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John W. Duarte : Gubahanku Op124: Doberman – Yppan

John W. Duarte

Doberman – Yppan : 12 pages

Very early on in my classical guitar playing, I started buying this man’s guitar pieces (in Pounds shillings and pence!) , beginning with the English Suite Op31, my copy of which is dated 1967! Since then I have many of his works both on sheet music and on recordings and have grown to love his most individual style, (or styles, because sometimes his pieces can sound quite different from previous ones!)

In their John Duarte Rediscovered series, this latest piece is a popular song of Indonesia, and was written at the bequest of the Classical Guitar Society of Malaysia. It comes as a Theme, four Variations and a Finale, and has been recorded by Nathan Fischer, who edited and fingered the current publication, on his album Tales from Malaysia, on Soundset Recordings.

The Theme is in E Minor, and is melodic and in three voices throughout with some nice harmonic touches and interesting part – writing, which then moves into Variation 1, marked Giocoso, set in two tempos, the second slightly faster than the first, and which moves around swiftly in semi – quavers with plenty of sudden rests that give it an edgy, dramatic feel. After a quicker but slightly less animated second section, the first section returns for an unusual but excitingly written coda

Variation II is marked Valse Sentimentale and has the sweeping melody on string four with some varied arpeggiated chords up above in the opening section. The second section moves the melody into the higher regions before the opening section returns for one more time through.

Variation III, Alla Marcia is a doom – laden, violent affair, with moments of etouffe bass, multiple percussive ideas, and heavy six string chord strums that rise to a fortissimo climax before retreating into the distance for its pianissimo coda. Variation IV is marked Lento e Calmo and is entirely in natural harmonics, and written in such a way that it is definitely not that easy, as the two voices move around considerably throughout its 18 bars.

The Finale is marked Moderato Con Moto , and is an Alla Breve piece that moves around the fingerboard in its (often) three voices to great effect before a variation of the original theme returns that leads to the forceful coda where a final Poco Maestoso creates a climactic coda on an E Major chord.

Yet another well – written, interesting, and involving piece of writing from the great JWD that definitely will not disappoint. You have to have a decent technique, but then, as with all of his pieces, that is usually the case. Recommended.

Chris Dumigan

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