11 arrangements for guitar solo by Jorge Omar Kohan
Ut Orpheus: 25 pages
Reviewed Feb 28th
Since their original conception in the first half of the 30s, these Gardel tunes have been re- thought, re arranged, and reimagined in all manner of ways, and with all manner of instruments. I have personally the wonderful versions arranged and performed by Cacho Tirao whose virtuosic pieces are still startling to hear, if you have never come across them before.
Here, Kohan (some of whose performances are on YouTube, should any of you be interested) has taken eleven of the most famous and , although remaining true to the melodies throughout, has provided them with some more modern harmonization and treated them in an extremely unexpected and imaginative way . The part writing moves constantly and creates as a result an end product quite a distance away from the original , and moreover quite a handful to get your fingers around.
The first piece Recuerdo Malevo sets the tone, by beginning with two four- note chords entirely made up of fourths, followed by the opening melody under a constantly changing bass –line peppered with the occasional chord. The fingers are required to move briskly and have thorough knowledge of the entire range of the guitar and everything you come across is constantly surprising and never hackneyed.
The famous piece Mi Buenos Aires Querido is set in E minor ( not that you’d know it from the consistent use of chromatic harmonies and constantly changing harmonic ideas, and yet as a piece it works completely whilst sounding quite a large distance away from the original.
In summation, none of these are even remotely easy, and only advanced players need try them, but as exciting solos of modern Latin music , they are first class, and anyone interested in this field of music should give them a try, for they are worth it !