Johann Christoph Pepusch : Arr. Sylvain Lemay : Concerto Op8 No4 for 5 guitars : DOz
Pepusch arr. Lemay
Les Productions D’Oz: Score and separate parts (11, 4,4, 4, 4, and 4 pages respectively)
I must be honest that in spite of my almost 6 decades playing and listening to music I had never heard of Johann Christoph Pepusch, but he was a German composer of the Baroque period (1667 – 1752) and like many composers of that period wrote many forms of music including a set of six concerti Op8, with No4 originally for two flutes, two oboes and bass, now here arranged for 5 guitars by Sylvain Lemay. The original instruments being largely wind instrumentation, the entire music here is all single line.
The work is in four movements, Largo, Allegro, Largo and finishing with another Allegro. The opening Largo is set in the key of E Major in Common Time and being Baroque in style one immediately realizes that there is a lot of imitation in the part writing, plenty of moving parts and every guitar part is similar in difficulty to the other. It is only a mere 15 bars in length and acts largely as an introduction to the following Allegro, still in E, (as all the movements are.) and again in Common Time. Once more there is a great deal of movement, with the 3rd, 4th and 5th guitars opening, and then at bar 6, the first two enter with a variation of that theme. Of course there are lots of semi – quavers throughout and so at the very least all the guitarists have to be able to play quickly and efficiently without any difficulty.
Another Largo follows this time in triple time and everything is much more sedate before the final Allegro written in 12/8 resulting in a mainly quaver based piece with all the usual baroque elements helping to carry the piece to its effective conclusion.
None of the movements are any length, and so this entire piece must be only 10 – 12 minutes in total, and therefore I can see this piece being very useful and fun to play in any group of guitarists where the players have a facility playing continuous notes throughout, but don’t need to be good at chords or multiple voices at once, as that simply does not happen anywhere here. So, in summation, this is a nice arrangement, and a lovely, and relatively unknown work for guitarists to try.