Recensies

La Guitarra Ostinata – dedicated to Philip Glass

LA GUITARRA OSTINATA laguitarraostinata3

Eugene Den Hoed

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna 0115, 10 pp.

Philip Glass inspired this work of interesting patterns and shifting complexities 

 

This man’s music is never boring, but instead is always inventive, with plenty of wonderful musical ideas, and as he is so prolific, it is surprising that more people haven’t taken his pieces into the concert hall.

This latest one-movement work has a dedication to Philip Glass, and it is immediately apparent that Hoed has styled the work on some of Glass’ musical ideas. The piece has two entirely different sections, the first being a group of six eighth notes that you repeat three more times, before a new six-note pattern, which is played four times, and so on. The patterns themselves are almost hypnotic in nature, and usually bob around in an almost random fashion, with lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs in the middle to make this a harder piece to play than it at first appears (especially at the required speed of 152 quarter notes per minute).

To give you an idea, there are 24 patterns of six notes in the opening section, all slightly different from one another. Then, a sudden pause and a long-breathed chordal larghetto enters, with much use being made of slightly exotic and unexpected chords. After this temporary respite, the six-note repeating figures continue for another 24 different patterns before a final return to the larghetto, this time slightly embellished from the previous version. After a final 8 bars of six-note arpeggios, the piece is over.

This piece is certainly not easy but moderately advanced players will be able to cope with its ever shifting complexities. I found it entertaining and great for getting my fingers moving!

-Chris Dumigan, Classical Guitar Magazine

Guitaristic Scenes part two

GUITARISTIC SCENES: part two guitaristic scenes part 2 bewerkt
Eugene Den Hoed

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna 0115 28 pp.

First-rate music that is exceedingly playable, always entertaining

Over the years I have seen a substantial amount of this wonderful composer’s
guitar music. Unlike many of his peers, he is completely successful writing very easy material (which is actually surprisingly difficult), intermediate pieces, and very difficult ones. Remarkably, I never feel that he sacrifices his musical ethics writing easy material, and he always retains an individual style that is complet-ly recognizable from the outset.

This latest book consists of ten moderately difficult pieces subtitled “Impressions for Guitar in Different Styles.” It’s difficult to describe his way of writing. It often uses almost modal harmonies, with a penchant for open strings mixed in very naturally with fretted notes in a way that makes it slightly unusual, but perfectly acceptable and pleasant harmonically speaking. You never really know exactly where the harmonies are going to land, and the surprise factor is often quite high. So, “Rondo” is marked con moto in a natural mix of three and four beats in a bar, with plenty of hammer-0ns in an almost folk-like way. Then there is “Another Point of View,” in 8/8—grouped usually, but not always in a 3 +2 + 3 way—marked animato, which really keeps you guessing. There’s a brooding andante titled “Maquiaria” and the perhaps jazz-influenced “In a Mellow Taste,” plus many more.

This man’s music is unfailingly first-rate, exceedingly playable, always entertaining, and gets your musical muscles working on high alert throughout. If you’re not familiar with him, take my word for it and give him a try—you won’t be disappointed!

-Chris Dumigan, Classical Guitar Magazine

Suite in D Minor – Robert de Visée

SUITE IN D MINOR 

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Robert de Visée (Arr. by Eugène den Hoed)

Iduna 0102 17 pp.

An old favorite that deserves a revival.

Karl Scheit (1909-1993) often found himself in the firing line. In the May 1955 edition of BMG, Jack Duarte (as he was then known) published a review of Scheit’s London recital from the March of that year. Even by Duarte’s outspoken standards, the criticism was unusually blistering. Over the next two decades, as Scheit’s published editions became ever more abundant, there was much harrumphing over such eccentricities as his penchant for adding slurs to transcriptions of 16th-century lute music. (I referred to this myself as recently as the October 2014 Classical Guitar.) Then there were Scheit’s fingerings, which gave every impression of having been devised by someone unfamiliar with the workings of the human hand.

But let it also be noted that Scheit’s arrangement of the Visée’s Suite in D minor, which clearly formed the unacknowledged basis for the 1966 Bream recording, is dated 1944. This almost places Scheit on a chronological par with Emilio Pujol as a pioneering figure in the rediscovery of the modern guitar’s hitherto neglected forebears.

Scheit is again denied a credit in this curiously bound publication dating back to 2011 since the very fact that Eugene den Hoed uses Scheit’s revised order of movements and, like Scheit, skips the “Passacaille” altogether, leaves no doubt as to his source. Essentially, what this Netherlands-based guitarist/arranger provides is jazzed-up Scheit, followed by his own highly elaborate embellishments written out in full in the repeats. If memory serves, Leo Brouwer performed a similarly ornate Suite in D minor during a BBC broadcast in the late ’70s.

Eugene den Hoed’s efforts succeed, in that his trills and twiddles, although often tricky, are always playable and, unlike Scheit, his fingerings actually work. For reasons known only to him, he adds Italian tempo markings (but not metronome speeds) to all the movements, including the “Prelude.” This is an offense of which Scheit was sometimes guilty but, ironically, not in Suite in D minor. A pleasingly individualistic take on an old favorite that deserves a revival.

Sonatas Arranged for Two Guitars part two

SONATAS ARRANGED FOR TWO GUITARS, PT. II Sonatas_Arranged_for_two_guitars_Part_Two

Domenico Scarlatti (arr. By Eugene Den Hoed)

Musiekuitgeverij Iduna V.O.F. 42 pp (score only)

A chance to show your facility around the fingerboard

Back in May 2014, I reviewed a book of Den Hoed’s two-guitar arrangements of some Scarlatti sonatas, and here is Part Two, with a further eight from the 550. As with the previous book, it is a score-on-ly edition, and if the book has a fault it is that there are page turns in every piece. But that is the only caveat, for as with all this Dutch writer’s work, one finds great music beautifully arranged in a very guitaristic manner, so nothing feels arti-ficial, but rather natural as if originally written for two guitars.

In this collection, you’ll find Scarlatti’s K1/L366, K472/L99, K233/L467, K159/L104, K11/L352, K377/L263, K69/ L382 and K533/L395. Six are in the orig-inal keys, with only K11 dropping from G minor to E minor, and K69 dropping a semitone from F minor to E minor, for guitaristic convenience. The musical styles within the eight are varied, with much opportunity to show your facili-ty around the fingerboard, and plenty of places where the cantabile nature of the music is ideally suited to the guitar.

All in all, it’s another fabulous book of wonderful pieces, superbly arranged for two guitars, and providing you have the necessary facility around the frets (and that is nearly all of them!) you will certainly enjoy this fine book, as will any audience you present them to.

-Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine

Guitaristic Scenes Part One

guitaristic scenes part 1 bewerktGUITARISTIC SCENES PART ONE

by Eugene Den Hoed

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna. 28pp.

The music of this composer is always interesting, engrossing and wonderfully written for the guitar. This book is no exception and consists of eleven pieces of modest difficulty and is sub-titled ‘impressions for guitar in different styles’.

His eclectic music heralds, no doubt, from the fact that he has been immersed in both popular and classical all his life and the crossover crossover effect of much of his music is surely the result.

It begins with Malaya, in a mixture of 6/8 and 9/8 with an open, almost modal sound that is almost impossible to describe. The music effortless-ly moves around, occasionally reminding one of folk guitarists and their music. Small Talk follows with a melody that stays with you and a certain flow that is a result of the wonderful guitar writing he achieves. A Minor Blue is lots of fun and is (obvi ously) bluesy in character but not to the extent that it is a 12-bar, being more the overall feel of the piece that creates the sound of the blues, whilst Dolly’s Waltz is delightfully bizarre, with its reliance on intervals of a second, to mimic the static or wooden doll trying to dance a waltz.

Every one of the eleven pieces is really worth playing. I have a number of books from this composer and I have yet to find a dud in any of them. Great stuff!

Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine

8 Sonatas

duodef200x2768 SONATAS 

by Domenico Scarlatti, for 2 guitars

Arranged by Eugène Den Hoed

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna. 44pp (score only)

For the scholars amongst you the Longo numbers of the eight are 15,103,187,188,343,388,413 and 428. It is a source of amazement to me how often the Baroque period’s music fits so well on guitars, and there have been many previous instances of publications also cherry picking from Scarlatti’s vast oeuvre.

This latest book is no exception as all eight feel like guitar works and fit very well under the fingers and exhibit a wide contrast in style and feel; from the movingly harmonised L187 an Andante Cantabile (here in E minor) to the rip-roaring Vivace that is L188 (here in F major).

It is churlish to pick out any individual pieces here, as they are all superbly transformed onto the two guitars; and yes, they are difficult to play with the right amount of speed and finesse but with more than a little effort are definitely worth it. Highly recommended.

Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine

Aria con Variazioni Detta ‘La Frescobalda’ by Frescobaldi

Girolamo_Frescobaldi

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

Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses_for_Guitar

METAMORPHOSES

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna VOF. 11pp. + CD

Here are, to quote its subtitle, ‘Four Movements in a moderate contemporary style for grades 4 to 5’. It begins with an andante e poco rubato declamatory phrase, destined to return later. It is set around a centre of E, whilst not actually being in E minor, if you understand me, although at times it feels like E minor. The part-writing style enables the composer to flow through some rather unusual ideas whilst still feeling admirably suited to the guitar. The first movement is generally in three voices.

Part Two is a piu mosso and the chromatic nature of much of the material makes it seem almost like a veriation of Part One, which I am almost convinced it is! Again this is largely in three voices. The hardest movement is Part Three, marked again, piu mosso but this time exhibiting much more complexity in its thythms. A sudden slowing down leads to the opening movement’s declamatory motto theme before an attacca instruction leads one into the final Part Four, where the first slow section marked lento ma non troppo occurs. This however soon leads to a Dal Segno, taking one back to the beginning of Part Three for another turn around the hardest section, before a trip to the coda, where one is met by the motto once more. A final thrusting flourish from Part Three and the work closes on an altered E minor chord.

This is always very playable, if at times unusual, in its harmonic structures but nevertheless always understandable and involving. This is a more than interesting work that shows how versatily this composer is and just how good his back catalogue is. If you do not know of this man’s writings, have a look at his publisher’s website at www.iduna-deurne.nl and take a chance on some – they are well worth the effort.

Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine

Simple Fun – 16 easy pieces for guitar

simplefun

SIMPLE FUN – 16 EASY PIECES FOR GUITAR

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna VOF. 22pp. + CD

This little set is aimed right at Grades 2/3 and show of Eugene Den Hoed’s fine ability to write interesting music mostly in the first position. There are no tempo markings, as he prefers to leave that to the player’s own taste and technical abilities.

The pieces themselves are varied, melodic, and often with a tinge of modernity, just to remind you that this is contemporary music. They are printed in increasing difficulty with the opening few pieces mostly in two or three voices at the most and the final two or three involving some chords and slightly more densely written harmonies.

That said, they are all eminently suited to the pupil who wants to try something a little different but not too much so, and as such I can heartily recommend this fine book as definitely one to hunt out.

Chris Dumigan – Classical Guitar Magazine

Music for Flute or Violin and Guitar

fernando_sor

MUSIC FOR FLUTE OR VIOLIN AND GUITAR 

by Fernando Sor 

Arranged by Eugène den Hoed.

Muziekuitgeverij Iduna VOF 32pp.

The  title is a little misleading in that it gives the impression that here is a collection of music originally for this instrumentation. In fact all these pieces were originally guitar solos and have been arranged as duets by Eugène den Hoed.

The originals are from opus 2, 31, 33, 35 and Sor’s ‘Method’ and quite a few should be known to the Intermediate player. Eugene den Hoed has kept the technical level to around Grades 3-4 and as most of these pieces are of a highly lyrical nature, this publication could be of interest to ‘amateur’ duos and teachers (for sight-reading material). The publication comes as score-only but the album contains no page turns and can easily be read by two players sharing a music stand.

Steve Marsh – Classical Guitar Magazine