• chrisdumigan

Isaac Albeniz : Arr. for 3 guitars by Raymond Burley : Aragon ( Fantasia) Op47 No6



Isaac Albeniz/ Raymond Burley

Bergmann Edition: Score and separate parts (17, 7, 7, and 6 pages respectively)


Originally part of the Suite Espanola, Aragon , its fifth movement was written for piano in F, not a very friendly guitar key! So Ray Burley has here arranged this very bright engaging piece in the more user – friendly key of G, for three guitars. With the 3rd player having a 6th string tuned to D.

As a piano piece this was quite a difficult solo as Albeniz was a wonderful pianist, but his very Spanish style fits so well onto guitars, whether it be 1, 2, 3 or more, that the music naturally sounds like it was originally written for guitar(s).The 3/8 Allegro main theme comes crashing in, in two octaves on guitars 1, and 3 with guitar 2 on the accompaniment. Then in bar 8 the piece modulates to B Major with the same theme which then after another 8 bars moves again into D Major. This time there is an additional tag that becomes more adventurous harmonically with all guitars spreading a triad run over the three players that after several repeats turns back into the opening G Major. Cleverly, although it might appear that the same key sequence is going to reappear, Bb Major, (not B Major) is next, and this time the music jumps around with a variant of a previously heard idea to pause momentarily on a long held D. At this point the music turns into the Copla, often played somewhat slower than the opening theme. Its Ben Cantando theme is a considerable contrast to the foregoing , and more adventurous harmonically and goes through several keys before returning to the opening theme and key and remaining there until the final fortissimo coda that closes the piece in a very optimistic way.

Whereas nothing here is easy, a great deal of it is not very difficult, but players must be prepared to be able to fly around the fingerboard with little or no effort, as the music is constantly on the move and does reach up to the 17th fret in guitar 1, and there are many occasions when all players are in semi – quaver runs that continue for a considerable time.

That said this is a wonderful piece, and a clever bit of arranging, that any reasonably talented trio will have loads of fun getting their fingers around.


Chris Dumigan

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