Concerto Mediterraneo

for Solo Guitar and Orchestra

Steven Stucky

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Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Although my guitar concerto falls into a conventional number of movements, four, these do not operate in quite the usual way. The opening ?Serenata? is not the long, important movement we might ordinarily expect to begin a concerto; instead it is brief, mostly intimate and lyrical, and mostly in chamber scoring, featuring not only the solo guitar by wind, brass, and string soloists from the orchestra. This is followed without break by an ?interludio,? really a short cadenza for the guitar in dialogue with a few members of the orchestra?notably timpani, solo doublebass harp, flute, and marimba. These tow movements together occupy only six or seven minutes of the concerto?s twenty-minute duration, together forming a sort of introduction to the work?s main action, which takes place in the third and fourth movements.

The third movement, ?Ciaccona notturna? (Nocturnal Chaconne), also follows without break. Passacaglias and chaconnes are forms in which a series of variations are imposed over a regular, repeating structure. In passacaglias this content element id a repeating melody, but in chaconnes it is often a repeating harmonic progression instead. These form s reached their height in the Baroque era of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, probably the most famous example being Bach?s D-minor chaconne for solo violin Like Bach?s chaconne, mine is based on a recurring set of chords, but in other respects it is quite un-Baroque. for one thing, my progression of twelve chords does not belong to any one key (though it includes plenty of familiar chords); for another, the progression transposes itself from one pitch level to another with each successive repetition. Least Baroque of all, though, is the fact that the chordal theme is superimposed on another theme, namely a series of rhythms vs. twelve chords, so they line up differently each time through)?a procedure called isorhythm, borrowed not from the Baroque but from the music of the Middle Ages.

The concerto?s finale runs in breathless, near-perpetual motion. Several related ideas return, varied and disguised, throughout the movements, until, near the end, a new gesture takes over. A short cadenza for the solo guitar leads to a quick, forceful ending.

Although the solo part is in fact very difficult, my principal interest in this work was not virtuosity for its own sake but rather the deeply expressive, highly poetic musicianship of Manuel Barrueco, one of the world?s greatest artists on the instrument. But Barrueco is from Cuba; why a ?Mediterranean? concerto? Because for me the piece has important Greek and Italian connections. The concerto commemorates the life of Greek guitarist Sophocles Papas (1893-1986), who emigrated to the United States in 1914, settled in Washington, DC in 1920, and became the leading teacher classical guitar in the country. A confidante of Andr

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1997-8
Duration 00:20:00
Orchestration Solo Guit.; 2 2 2 2 - 2 1 1 0; Timp. 1-2Perc. Hp. Str
Premiere September 17, 1998, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

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