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John W. Duarte : A Celebration of his music for guitar : Universal

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

John W. Duarte : A Celebration of his music for guitar

Compositions by Duarte , Weiss, Holborne, Smith Brindle, D.Scarlatti, Riera, Sanz, Mudarra, Capirola, Dowland, and M.D. Pujol

Universal : 37 pages

Reviewed 27th February 2020

Reflecting Duarte’s career as both a composer and an arranger, this twenty piece set has three original works only, which is perhaps the only negative aspect of this book (as prospective purchasers might have expected more ) , these being the Spring Dance from Tout En Ronde, a bouncy quirkily harmonized little gem , Broadway , from Americana which has some delightful moments that constantly keep you guessing as to where it might go next , and finally Waltz II from the Homage to Antonio Lauro ; Three Waltzes, a set that was written after the two composers met , and agreed to write a homage to each other .All these are superbly written for the guitar and are never boring or hackneyed in their approach.

The other pieces in the book reflect Duarte’s love of arranging and have a large amount of Renaissance and Baroque works, some, as in the two Weiss pieces, needing a fair proportion of work to make them playable on the guitar, originally being for the 13 course Baroque Lute , and therefore with some of the lower end notes having to be moved elsewhere or merely omitted, and others like the Dowland , the Holborne and the Capirola ( all originally for Renaissance lute ) needing a lot less work done on them . The three Domenico Scarlatti keyboard Sonatas, K481, K83, and K208 are lovely arrangements and feel as if they were originally guitar works. The modern works are represented by three composers, the Smith Brindle Corsa, from Ten Simple Preludes, an unusual work, very much in the composer’s modern style, the two Riera works, Nostalgia, and Monotonia , from Vier Venezuelanishe Stucke , a warmly harmonized Latin set, and finally the Maximo Diego Pujol Preludio Triston, from the Cinco Preludios, a Tempo Di Milonga which an immediate appeal .

There is plenty here for the interested moderately advanced player, and I imagine that many, who are new to some of these pieces, will want to look up the rest of the movements, having had their appetite whetted by this fine publication

Chris Dumigan

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