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A. Castilla – Avila  :  Geminiden : Bergmann

A. Castilla – Avila

Bergmann Edition: 5 pages


Every so often, I come across a piece of guitar music that is so different from the usual, that it astonishes me with its individuality. Such is this piece here, by Spanish – born Castilla – Avila.

It is only 34 bars in length and plays for approximately 4 minutes, but the pages themselves look so different to the mass of other pieces that one might see, that I wondered at first how to go about playing it. I then found a couple of YouTube performances that really enlightened me. The piece itself is beautiful as anyone who listens to the YouTube performances will agree with, but if I say that of the 34 bars of music only 3 in total are merely notes played ordinarily, you might get the picture.

With a 6th string tuned to F, the work begins with harmonics, first natural ones then artificial ones, for all but 3 bars in this piece do have some form of harmonics. Then we have the notes that one is instructed to hammer on with the left hand on frets 12 and 13 simultaneously, and sometimes muffled with the right hand also.

With all that in mind, the piece is complex to actually play , and yet in spite of all these technical instructions, the actual piece is quiet, to be played very freely in tempo, and very other – worldy in its sound.

This is a most unusual piece that in the end, fascinating to hear, but you really would have to have a fabulous technique to cope with it, but if you have, go and listen to the recordings first, and then make your mind up, for this is a piece well worth considering


Chris Dumigan


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