These pieces were a lovely surprise for me offering more detail and interest than I had expected and really bringing the shapes, texture and style of the Classical period to the guitar. Guitar Solo. By Anton Diabelli. Arranged by Anton Stingl. This edition 36 pages. Published by Schott Music.
These pieces were a lovely surprise for me offering more detail and interest than I had expected and really bringing the shapes, texture and style of the Classical period to the guitar.
Simply put, the music is full of life, spirit, movement, drama and fun! It fits beautifully under the fingers but also challenges the player with detailed articulation and dynamics, as well as polyphonic writing that requires the guitarist to balance melodies in different voices rather than the simpler melody accompaniment style.
Sonata no.1 in C has a strong clear opening with great direction in the melody. As I mentioned before articulation and dynamic markings are very specific, for example the distinction between a staccato dot and a tenuto or emphasis line, and chromatic movement in thirds really pushes the music along. The middle, minor section uses double octaves to create drama and volume, contrasting with pianissimo thirds and creating an orchestral feel and texture.
The second movement has a delicate and refined character using wide intervals, articulation and silences to great effect. In the Menuet and Trio (grade 6) I particularly like the simple rising melodic motif punctuated with staccato chords and the brilliant ‘leaning’ notes across the bar lines creating lots of interest but quite simple to play. The final Rondo bubbles along in semiquavers with lots of contrast in articulation and rhythm, a great minor section employing restless syncopated chords and a truly orchestral ending.
Sonata no.2 in A is more detailed and complex. The Allegro risoluto has a powerful opening using dotted rhythms and big chords. The dotted passages feature through the movement with lots of contrast, movement between voices and great use of rests and space in the music. The Adagio is based on pianissimo chords and arpeggio decorations, requiring a sense of poise I think and lots of listening to shape the music through the harmony.
The Menuet and Trio (grade 8) is packed full of character and humour from the pompous opening bass to the bell ringing campanella effect, dramatic octaves and chromatic thirds. The final Rondo has a very charming, simple and delicate melody, rising smoothly then falling punctuated by rests. There is so much story telling going on in this music and there is always something to do! In many ways it is just like lots of people talking, different subjects coming up, surprises and colours of voices. This last movement is quite complex to look at but will give you hours of fun playing and listening to the musical theatre.
Sonata no.3 in F is again very strong and dramatic at the opening and moves on with lots of contrast in the rhythms moving quickly between semiquavers and triplet quavers, syncopated chords and, again excellent articulation and punctuation. I particularly liked the little demisemiquaver birdsong motif! Overall the music is very free flowing with octave and interval passages and plenty of detail in the voicing. The Andante (grade 7) is quite simple compared to some of the other movements, concentrating instead on highlighting a beautiful, singing melody along with some lovely scrunchy harmonies.
The Finale has a slow introduction with melodic motifs punctuated a ‘da da’! in octaves that is the brass section building up the tension for the main event! The Presto section is fast and lively with contrasting textures provided by chords, flowing intervals, single lines using staccato and slurred passages. The music looks more straightforward but the speed is very quick! The minor section has two voices competing with each other – great fun! - and the final Prestissimo cadence over 16 bars is made more exciting by the preceding, dramatic Adagio.
This is lovely music that teaches us about theatre, excitement, colour and texture in music, as well as giving enjoyment and helping to develop technique.
What more could you ask for!