Yorgos Nousis: Helix for four guitars
Updated: Apr 17, 2021
Doberman - Yppan: (score and separate parts 8, 2, 2, 2, and 2 pages respectively)
This Greek composer who not only plays in a variety of genres but also has composed music for lots of different settings including, various chamber ensembles, rock bands, web series, exhibitions, and also films, which is where Helix comes into the story. Helix is the soundtrack of the documentary film "Grdelica - Story of a Highway" and here Nousis has arranged his own composition for guitar quartet.
The music is set in 6/8 in Am, with Guitar 4 having a Dropped D 6th. The fourth guitar plays a rhythm of quaver, 2 semiquavers, and a quaver twice in every one of the 87 bars, and keeps the bass going via various chords and their arpeggio. Guitar 1 holds the melodic interest with a haunting melody that covers eventually all the fingerboard but is not more than intermediate in difficulty as there are plenty of moments where the melody has long notes in between the semi – quavers runs. The second and third guitars contribute to the harmony for the most part and really don’t have anything too substantial other than that to play throughout.
The music is really suited to the guitars, and has a melody that sticks with you, as all good film themes ought to do! This piece is perhaps 3 minutes long in total, and would suit any quartet who is moderate technically, and I could see it working in a larger group, with multiple performers playing each of the 4 parts. Definitely this is a great piece that is highly recommended.