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  • chrisdumigan

Gilbert Isbin : Solo Guitar Works Volume 1 : Self – Published

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22 pages

This is the first of a small number of books, nicely produced, and consisting of Gilbert Isbin’s Solo guitar works.

This book has seven pieces in it, and all in a quite modern style, so that there are plenty of places where unusual chordal harmonies are used, nothing atonal, but definitely with a modern flavour to much of the guitar work.

The first piece is A Splendid Glow, and can be found on YouTube, played by Rob Mackillop. This will give any interested players an insight into Gilbert Isbin’s harmonic language, and certainly if this first piece appeals then the other 6 will definitely do. The composer’s writing style is usually quite full of big chords so a decent technique is going to be essential in most of these pieces. The second piece, for example, Sad Smile is entirely made up of chords, albeit rather unusual in their make –up 90% of the time. A Glorious View, by contrast is mostly in two voices with a constantly moving run of (usually) quavers, eventually building into chords near the close. Gratitude Song is quite different, being only 18 bars in length, and full of lovely warm harmonies, without a hint of the modern touch of the previous pieces. The next piece Somewhere, (no NOT the Bernstein in an arrangement!) has plenty of movement amongst its (often) three voices of music, and never sits still but constantly changes from one melody idea to the next, and keeps the player on his toes throughout. Joy Song is, as the title suggests, happy, melodic, fast moving, and quite original in its musical conception. The final piece Gentle on My Mind (No not that one either!) is rhythmically diverse, full of unexpected chords and melody lines and keeps the player occupied throughout.

This is an interesting et of pieces that literally don’t remind me of anything that I have played before, and so Gilbert Isbin’s unique musical sound is quite involving in its modern diversity, and so any players whose appetite I have whetted , should give this well – produced book a try!

Chris Dumigan

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