Ian Gammie : A Bouquet of Songs : 15 Original 19th C. Guitar songs
Edited by Ian Gammie
Corda Music Publications: 2 separate scores (36 and 28 pages respectively) .Includes a CD
Sub- titled ‘Original works for voice and guitar from the first decades of the nineteenth century’ this set of songs was entirely new to me , but then again this is an area of the guitar that I myself , and I would imagine, many other singer/guitarist duos might also never have come across. The Preface is very useful and Gammie goes quite a way into explaining about his methods when doing the volume, and also goes a certain way into introducing some of the lesser –known writers. Even the composers of the pieces are largely unknown to me, and so I opened this volume with an absolutely clear mind!
The first piece is a song by Rossini, arranged by one C.M. Sola, an Italian Flautist and guitarist, and a prolific arranger, writer, teacher and performer who is responsible for 7 pieces in this volume, including the Rossini. From his opera Ciro in Babilonia (1812), this warm and vibrant opener T’abbraccio is set in G major, and has a guitar part that is melodic and interesting, although Gammie makes a firm point about guitarists not necessarily following the part note for note, but to, in his words, improve a simple part by using various arpeggios, scales or chordal embellishments to liven it up , if need be. Sola’s other works in the book include three originals, each a single piece from one of his many opera. Another piece is his arrangement of Come to me Gentle Sleep by S. Nelson (1800 – 1862), a lovely moving piece, again completely unknown to me. Another outstanding piece is the Anon (but possibly written by Zaniboni) , When I Played on my Spanish Guitar but actually every one of these pieces has a certain quality that lovers of this part of the repertoire will get a great deal from. There are no folk – inspired pieces as in Gammie’s other volume (reviewed elsewhere) , and so the style of writing is very classical/early romantic, but that is not anything other than an observation, for duos who might want to investigate this book.
This is a very carefully compiled volume, full of discoveries waiting to be seen and heard, and as such I think it an essential purchase for anyone who has a duo looking for this area of the repertoire.