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John Hawkins : Fauxsong for guitar , violin (or viola) and cello

John Hawkins

Available at score 12 pages

Commissioned by Paul Gregory and first performed in Brighton in 2020 these piece is available in two separate versions, one for violin, the other for viola (plus guitar and cello) This UK composer has written a multitude of pieces over the years , and a small few involving our favourite instrument, and this is one of them.

The piece opens with a mournful melody marked Le3nto on the guitar, which after some tempo changes suddenly takes off reaching higher and higher up the guitar until a variations on the opening theme then appears Largamente. Up till now the other two players are generally harmonizing with some long notes and the entire sound is quite chromatic with no key signature on the music but plenty of accidentals in the midst of the piece. Then one realizes that this piece is actually a set of variations on that opening theme, because the next section is now in 9/8 with the guitar again having plenty to play, underscored by more slightly pungent harmony work on the other two instruments. At this juncture, all the players start moving more and everything builds to a brief climax before a Poco Piu Mosso enters with the guitar playing arpeggios of a D and an Ab whilst the cello now introduces the theme. Again the tension heightens and everybody plays more and more excitedly until a ritardando heralds in a new pizzicato 7/8 variation with the guitar’s notes marked etouffees. The 7/8 then alternates with 4/4 leading to the final and largest climax of all, which then suddenly reverts back to the opening theme and its original harmonies, marked Tempo Primo. The coda then closes the piece on bare fifths in D topped by the guitar playing a final climbing idea involving harmonics via Ab’s that clash with the A natural in the bare fifths underneath.

The piece is slightly unusual in its harmonies and yet not atonal in any way. It has a completely original harmonic style that really aids the mournful and at times aggressive feel of some of the music, and at 5 plus minutes is a substantial piece. So this is really for the more advanced guitarists amongst you.

Chris Dumigan

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