Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rebay's chamber cycle for guitar and Hindemith's chamber cycle

Having spent quite a bit of time writing this week about chamber music, most obviously the works of Ferdinand Rebay, I would like to write more.  But, of course, there's something to be said for any given week having its weekend.  I've written thousands of words about the music of Rebay and provided a pretty lengthy discussion of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Fantasia for piano and guitar.  I've written about all of Rebay's sonatas for oboe and guitar and for clarinet and guitar (that I now of). That's a lot of writing. 

So by now I think I can safely reserve writing about the quartets of Rebay or, say, Castelnuovo-Tedesco's song cycle for soprano and guitar on the Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra for later. One can't always do everything one planned but covering most of what I intended to write about should count for something. Now I'd like to propose a pet idea I've been considering throughout this week about Rebay's big cycle of chamber music for the guitar.

This may seem like an astonishing comparison but Rebay's approach to his chamber works for guitar in a way similar to Paul Hindemith's approach to his chamber sonata cycle, you really can't grasp the flow of the musical process without constantly having both parts of the duo in mind. I make this comparison as well because Rebay's cycle of chamber works for the guitar, the more we get to see of it, looks as though it may play a role in the chamber repertoire for the guitar not unlike that of Hindemith's giant cycle of chamber sonatas for the piano. Though Rebay could hardly be said to be as daring in the 1920s as Hindemith was being I'm willing to run with this admittedly oblique comparison.

Rebay, as liner notes by Johann Gaitzch and Javier Suarez-Pajares indicate anyway, in the first issue of Osterreichische Guitarre-Zeitschrift in 1926 that he came to find the guitar made for a more pleasing accompaniment to woodwind instruments than the piano. The more we have guitarists and musicologists bringing Rebay's music back from obscurity the more it could be said, at least tentatively and at this point, that it would seem Rebay's chamber music for guitar could at least be compared to Hindemith's monumental cycle of duo sonatas.  Perhaps further Rebay's work could be considered a contribution to chamber music for the guitar that may prove to completely go beyond what any single composer in the history of the instrument has created. So perhaps a Hindemith comparison is merely that, an analogy that won't ultimately do justice to what the significance of Rebay's contribution to chamber music for the guitar may prove to be. 

Now that I've been blogging about other people's chamber music for guitar all week (for the most part) I might have to remember that I've got a number of chamber works I'm working on.  There's a sonata for tuba and guitar; a trio for clarinet, guitar and bassoon; a sonata for violin and guitar; considerations for new movements for a sonata for trumpet and guitar; and some string quartets.

So I hope you've enjoyed my first, and probably not last Chamber Music Week here at Wenatchee The Hatchet. Have a pleasant weekend and we'll see what I end up blogging about next week.

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