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Francis Kleynjans : Merci: DOz

Francis Kleynjans

Les Productions D’Oz: 31 pages

Back in 2016, I reviewed for the Classical Guitar a book of Kleynjans pieces called Mes Derniers Feuillets, which stated in the introduction that that book would be his last collection of pieces. I am pleased to say that here is a new book, and so therefore that book from 2016 certainly wasn’t his last set of pieces.

This is a volume of 15 short pieces, immediately recognizable as being in Francis Kleynjans’ style, namely very guitaristic, melodic, emotive, and always a friendly play with nothing too modern in a harmonic sense. Numbered Op361 – 375 inclusive, each is dedicated to a friend who has helped him over the last few years.

I will now mention a few of this set in more detail. Therefore the set opens with the title piece Merci (op361) which is a piece in 6/8 marked Largo and consists of a three note arpeggio constantly changing with either a bass melody underneath or a treble melody on top. Although it isn’t too difficult, there are a number of places where the fingering and the strings used have to be carefully followed or the end result doesn’t work properly.

No3 Grisaille (Greyness) (Op363) is a Lent et Douloureux piece in 2/4 usually in three voices and moving constantly in and out of various chord sequences in a way that keeps the player occupied. It is a tuneful piece of writing, indeed alike all of his pieces I have seen, and again needs care in a few places.

No6 Variations (Op366) is interesting as it is literally a four bar sequence, constantly varied .Marked Modere, Souple et Elegant it manages to keep its interest value throughout in spite of it only consisting of 4 bars of material.

No7 Meandres (Op367) keeps the player constantly occupied, not least because it has quite a few tempo changes, and various other instructions, such as tasto changing to metal and moreover is a two voiced piece of writing that never sits still.

L’Ami d’Acceny (Op369) is the ninth piece and is a modere waltz set in G Minor, and therefore involves quite a few quick chord changes and a melody that reaches at times high up into the top of string one.

No11 Eucharisto (Op371) is in a fast and joyous waltz rhythm that again travels around the entire fingerboard whilst No13 (Op373), Comptine Enfantine (Nursery Rhyme) is in a Habanera rhythm marked ‘joyeusement naïve’ as it is dedicated to a child, and goes through a number of interesting chord sequences while remaining strictly in the Habanera rhythm.

It is always a pleasure to play this composer’s pieces. Yes, they are always melodic and harmonically interesting and if I had to put any criticism forward, you could say that a few moments in the pieces you could possibly guess what the sequence is going to be, and so the harmonies sometimes a little predictable, but that is only a small criticism in what is essentially a lovely book of beautiful pieces that many a guitarist will heartily enjoy.

Chris Dumigan

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