Sunday, August 06, 2017

briefly noted, the half dozen cycles of preludes and fugues for solo guitar that have been composed that can be documented in some fashion

It turns out there's a half dozen cycles of preludes and fugues for solo guitar that have been composed.  Nikita Koshkin's is the most recently published and I still plan to blog about the cycle but in digging through online resources and researching for a more general overview of polyphonic music for solo guitar I learned that there's more than the Nikita Koshkin and Igor Rekhin cycles, though those are the two that have been formally published. Rekhin's cycle has not been recorded in full but you can get at least half of it in audio file format over here.

There's a cycle by German Dzhaparidze, for instance, which has been  recorded in its entirety by Esteban Colluci.  I've been listening to that cycle a LOT in the last month.

Samples can be heard as follows:
C minor
I think this one's actually G flat major on the basis of it being prelude and fugue No. 13.
G sharp minor

Having gotten the Colluci recording and also having received a copy of the score I'm just going to be very straightforward and say that Dzhaparidze's cycle is an excellent set of preludes and fugues that I really hope a publisher chooses to get behind and publish.  I mean to write more about these cycles of preludes and fugues later this year but life in the offline world has been of a sort where blogging's just not as easily done as it used to be. Some of that is the nature of work, some of it's the nature of time, some of it's the nature of composing and trying to perform music.  You can't drop thousands of words on the internet quoting Leonard B. Meyer, George Rochberg and theoretical writings about the syntactic scripts of sonatas as applicable to ragtime without it involving a ton of reading that slows down blogging activity.  In this case those delays have been beneficial because it's given me a chance to remember a number of contrapuntal cycles composed for the guitar, and I wanted to take some time to line them all up in a easily referenced list. 

There's a cycle by Gerard Drozd, of which there's one excerpt, the prelude and fugue in E major performed by Dimitri Illarionov over here.

While the Drozd cycle has an op. 86 appended to it, this cycle of 24 preludes and fugues and guitar doesn't manage to come up in online search engine results, which is a shame because if it's been officially and formally published I'd like to get the score for study.

There's a cycle of preludes and fugues composed by Philip Quackenbush.  I haven't had a chance to hear any of the works but I got to meet the composer a few years ago and see a couple of the pieces.  Quackenbush is a guitarist composer in the Puget Sound area. 

Finally there's some other guitarist composer who has written a set of preludes and fugues for solo guitar and the cycle is recorded in its entirety but in its duet form.  After getting advice that the solo cycle was promising but far more likely to get played if it were arranged to also exist as a set of duets somebody decided to take that advice.  So ... there's a volume 1 and a volume 2.  For folks who still use iTunes volume 1 and volume 2 are over there, too.

It may be an irony of the era of music as an industry in our era that the two contrapuntal cycles written for solo guitar that have been published are, as yet, not recorded in their entirety; meanwhile, the two contrapuntal cycles composed for the guitar that have been recorded in their entireties are not officially published, at least not through the traditional publishing industry platforms.  That might indicate the rarified niche that is classical guitar; it might indicate that the industry has reached a point where traditional publishing of scores confers an official role in the history of published music on the one hand, while on the other hand, recording technology has reached a point where musicians can record works and distribute them much faster than traditional publishing can bring those works to the public.

My hope is that all of the mentioned cycles can be both published (if they aren't already) and also recorded in some fashion.  Not that wishing makes it so but it's nice to learn that I'm not the only guitarist composer who has concluded that contrapuntal music for solo guitar is not only practical and possible but also desirable to compose.  '

Should anyone have publishing information about the Drozd cycle by all means swing by with a comment.  Comments are still automatically in moderation thanks to a long history of this blog being associated with other topics but things have settled down to a point where if you want to comment about music and arts stuff you're more than welcome to. 

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