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Alfonso Montes : Salsa Mutations for four guitars : Doberman – Yppan

Alfonso Montes

Doberman – Yppan: score and separate parts (15, 5, 4, 4, and 4 pages respectively)

The husband and wife team of Duo Montes – Kircher are one of most well – respected and well- known of the guitar duos today and Alfonso Montes is equally well known as a writer for the guitar and has a very large number of pieces under his belt.

This latest piece was written as a tribute to the Cote D’Azur, where he spent some time in 2008, and as he states in his own words, is a collage of Latin – American Salsa and Son music either of motifs or riffs , and sometimes both played simultaneously to create and exciting Salsa Fiesta. The resultant 189 bar piece is lots of fun, moves quickly at the speed of 140 crotchets a minute and is full of all the cross rhythms and jumping melodies that you might be expecting.

It begins with all the 4 guitars entering separately pizzicato for the first 16 bars, before the main first section occurs. The melodies move constantly between the four guitars so that no one player has all the bass notes, or just the harmonies, but what they all do have is a huge bias on offbeat melodies that constantly cross the beat and the bar – line, and as this results in often all four players being somewhere rhythmically different from their companions, the difficulty level is at least intermediate upwards. Keys are constantly on the move and one also finds a number of times that the players are in the highest octave of the guitar. The parts are single notes for the large majority of the time, but pairs of notes and the occasional chords do happen too.

The piece is friendly, not too musically demanding, but needs some good players to give it the full attention it deserves. This light – hearted music will do well in concerts and as such I can say that this is piece worth getting to know.

Chris Dumigan

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