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John Hawkins : Take Two for two guitars

John Hawkins

Contact : for score and parts : score 7 pages

This British composer has written many works and here has produced a piece for 2 guitars. The version of this on Soundcloud instantly tells you that you both have to be moderately advanced to advanced in your techniques as it moves really fast at 144 beats a minute and is full of moments of technical wizardry such as triplet slurs, glissandi in situations where the two players swap backwards and forwards the musical ideas.

The opening has a very chromatic run in quavers on guitar one, full of staccatos, accents, and glissandi whilst guitar 2 hammers home various notes from guitar one in octaves on the off beats. Then as if running as race, the guitars alternate a quaver and semiquaver triplet pattern a beat at a time which develops into more swapping and changing of ideas. Then everything lands on a repeated D, still played on the offbeat, before a new 5/4 and 4/4 idea enters on guitar two that plays underneath a cantabile melody on guitar one. After a swapping of that idea between guitars the aggressive quick – moving opening idea varied somewhat returns. The cantabile/5/4 idea returns once more before the grittiness of the opening ideas come back one more time leading to a sudden increase in tempo to 160 beats a minute for the final coda where both guitarists race in triplet quavers in opposite directions before landing on a D#/E crunch, that then resolves to just Es with a bare fifth B.

The piece is constantly on the move, and you need to be really good players to get it together, especially with the constant off – beat rhythms, the fast speed, and the almost consistent usage of accidentals throughout. The piece is quite short , less than three minutes and a very gritty, modern sounding piece that manages nevertheless to keep your attention throughout as the constant interplay of the tw3o parts is fascinating to hear; very hard to play , mind you, as my duet partner and I found out, but very worthwhile regardless!

Chris Dumigan

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