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Dale Kavanagh : 3 Collages for two guitars : DOz

Dale Kavanagh

Les Productions D’Oz: Score and separate parts: (19, 11 and 10 pages respectively)

Canadian – born guitarist Dale Kavanagh is a name known to many, but this is the first time I have seen a composition of hers, and I’m glad I did! This work is sub- titled ‘Hommage to Dora Pejacevic’ a nineteen – century Croatian guitar composer. Dale was asked to write a work directly connected to her suite ‘Life of Flowers’, which was a 7 – movement work for solo piano, and so she chose excerpts from 4 of the 7 movements as a true homage.

Collage No1 , the longest by far of the three, has a mysterious opening that after a few bars picks up in speed, and develops into a melodic and tonal movement, but with harmonies, particularly in some of the chordal writings, that show a great deal of imagination and individuality. After a little while, the speed picks up further into a Con Brio where things really start to take off. There is then a key change and everything subsequently reaches a full chordal climax, a pause and a return of the opening two sections, varied quite considerably. Then an entirely new section consisting of just semiquavers in 6/8 in both parts takes the piece to a new level, until a molto rallentando leads us finally back into the second section one more time, completely varied and everything ends very quietly on A Major chords.

Collage No2 has both guitars with a dropped D 6th, and a 3 / 4 tranquillo opening with long gentle arpeggiated chords accompanying a slow, elegant melody. The pace picks up slightly at bar 18, but the style of music is similar. This section only happens for 16 bars, because a much faster pace enters, and the music steps up a few levels of volume and excitement. Then the opening idea slightly varied returns before the faster speed once again intervenes. This time the section is much longer and fast – moving semi – quavers are uppermost in both parts. The final page then takes the speed down to a Meno Mosso before the introduction returns as a coda and everything dies away to a final chord of F# Major, a slightly unexpected chord to finish on.

Collage No3 in a lively Allegro, again in D, with dropped D 6ths, and is a joyous and cheeky final movement to the set. This is a little more difficult to get under your fingers, as everything dashes around. It remains in one speed throughout and again semi – quavers are almost constant as the piece builds and builds to its final furioso coda where both players strum altered D chords for a slam – bang finish.

This is a lovely set of pleasant, interesting and fun pieces to play and to listen to, and I can see many duos getting much pleasure from these.

Chris Dumigan

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