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Eric Penicaud : The ‘Gallop’ of Chiron Centaur for guitar ensemble :DOz

Eric Penicaud

Les Productions D’Oz : Score and separate parts (16,3,4,4 and 3 pages respectively)

The works of Eric Penicaud are many and varied ,as is his career as a composer, guitarist and more unusually for a classical guitarist, an improviser who has worked with Larry Coryell and the immeasurably brilliant and much missed Jaco Pastorius (who I saw twice live with Weather Report back in the days !)

This latest work is the compulsory piece in an International Competition organized by The Guitar Olympiads of Volos (Greece) for Guitar Ensembles, to take place in August of this year. The piece is set out on the score initially for four staves but with guitar 3’s part, split, part way through into 2. AS the composer states in his Preface, the idea for writing the work was the fact that it reflects the three different cycles in the French Conservatories, with parts 1, 2, and 3 ideally to be played by Cycles 1, 2, and 3 , with all these 3 parts being performed by multiple players. Only guitar 4 is for a single player, either a very good student, or the teacher who can also conduct whilst playing.

The piece is a proper Gallop, as in the Cancan by Offenbach, and the speed marking of 80 crotchets a minute reflect s this .Guitars 1 and 2 begin the piece with pizzicato, long notes in the first part, and quavers and semiquavers in the second. At bar 33 the third part begins with the melody, whilst guitars 1 and 2 are now providing the accompaniment role. A Con Brio intervenes at bar 57, and the parts get a little bit more complex, and at bar 72 the sole guitar 4 player enters with a part more complex than the other 3, at which point guitar 3 splits into two staves and there are now 5 parts in the piece. With guitar 4 playing a constant tremolo here, the piece really takes off, guitar 1 playing tambora followed by glissandi, and the second guitar part doing a bass /chord strum interspersed with golpe. As the piece reaches its climactic moment s, all the players are really going for it, until there are two slight slowing of tempi, and the final coda where all the guitarists do a poco rit, and then play a final chord and stomp their right foot as loud as possible at the same time.

This piece is lots of fun, and should be very popular with ensembles, and it really deserves to be

Chris Dumigan

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