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ProduitsPartitions pour guitare4 guitaresTheme and variations, opus 18

Theme and variations, opus 18

Theme and variations, opus 18

Compositeur: BRAHMS J.

Arrangeur: SPARKS Jeremy

DO 718


ISBN: 978-2-89503-494-0

4 guitares

32 p. + parties séparées
Les Éditions Doberman-Yppan


This is Brahms’s Op. 18 for string sextet, and is set in the key of the original, D minor, with two guitars tuned down. We have two forces missing, though the guitar arrangement is not necessarily the worse for it, as the opening enjoys some lovely arpeggtated chords, many of which are low on the neck and pleasingly comfortable. Indeed, the opening fits the guitar well, with the rolled chords, gentle melody and inspired progressions. Four guitars can clearly do. the job of six strings here. But this is a theme and variations, and although the variations are not marked on the.copy, which plays as a single movement, the complexity is ratcheted up remorselessly.
The initial variations still fit the guitar well, and the arpeggtatton of the original string realisation is a little easier because the guitar is tuned in fourths rather than the fifths of the violin family.
The rapid triplet three-note chords are much harder to present. There are over five repetitions a second and keeping the momentum while sounding dolce is demanding. There is a faster variation yet, which sees Guitars One, Two and (for one bar) Guitar Four producing seven notes a second through myriad keys, sharps and flats.
At first, I queried giving Guitar Four this tiny burst of speed as the music had until now been less demanding on that part, but in the next variation, guitar four’s complexity ramps up with artificial harmonics, and soon after, switching between pizzicato and normal plucking several times in a bar. So Guitar Four isn’t a hiding place for the weakest player!
So, what level of complexity is this piece? Broadly Grade 8, and pretty much the same across all the parts.
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)

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