This second volume in the 3-part series of Easy Studies for Guitar (the first was released in December 2016, BC95402) continues to focus on lesser-known modern compositions that lend themselves to teaching the guitar. The aim of the series is to further awareness and understanding of musical idioms that do not necessarily reflect traditional preconceptions of classical harmony. The selection by Cristiano Porqueddu was determined by a number of features: music without a strong sense of tonality; a wide range of timbre; and a polyphonic conception of the instrument.
Volume 2 begins with the second collection of 12 Easy Pieces for Guitar by the Polish composer, Alexandre Tansman – the first collection having been included within Volume 1. These delightful, elegant studies reveal meticulous construction and a certain constancy of form that speak for the composer’s inventive skill. Stephen Dodgson (1924-2013) wrote works for the guitar that attracted the attention of outstanding performers such as Julian Bream and John Williams: these Transitional Studies call for more advanced skill than the other works on the album.
Unlike the other works here, the limpid collection of Ten Progressive Studies by the Italian guitarist and composer Franco Cavallone (1957) does not aim at improving technique, but at helping the player master control of sound and colour. The Hungarian composer Iván Patachich (1922-1993) wrote two collections of Gyermekdalok gitárra (Children’s Songs for Guitar) published in 1978, a series of fresh, original vignettes that belie the composer’s remarkable technical skill and elegance.
The music of Manuel Ponce is better known than any of the previous composers: he wrote the Six Short Preludes for Juanita, the young daughter of the Mexican composer Carlos Chávez, shortly after she had begun to study the guitar. Nonetheless, in simplifying his idiom Ponce managed not to drain his music of its vivacity: the result is music that guitarists of all abilities will take pleasure from.
This second volume in the 3-part series of “Easy Studies for Guitar” continues to focus on lesser-known original compositions for the guitar of the 20th and 21st century that lend themselves to teaching purposes. The aim is to develop the awareness of musical styles and structures beyond the restrictions of Classical Music, in terms of harmony, rhythm and a wide range of timbres.
Included are works by Alexandre Tansman, Stephen Dodgson, Franco Cavallone, Ivan Patachich and Manuel Ponce. In its small scale the music is utterly charming, entertaining and innovative, a joy for both guitar amateur and music lover.
Cristiano Porqueddu is one of today’s foremost guitarists. Critics call him “A reference point for a new generation of musicians”. His recent Carnegie Hall recital was a triumph: “he has the vision and fortitude to forge a new and substantial path by discovering, recording and performing great works that have been largely ignored” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle). His Brilliant classics discography is substantial and impressive and includes works by Barrios, Sor, Gilardino, and many others.