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Edwin Guevara Gutierrez : Fantasia Para Violonchelo y Guitarra : Bergmann Edition

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Edwin Guevara Gutierrez

Bergmann Edition: Score and separate parts (36, 16 and 20 pages respectively)

Colombian guitarist/composer Gutierrez has written arranged and directed many guitar works, including recording over 50 discs. Here he has written an extensive three – movement work that you can find a complete performance of on YouTube.

The opening movement called Providence (Moderato) from its opening immediately establishes this work as serious and definitely not light – weight in style. An opening Adlibitum where long chords on the guitar underpin an almost cadenza – like cello solo, soon turns into an Andante Moderato, the theme of which a few bars later becomes an Allegro Moderato where sextuplet semiquaver arpeggios are topped by a modern but not atonal theme on the cello full of complex rhythms, often at odds with the guitar’s sextuplets. Then the melody swaps to the guitar where a very complex set of chordal harmonies accompany the melody whilst the cello plays a contrasting theme of mainly longer valued notes. Styles and speeds change quickly here and in true Fantasia fashion you never know exactly where you might end up along the route. Eventually the opening theme and harmonies returns in a slight variation of before, followed by the sextuplet semi quaver idea. Finally the Moderato consisting of a chordal based guitar part full of accidentals, and topped by a pizzicato melody on the cello leads to a final coda that closes the movement in a slightly unexpected fashion.

The second movement Gracia (Lento) begins with a long cello solo, marked Chacona and closing on some cello chords. After a pause the guitar now takes over continuing solo with a complex musical idea, before at bar 30 both instruments play together and we realize that the separate parts that both instruments played are now combined into one idea. Then after another pause an Andantino, Vidala emerges on the guitar with some large chords underpinning a friendly melody on the cello. A brief accelerando on the offbeat leads into a Vals Venezolane and shortly after that to a Passillo Colombiano, followed a few bars later by a Guabina, all in a very short space of time. Then a sudden return to the opening tempo leads to a coda that consists of an idea we have previously heard of, closing finally on four long chords on both instruments.

The final movement is called Cantalar (Allegro) and marked Presto Energico. It begins with both players running around in 6/8 in octave semiquavers that after a brief pause becomes a Bambuco with the guitar playing lots of offbeat complex chords interspersed with bass notes that are mimicked by the cello .After a repeat , the racing semiquavers re-enter this time varying their harmonies at times, but occasionally becoming octave runs The Bambuco returns in a much more extended fashion, suddenly turning into a section with multiple time signatures, of 8/8, 7/8, 6/8, 5/8, 4/8, 3/8, 2/8 and finally 1/8 (And all in that particular order, namely losing a quaver every new bar).This then becomes a Milonga Allegrisimo set in 8/8.This remains for a considerable time until the section with the multiple time signatures returns , this time beginning in 1/8 and then adding a quaver to every bar, and time signature until 8 bars later the players are in 8/8 again. A momentary return to 6/8 for 4 bars then becomes a Presto, Chacarera – Malambo with heavily strummed chords on the guitar accompanying a dancing melody on the cello. Then there are a few bars where both instruments are required to play percussive effects leading to the Bambuco again, and then after a few bars the Chacacera – Malambo. Here the racing semi-quavers return on both instruments leading suddenly to a coda consisting of the percussive idea and a final bar involving a Bartok Pizzicato on both instruments.

This is a substantial piece indeed. Nothing is easy, and the greater majority of the music would only be playable by a very good duo indeed. It is also of a considerable length, approaching 20 minutes and so could be quite a good piece to have in a concert where perhaps many of the other pieces are a lot shorter. This piece could be the main event of the evening. I’m sure that any such duo would benefit from trying this interesting work out.

Chris Dumigan

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