Colette Mourey : Concerto Francais pour guitar et orchestra symphonique (Reduction pour Piano & Gtr)
Bergmann Edition : Score and separate guitar score (106 and 36 pages respectively)
A new guitar concerto is always a major event, and this latest work from this fine French lady is the results of her decision to write a French concerto in the manner of, firstly the Baroque Frenchmen, such as Robert De Visee, and secondly the Romantic style and occasional Spanish touches of someone like Georges Bizet.
It begins in the orchestra (or in this case the Piano) with a particular repeating dotted rhythm that recalls the Baroque Overtures, with its solemn feel, and continuity of emotion. After the opening 16 bars, the guitar enters strongly in the home key of Em restating the main theme whilst continually using full chords to stress the power of this music. The two protagonists are constantly bouncing off one another with themes that move back and forth, whilst retaining the strength and emotion of the movement. This continues for a considerable time without any let up until the final restatement follows on from the Cadenza and closes the first movement in a convincing way.
The second movement is a Vivo three in the bar movement, similar to a minuet in style , but sometimes reminding one more of a scherzo. Tremolo comes into play here, and has a major part therein, interspersed with a much lighter romantic feel, by means of a contrast to the seriousness of the opening movement.
The third movement is a Largo in a dotted 6/8 rhythm and very songlike in style and quite different to the feelings expressed in the previous movements.
The final and fourth movement is another Vivo, at exactly the same metronome speed as the 2nd, incidentally, and is full of rasgueado and tambora and almost harsh in its strength of character, which however is contrasted by the other melody which is full of optimism and beauty. After a lengthy dialogue between the two, optimism wins the day and everything closes with fortissimo sounds.
At more than 23 minutes this is a substantial work, which has a great deal to say musically and emotionally. Of course the guitar part is not easy but apart from one or two areas, it isn’t tremendously difficult either, and I do hope that it gets the chance to be heard, especially with the full orchestra as it deserves to!