The Pune Guitar Society(PGS) presented a concert of guitar and piano music at the Mazda Hall in March 2017. This was the first concert in a series of three concerts planned this year by the PGS and showcased some important solo works from Spain and Latin America written for the guitar and the piano. The second concert, which will be presented at the Gyaan Adab Centre on Aug 19th, 2017, will focus primarily on solo guitar repertoire from early 19th century to late 20th century and will feature music from Italy, Spain, Cuba and Latin America.
The guitar repertoire till the end of the 18th century was not comparable in scale, complexity and structure to the repertoire of other western orchestral instruments such as the piano, violin etc. The period spanning the19th and 20th centuries is undoubtedly the most important period in the development of classical guitar repertoire. It is during this period that we see the guitar truly coming to life in terms of its very sound as well as the music written for it. The August concert program will represent a variety of styles and influences focussing on some of the most important works in this period with more focus on works from the 20th century.
With these three concerts, the Pune Guitar Society would like to underline and highlight the low representation of Spanish and Latin American music in our overall musical consciousness. A lot of great music has come out of these regions and continues to do so. The PGS will continue its efforts to bring this great musical treasure to audiences.
Concert at Gyaan Adab Centre – A brief overview of the concert programme in historical timeline
The 19th century
We start the recital with a great work by the Italian guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani, followed by some greatly influential Spanish music by Francisco Tarrega and Isaac Albeniz.
The Grand Overture by Giuliani was written in 1810. Traditionally, an Overture was written as an introductory piece for an opera. It was supposed to create excitement or curiosity for what was to come. But composers started writing overtures which could stand alone as compositions without any necessary connect to a larger work. Giuliani’s work is in that vein and is a masterwork which has stood the test of time and finds numerous concert performers giving it life even today.
We continue with three major works from the late 19th century by two great Spanish composers, Isaac Albeniz and Francisco Tarrega. These works are representative of the so-called ‘nationalistic’ style prevalent in the late 19th century.
Tarrega’s Capriccio Arabe (1892) is one of the most popular pieces in the classical guitar repertoire and is a beautiful mixture of castellan, moorish and european influences.
Albeniz’s Mallorca (1890) was originally written for the piano but lends itself beautifully on the guitar. It is a lament to the island of Mallorca where Albeniz spent some time of his life. Capricho Catalan, again by Albeniz, has a beautiful melody with a dance-like ostinato (a repeating musical motif) pattern throughout the piece.
Early 20th century
We come to the early 20th century with music by some of the most important and prolific guitar composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos (Brazil), Agustin Barrios Mangore (Paraguay), Federico Moreno Torroba (Spain).
We present two pieces by Villa-Lobos, the Mazurka Choro and the Prelude No.2.Villa-Lobos combines elements from the Mazurka (a Polish dance form) with the Choro music form from Brazil. The Prelude no.2 is a dedication to the traditional Capoeira dance form and is a part of a collection of pieces, each dedicated to a particular type of music which was dear to Villa-Lobos.
Julia Florida is a beautiful Barcarolle (a boat song) dedicated to Julia Martinez, a girl who was a student of Barrios and perhaps Barrios was quite enamoured with her. The piece has a beautiful melody but also has contrasting sections demonstrating Barrios’s total command over the instrument.
Romance de Los Pinos, a short piece by Spanish composer Federico Torroba, is part of a collection of pieces called Castles of Spain. Torroba, a major Spanish operatic composer, was encouraged by Andres Segovia to write for the guitar and thereafter ensued many works by him for the guitar; all of them heavily influenced by Spanish traditional music.
Late 20th century
The late 20th century has been an extremely vibrant period for the classical guitar. In the late 20th century section, we present music by Leo Brouwer (Cuba), Sergio Assad (Brazil) and a lesser known, but nonetheless important guitar composer Jorge Cardoso (Argentina).
Milonga, a composition by Cardoso, is based on a musical form by the same name from Argentina/Uruguay. The traditional Milonga is said to have originated from the Habanera (a Cuban dance) and the Argentinian Tango. The piece has a lilting rhythm and exquisitely constructed.
Sandy’s Portrait by Assad, is dedicated to Sandy Bolton, a great patron and supporter of activities related to the guitar at the University of Arizona. The Toccata, which is the third movement from the piece, is a guitar showpiece, highlighting technical virtuosity as well as traditional Brazilian rhythmic complexity.
Cuban Landscape with Sadness by Brouwer is a sombre and sparse composition which draws attention to the unnecessary deaths and strife that have affected Cuba due to economic sanctions. The musical devices employed move seamlessly between poignant melodic fragments and bleak, almost-dissonant arpeggiated chords.
The third concert – A tribute to the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer
The third concert in 2017, planned to take place at the Mazda Hall in Pune on October 6 (with support from the Poona Music Society), is dedicated to the works of Maestro Leo Brouwer and commemorates the Cuban composer’s pre-eminent position in the guitar repertoire. The concert will feature solo pieces as well as concerti by Maestro Brouwer. The concerti are presented as piano reduction accompaniments.
Venue : Gyaan Adab Centre, Pune
Date : 19th August, 2017
Time : 7 PM