• chrisdumigan

Olga Amelkina – Vera:Ensueno Y Danza

Updated: Apr 17



Olga Amelkina – Vera

Les Productions D’Oz: 8 pages


This latest offering by this award – winning Belarusian – American composer is an epic piece in every way. Written for and commissioned by Florida – based Puerto Rican Guitarist Samuel Ortiz, the work can be seen in a wonderful video of Ortiz wherein he plays the piece in a night –time setting accompanied by a dancer, and is in itself a phenomenal performance.

Our composer’s musical style is highly chromatic, and bordering on, but not entirely atonal, hence the lack of a key signature in this piece. The opening Ensueno is marked free, recitative – like and its opening is a dark, moody single line that slides uneasily up the fingerboard. Then harmonies enter and the chromatic element becomes more noticeable as various elements of the melody or harmonies move semi- tonally up or down. Gradually the writing gets bigger with wide – spanning arpeggios and then strongly accented chords that act as a transition to the Danza, marked Very Rhythmic, and consists of an almost jerky melody full of sudden leaps and off – beat rhythmic ideas, which then gradually gains volume and intricacy leading to some three voiced writing that often changes time signature. So one finds 4/4, 5/4, 6/8, 9/8, 2/4, 10/8, 7/8, 5/4 +1/8 and finally 4/4 + 1/8, all making an appearance in this complex but rhythmically exciting dance. The coda is reached via some clanging semi – tonal clashes high up the fingerboard and a final complex chord involving natural harmonics.

In spite of the fabulous performance on YouTube by Ortiz, this piece is far from easy and definitely only for the advanced players amongst you. The musical language is complex and somewhat difficult but nevertheless highly individual, and any interested players who are suitably advanced in their techniques might very well get a great deal from this piece.


Chris Dumigan

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