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Jurg Kindle  : Les Voyages de Gulliver – Symphonie No3 for Guitar Orchestra : DOz

Jurg Kindle

Les Productions D’Oz: Score and separate parts: 40, 8, 7, 7, 8, 7, and 7 pages respectively)


Swiss – born Jurg Kindle is a well-known figure in the guitar world with over 120 printed works, including solos, duos, trios and 37 quartets. He has also composed a large number of works for guitar orchestra, with this latest work, his 3rd Symphony written for soprano guitar, four normal guitars, and a bass guitar.

It is in one movement but with a number of sections linked together without pause. The first thing one notices (for there is a recording of the first performance available on YouTube) is how busy the guitar parts actually are; because once the opening introduction (set on guitars 2 and 3, of arpeggios based around an E chord, with added 6th and 9ths) is over at bar 9, all the players are in at once, providing variations on the E6/9 chord, until an aggressive 3 bars where two guitars play staccato minor seconds, and guitars 3, 4, and the bass, have each a unison melody that is deliberately strange. This leads to a new section in C Major, again with moments of slightly unusual harmonies, until an augmented chord, played tremolo leads to as return of a variation of the opening idea back in its original key of E Major. Like all symphonic works, the music is quite complex and considerable in length, with much interplay between the parts. There are also quite a few percussive elements especially before the climactic section that precedes the D.S. al Coda that instructs us to play 60 previous bars again.

At the Coda, the speed immediately changes to Andantino for a solo 10 bars for one of the guitar 1 players, leading then to a new Lento idea with slow chords on the soprano, against a chord/bass part on guitar 3, which in turn becomes the accompaniment for a long noted melody on guitars 2. Things then gradually become more involved as guitar 1 has a bottleneck section with long slides and then all the other players enter, as the notes get smaller and smaller, until semi – quaver patterns become more common. After a ritardando, the opening speed returns in the original key, and much of the opening material is reprised. This then finally leads to the closing section where all the guitars except the bass play a massive chordal idea that then reaches the final coda where a tremolo E chord mixed with tambora E chords, becomes the final musical event.

As I said before nothing here is very easy, and indeed most of it , although at times there  might be music that is not too difficult to play involves a great deal of harmonic interplay in the separate parts, that does need performers that are used to this. That said the piece itself is fascinating and always melodic and harmonically interesting, and so a guitar orchestra would no doubt have a great deal of fun with this extensive work.


Chris Dumigan


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