Arr. David Jacques : Discovery Series Vols. 1 and 2 :19th Century
Vol 1: 20 pieces by Broca, Mietzke, Arnao, Eberhardt, Degen, Tarrega, Arcas, Soria, Ferrer, Sarrablo, Cottin, Nemerowski, Pratten, Sulner, Hurta, Shand, Bosch, Mertz, Bateman, and Anon.
Vol.2: 17 pieces by Schuster, Karpati, Pon, VInas, Arcas, Castillo, Bosch, Nemerowski, Maestro, Bateman, Matiegka, Giuliani, Shand, Carulli, Hayden and Magnien
Arranged by David Jacques
Les Productions D’Oz: 40 pages each
The thinking behind these two volumes from David Jacques is to introduce a vast number of guitarist composers from the nineteenth century, many of whom, most players have never heard of, and by doing so perhaps give the players a new insight into some different styles of pieces. The Preface (identical in both volumes) gives a brief history of the Romantic guitar but nothing about any of these rare composers other than their dates on the top of the actual pieces which is a bit of a pity , but not essential .
The pieces are many and varied, and there are lots to enjoy. The difficulty factor ranges from moderate only, to really quite difficult throughout the 2 volumes (so they are not gradually graded in the two books)
There are far too many pieces to mention individually , but a few to look out for in Volume 1 are the Jose Broca piece Una Flora Mazurca which starts out simply enough before really taking off towards the middle , the Marsch by Soffren Degen which is very chord based and great fun to play. There is a hair- raisingly difficult Preludio by Julian Arcas that spends nearly all of its time in semi – quavers hurtling up and down the guitar with very little let – up! The Tango Flamenco by Luis de Soria is very dramatic whereas the Chant D’Esclave by Alfred Cottin is moving, with lots of places to really bring out the emotion. The Andante et Allegretto by Angelina Panormo Hurta are a pair of very contrasting pieces where a great technique is definitely a plus, whilst the Andante Caprice Op65 by Ernest Shand, a name that many of you will have come across before, is harmonically diverse, and full of tender feelings that you will enjoy bringing out .The most difficult piece in Volume 1 is Standchen by Johann Kaspar Mertz, which like many of his works really task the player, whilst remaining wonderful music besides.
In Volume 2, Jose Vinas’ Andante Sentimental speaks for itself whilst actually being a lovely piece of writing, whilst Julian Arcas’ Tango No1 is great fun, as is his Bolero that follows it. William Bateman’s Shaker’s Dance – The Spirit of New Lebanon, is a folk inspired piece with a lovely lilt to its melody and harmonies, and unbelievably there is a Song of the North Op 725, by one Winslow L Hayden. 725 opuses (at the least), and yet until today I had never heard of him!
But all in all, these two volumes are full of variety, and yes, of course there are pieces in both volumes that you play through and then look puzzled at the piece as if to ask was that really worth writing, but generally there is much to see, and hear, and a lot of pieces that will be completely new to you, and as such I can only say that they are utterly worth getting and hours of fun are to be had by anyone who does invest in them.