Mark Small : Five Situations
Les Productions D’Oz: 14 pages
These five pieces by Mark Small are some of the nicest and most intriguing pieces of guitar music to come my way in a long time.
Never Shall Be, the first in the set is apiece that begins quietly but gets more emotional as it progresses .It has a knack of feeling completely new and yet covering ground that you have come across before but not in that particular way. So we have an open arpeggio that gradually moves away from its opening Am, to pause on a 1st inversion of a Db Major chord, before moving off again covering several unexpected combinations of notes along the way , and yet not sounding bizarre in any way, just new and fresh.
Inner Dialogue is almost completely chord – based, but in such a way as to not seem boring .Set in B Major, it needs careful reading because of the way the composer uses certain combinations of notes that can take you away from your key structure and as a result you forget to include one of the five sharps.
Toward a Fork in the Road races down some semi –quavers only to go straight into a Largo with a very emotive core. A Giocoso slightly faster section then comes into play with a low tune, underneath some friendly but slightly unusual chords above. The Largo returns at the end to close the movement in a suitably expressive way on a chord that is perfectly possible, but it took me a few moments to work it out!
Forgotten Wind Chimes begins with a two note rocking motif, before entering into a Con Moto with a memorable melody and nice set of harmonies. Nothing sits still for any time at all, and as soon as one idea has entered, it moves onto something else in an unusual but always involving manner. This lengthy piece moves finally onto Last of the Rain, the final piece, a Larghetto with some intriguing ideas and a number of different sections before finally closing on the opening theme one more time and a quiet staccato tonic chord to close.
This has a style all its own, and yet is perfectly tonal throughout, and definitely should be played and heard by anyone who likes their music modern, but not too much so, melodic, with some great harmonic moments, and is not too tricky , to scare off players of only intermediate technique. Yes, this is certainly one for your ‘wants’ list