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Olivier Chassain:Le Fil D’Or: Diptyque for solo guitar and two guitars : Berben

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

Le Fil D’Or: Diptyque for solo guitar and two guitars

Olivier Chassain

Berben; Score and separate parts (41, 12 and 13 pages respectively)

Reviewed 16th November 2017

Paris born Chassain has long been associated with Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya, particularly with Stein – Erik Olsen, with whom he recorded the complete work s of Ida Presti for two guitars. So it was no surprise that this Diptyque consists of Le Tombeau D’Ida Presti, and Abba (In Memoriam Alexandre Lagoya). What is unusual is that it appears here as both a solo and a duet work, the latter being a recent development. The two versions are similar but by no means identical in every detail, although it is fair to say that the duet version makes the performance a certain amount easier than trying to fit it all onto a solo.

Le Tombeau d’Ida Presti is complex technically and musically, and whereas it is certainly not atonal, a key signature is irrelevant due to the nature of the harmonic passages that have many voices and constantly changing rhythmic patterns .Its nine pages are tightly packed with some very tricky passagework, its three main sections comprising two contrasting themes, with almost a quote from Presti’s Etude Fantasque along the way.

Abba is in A-B-A form and has no time signature or bar structure, and is another tombeau with complex chords topped by high pitched melodies. The middle section is arpeggio driven and eventually closes with the melody in harmonics against low register arpeggios.

The complexity of this work is considerable, but whether the solo or the duet version appeals, the music is never less than gripping.

Chris Dumigan

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