• chrisdumigan

Martin Schwarz : Missing Senor Astor for four guitars

Martin Schwarz

Les Productions D’Oz: Score and Separate Parts (16, 5, 7, 5 and 5 pages respectively)

Martin Schwarz is an Austrian composer, and a founding member of Guitar4mation, who also teaches, arranges, and performs as a soloist, a chamber player, and as a member of the quartet. This latest work is a homage to that great musician Astor Piazzolla many of whose works have been performed on any number of guitars, even though actually very little of his work was in the first instance written for guitar.

Immediately it looks and sounds like one of Piazzolla’s pieces, with its use of almost violent rhythms, the slightly off – kilter harmonic work, that still sounds tonal, but in a particularly unusual way, and the important use of huge contrasts in dynamics. One look at the first page and one realizes that this is for the advanced players amongst you. ( Incidentally only Guitar 4 has a dropped D 6th) .The rhythmic element is particularly strong here as, in spite of the 4/4 that the composition is officially written in, there are numerous off – beat elements , particularly, as one might expect the 3, 3, 2, quaver rhythm often associated with the style. Moreover there are many fast furious runs with accented chords hammering underneath, and everything is very excitingly done, with no player having anything like an easy ride. Gradually but very energetically the tension rises in the piece until a sudden Lento , at huge contrast to the opening, takes over, with its melancholy theme full of glissandi and its mournful harmony work. Then an accelerando begins and the opening style and themes re- enter for a long gradual build up to a hugely ferocious set of accented , offbeat chords mixed in with some very highly placed single staccato notes, and a final sforzando close full of chords that glissando down to infinity.

This is a very exciting piece to listen to, and a very difficult piece to actually attempt, but any players who can handle the complexities will end up with a real show – stopper of a piece that deserves to be heard! Fabulous!

Chris Dumigan

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