Eddie Healy : Three Moving Classical Adagios Arranged for 4 guitars or guitar ensemble
Les Productions D’Oz: Score and separate parts (11, 4, 4, 4, and 4 pages respectively)
These three Adagios are all exceedingly well known pieces , the first being Haydn’s ‘The Emperor’s Hymn’ or if you are like me , you may know it as Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken , a hymn we sang in school assembly back in the 60s.This is the shortest and the easiest , being only one page of score , and a total of 16 bars (not counting repeats) It is set in F and apart from one bar in guitar 3 where there are two notes written there, the rest of the piece is entirely single notes and so the piece is available to any players who are able to play up to top F on fret 13.
The 2nd piece is the slow movement from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No8, Op13, otherwise known as the Pathetique. This is of course another extremely well known melody, originally of course for the piano in the key of Ab Major, a very unfriendly key for the guitar, which Eddie Healy has happily moved up a semitone to A Major, a much friendlier key for guitarists! This is perhaps the most advanced of the three arrangements and actually reaches up to the top B fret 19, on string one for the guitar 1 part, but otherwise a complete knowledge of the fingerboard is all that is required here. Often pieces written for the piano fail to work on guitars and yet this movement completely fits the guitar sound and range (with a little help from octave changes). However otherwise there is almost nothing changed and almost nothing is removed as unworkable. In fact I am surprised that no one has thought of putting this piece on guitars before, as it seems to be so successful. (I did however notice that bar 22 on the top guitar part does have one misprint, namely a D natural that should be a D#, but that is the only one, I think!)
The final work is the quite brief March of the Priests from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and is similar in standard to the Haydn, in that everything is solo lines only and therefore it all sounds very apt on guitars and is a natural choice for four of them.
All in all, this is a fine book that only needs moderate players to make it work successfully, with the Beethoven being the real meat of the volume, and the other two being short but pleasant and worthwhile, and a set of pieces that guitarists will love to get their hands on!