player.
(Soundboard Magazine)

KIRSTEN for 4 guitars
by Joao Luiz
Kirsten has three guitars tuned to 6=D and the fourth to 6=C. The strongly rhythmic opening is almost fugal in its writing, with one short but distinctive rhythm entering after another. There are three-note chords in some lines, and these are not so much diffi­cult as they are awkward, as they frequently contain flat notes. With a lyrical feel and the occasional triplet, this music has an improvisatory character. The “moderato” section is more complex, with chords that seem unfamiliar, but the rhythm is not hard and the sound is big and rich. Guitar Two has a solo set over unusual but spacious chords before the ensemble thickens again. I am not sure that a bass note is going to last for 17 beats, but there are tricks an ensemble can use to create the illusion that it does. There is a charming ending with chords in 3+3+2 rhythm, supporting an arpeggio of harmonies. The piece fades away to nothing.
(Soundboard Magazine)

LES 4 SAISONS DU CHÔRO for solo guitar
by Jean-Maurice Mourat
One of the most fetching characteristics of much Brazilian music the sense that it flows so easily and naturally, as in many of the charming compositions of Joao Guimarâes. In these “Four Seasons of chôro,” Mourat adopts the same deceptively simple style, giving the guitarist an opportunity to play music that is quite a bit easier than it sounds - always a desirable quality.
-David Grimes (Soundboard Magazine)

PULSAR for solo guitar
by Vincent Lindsey-Clark
The relentless, throbbing bass notes are perhaps the principle behind the title of this very pleasant piece. It begins with a lovely, phrygian-influenced, popular-sounding theme. The rising and falling, even hypnotic, diatonic main motive in sixteenth notes is punctuated by eighth notes at the end of the first couple of phrases, establishing the mood of the music. The theme moves to the bass, below repeated chords, and just when you think the music is predictable, it begins to shift rhythmically as well as harmonically. After hinting at a key change a couple of times, it finally does move from B minor to A minor in measure 30 and returns home after twelve measures. Pulsar is about three-and-a-half minutes long and ideal as an encore piece.
-Michael Brennan (Soundboard Magazine)