ARIA CON VARIAZIONI DETTA ‘LA FRESCOBALDA’
by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Arranged for guitar by Eugène den Hoed
Muziekuitgeverij Iduna Iduna VOF. 10pp.
This famous piece is the one that Segovia arranged many moons ago, and that was subsequently published in the Schott Archives. I haven’t got access to that version now but if my memory serves me, I seem to remember that Segovia didn’t do the whole piece but left the final part out, for whatever reason.
This version consists of the Aria with four highly contrasting variations followed by a varied return to the Aria as a close, and immediately one feels that the work is well adapted to the guitar, and doesn’t at all feel it was written for anything else, which it of course was, that being the sign of a good arranger.
The Aria is Moderato with mostly three voices in evidence, although the odd larger chord does enter from time to time. The First Variation is marked piu mosso and the musical parts move around considerably more here. The Second Variation is an allegro and things get quite tricky here although never losing their inherent guitaristic qualities. No. 3 is marked sostenuto and here there is more opportunity to show a more emotive side to the piece, whilst the final 4th variation is an allegretto. The final Aria repeat is varied from the original at the beginning, and the whole work closes on a florid cadence leading to a close on the tonic major.
This is a beautiful work that belies its non-guitaristic origins and succeeds in sounding fresh and original, and if the music of the 1600s appeals then this book will be fine for the moderately advanced players among you.
Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine