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ProduitsPartitions pour guitareGuitare seuleThe Complete Works for Solo Guitar

The Complete Works for Solo Guitar

The Complete Works for Solo Guitar

Compositeur: BACON Ernst

Arrangeur: COLTEN Bradley

DZ 2550


ISBN: 978-2-89737-467-9 

Guitare seule

60 p.


Concerning Edits

In November 2012, I had the great pleasure of visiting with Joe Bacon in his studio atop a leafy hill in Fairfax, CA and discussing these works and his dad. I played through the entire repertoire for Joe. He and I named the few pieces without titles. And, he granted me the right to judge freely and think deeply about the works, to record the repertoire, and to create the following editions. In many ways, this publication is the fruit of many years of study, research and editing, but also the direct result of my day with Joe at his home.

Realizing this repertoire was, at times, a daunting task. As Ernst Bacon aged, his vision began to fail and his handwriting deteriorated. With many of the manuscripts dating from his later years, they tended to be laborious documents to decode. Additionally, several of the guitar works were left unpolished in regard to editing and notation; whited-out measures, missing details, and many notes and chords were hard to decipher. Another issue was that Bacon was not a guitarist and did not have a complete understanding of the instrument. Several works contain passages that, as written, simply don’t work on the guitar. 

Far and away, the most challenging issue with these manuscripts concerned Bacon’s indications of register. Discerning Bacon’s intent in regard to register was, at times, a dizzying endeavor. Often, it is unclear whether Bacon considered that the guitar sounds an octave lower than written. In fact, it seems that at various points in the same score, Bacon assumed both concert pitch and guitar transposition. Further, Bacon frequently, irregularly and at times concurrently employed 8va, 8vb, loco, treble and bass clefs – all to indicate a desired octave.

I have done my best to keep track of all these competing indicators and discern Bacon’s intent. At times, when multiple indications are at use and there is doubt as to whether Bacon has kept in mind the guitar’s natural transposition, I have used my judgement to conclude the correct register. There are other times that I have had to dismiss Bacon’s (unclear) intent so that the phrase/passage/section might work in context and on the guitar. These, like all the editorial changes, are notated as completely as possible in the Editing Details section.

In many ways, my task as editor has been to come to understand Bacon’s style, inclinations, and voice as a composer and use that understanding to decode, reconstruct, and adjust his manuscripts wherever they proved impossible to perform, were ambiguous or lacked detail. I took this responsibility very seriously. Throughout the process, my self-imposed directive was always to leave as small a footprint as possible, so that the resulting, fully-realized scores were completely Bacon’s. Nevertheless, there were – for almost all the pieces – needed adjustments and edits. 

Save for a few instances, what the reader won’t find in these edited scores are fingerings and editorial performance markings. I have worked to maintain a distance between my relationship to the scores as a performer and as an editor. That said, there are a few spots where fingerings have been included to aid with a particularly thorny obstacle or to make clear a specific musical intention.

In short, the scores presented here are truly Bacon’s. While my recording and personal copies of this music are altered and nuanced – with added dynamics, phrase markings, articulations and other details – these markings are not contained here. Of course, I think I “got it right” with my markings and fingerings, but I know well that mine is but one opinion of many possibilities. I hope that each performer will find his/her own solutions. I believe that the repertoire will be stronger for the variety.

A word of caution: Several of these works contain passages that are both texturally dense and highly chromatic. The reader would be wise to meticulously inspect each measure for accidentals and take care to account for them throughout the entire bar. There are more than a few measures that are long, dense and contain notes affected by accidentals that are not nearby, but notated much earlier in the bar.

Finally, I would direct any interested reader to my dissertation for an in-depth inspection of this repertoire, my editing work and the composer’s import. The Guitar Works of Ernst Bacon is available through Manhattan School of Music. My recording of these works on the Azica Records label is widely available online.


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