Gunar Ulrich : A Handful of Small Guitar Pieces
Bergmann Edition : 18 pages
Gunar Ulrich is a guitarist-composer from Melbourne, Australia who concentrates on writing contemporary music for the classical guitar and thus his pieces are often influenced by Pop, Latin, Spanish, Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock, World and other contemporary styles.
This book of six pieces are small but not that easy, as you have to have a moderately good technique to play some of these successfully.
The first piece called ‘ … and Simply That’ is marked to be played with a steady country beat, not that the music sounds too much like country music as it doesn’t (well, to ,my ears at any rate).The originality of the style is immediately evident in the way he approaches the opening theme, and its fingerings. Suffice it to say that it didn’t sound like anything else I had played before, and yet was melodic, tuneful, and friendly in its harmonies.
Razorzedge, marked ‘sharp’ is full of offbeat rhythms and accents and has a definite ‘rock/pop feel to its music, and even a moment or two of progressive rock in its mixture of 7/8 and Alla Breve time.
Simply This is again very rock orientated but also has a very useful technical aspect in that it relies to a certain extent on being able to swiftly stop various bass notes, (i.e. not letting them ring on), which is a technique that a few of my own pupils find very hard to do .They are happy to hit a bass note and leave it ringing, but having to immediately stop it before continuing is often really tricky. So this piece is a good work out for that sort of a player.
Smooth is exactly what it says, and is a mixture of 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 and manages to move quite swiftly around from position to position, not an easy aspect of the piece at all.
Soul – Sa is just marked fast, and is very upbeat, with lots of off – beat accents and music and a few wide spanned moments that might task the smaller hands.
Traypse is marked mysteriously and uses some right hand harmonic chords intermingled with a running bass line melody to create the moments of tension apparent throughout.
The final piece Zakuska is another piece with many staccato bass notes, as in Simply This, but this time is much more pronounced, and therefore takes much more effort to get it correct, but is well worth the effort when you do.
I loved this attractively written set of pieces, and so will many players who want something a bit less ‘classical’ and more modern in its musical styles.