• chrisdumigan

Bryan Johanson : Quartet No6.



Bryan Johanson

Les Productions D’Oz: Score and Separate Parts: (34, 9, 10, 10, and 11 pages respectively)


Having recently seen this composer’s 1st Quartet here is his 6th, proving that he has been busy on the quartet front!

The first movement is an Adagio Cantabile, with the 4th guitar only having a dropped 6th to D. The melody is full of long held notes and very little forward movement for much of the time, as the music finds its way via some Scottish – like snaps in the main theme .Gradually the note lengths shorten, and a couple of brief climaxes come and go, before the snaps return for a quiet close.

Immediately the 2nd movement, a Grazioso becomes a 6/8 bouncing rhythm under a melody that still has the ‘snap’ element of movement one but in a slightly varied manner, whilst the runs get quicker and all the guitars gradually begin racing around in semi – quavers. After a while this dies down slightly whilst the guitar are divided between this and a longer note theme that runs right up to the top of the fingerboard. Then when the semi-quavers return over the four guitars, a quite extensive section, there are several elements of campanella, before the music eventually dies away on a sedate close on an indecisive set of Ds with an added C.

The final Allegretto Brioso begins in G but without the F# key signature, as the music is constantly shifting into various keys along the way, hence the multiple sharps and flats in evidence. Once again the use of a short note followed by a longer one, as in the Scottish snaps in the previous movements make themselves known again, as the four guitars fly around in a very uninhibited fashion , taking the difficulty factor up a few notches along the way, and making for an exciting final movement. Eventually the work closes on a variation of the opening theme, and a triumphal Open 5th G chord closes this impressive work.

Once again, this work requires really good players to do it any justice, but the work is so well – written and musically involving that audiences and players alike will love to get their hands and ears around this substantial work.


Chris Dumigan

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