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John W. Duarte : Night Music Op65 : Doberman – Yppan

John W. Duarte

Doberman – Yppan: 7 pages

A new piece by the late John W. Duarte is always a bit of an event. This piece was apparently first and only published in 1976 having been commissioned by the Guitar magazine, but, until now, nowhere else since, and so there is a large chance that you won’t have this piece in your collections.

To say that this is one of the strangest pieces I have ever played, is putting it mildly, but if you think that that is a criticism, you are entirely wrong, because this sound – picture about the hours of night is gripping, disturbing, and ever so cleverly written. However don’t expect any straight major or minor triads, because you won’t find them here.

The vast majority of the piece is to be played freely and in its own time, except for the passages marked Come Una Serenata, where a regular beat is to be played. Other than those places the rest of the music has a zero time signature, but is barred throughout, although the composer does say that this is more for the purpose of showing the stress markings rather than an actual passage of time or a regular beat.

Strange harmonies abound, and right at the beginning you are playing a six note chord with the top three strings a B major, and the bottom three a D minor, which does succeed in sounding very creepy. And so it continues as repeated three note patterns play l.v. sempre for a specified length of time, eventually landing on some tambora chords and everything swapping between slow, and disturbing, and fast and furious.

The entire piece does have certain harmonic ideas that show up several times and technical tricks like glissandi, sliding ones fingers from the nut to the bridge , thus creating a whooshing, noise are constantly in evidence.

Nothing is very easy here, and so it would definitely require a decent player to do it full justice, but I can see this being a very different sort of a piece in a recital, especially if for the duration, the lights and turned right down when it is played! Very different.

Chris Dumigan

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