Kevin Swierkosz – Lenart
Les Productions D’Oz: 16 pages
Italian born Kevin has here chosen five moments from five graphic novels that he and his dedicatee Giovanni Martinelli both love, and written musical sketches around them. To enhance the power of pictures in his music, he has chosen to write them using various modes that Olivier Messiaen used in his ground – breaking compositions, these being, in his own description, modes of limited transposition, resulting in a sound far different from major or minor scales.
So one finds the opening piece, Martian Smile, to have a 5th string to A#, but then the music has no key signature, just simply a great deal of extra sharps throughout the piece. Marked Rapido its 6/8 time signature takes the music through, at times , two, and sometimes more voices throughout its 88 bars, and the very nature of its unusual scales and notes results in something that has a very unique sound, and one that is, without a lot of preparation , difficult to play, as the constant use of these sharps means that throughout that particular bar you are playing, you have to remember that that same note is sharpened throughout , and as they are unusual to the normal scales , it is easy to miss them.
Lysergic Black is in normal tuning, and is in 4/4 with a Moderato con liberta marking. This far shorter piece has some advanced rhythmic problems, not the least of which are 10 bars, of the 27, that have two staves and within those two staves multiple rhythms played at the same time. For example take bar nine that has the top voice in two crotchet triplets, the second voice in quavers and a triplet quaver too, and the final voice on the other stave a mix of crotchets and quavers. So at beat 3, you are manipulating the crotchet triplet, the quaver triplet underneath, and two straight quavers all on the same beat. Again the musical language involves a considerable amount of notes sharpened differently to what you might expect.
The Secret of Fire is one of the most note – filled pieces I have ever seen. Written in 5/8 the music is filled with demi – semi – quavers almost for the entire 46 bars Add that to the fact that a great deal of it is taking place above fret 12 and in more than one voice at that, and you see that, added to the, in this case, unusual amount of flat notes and you have something incredibly difficult to play, as the music is in constant motion all around the fingerboard.
Eura’s Poem is marked Moderato, con Malicolia and has a number of percussive effects but otherwise is perhaps a little easier to play, as the voice work is somewhat simpler.
The final Time Paradox is again full of very small notes for its main section, marked Con Ansia e Irrequietezza that sandwiches a Valzer Grottesco that cavorts around in mainly two voices.
This is some of the most unusual music I have ever played on the guitar, not having ever seen anything by Messiaen on our instrument (I’m not sure there IS anything by him for the guitar!) Certainly however it occupies its own individual sound – world which creates quite a few problems for any guitarist. It is therefore completely unlike anything you will have tried on our instrument before and so if there are any lovers of , perhaps , the music of Messiaen, or just some very good players ( you would have to be that) that want to try something different, then this set of pieces could be it .