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Maurice Ravel : Arranged for 2 guitars by Adam Cicchilliti : Sonatine : DOz

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Maurice Ravel : Arranged by Adam Cicchilliti

Les Productions D’ Oz: Score and Separate Parts (19, 11 and 10 pages respectively)

Anyone who knows me , knows how much I love the music of Ravel, for he was one of the geniuses of the 20th Century and some of whose music I have arranged myself for guitars, so I was intrigued, to say the least, when this landed on my doorstep.

Originally for piano, of course, this three movement work is archetypical Ravel, and immediately one knows from its sound world, that no one else could possibly have written it.

The immediate response upon looking at this arrangement is the fact that the number of very swift, very short noted runs are very difficult indeed to bring off successfully on the guitars unless your technique is extremely good. Add that to the fact that its pianistic qualities do make some of its music very tricky to actually transfer to the guitars without sounding unnecessarily unnatural, and you have an arrangement that while, on paper, it officially works, in practice, is a really tough work to get your hands around. Also , as a matter of note, the first movement Modere at bar35 onwards in guitar 2, reaches a top C , fret 20, which in most people’s cases, their instrument won’t have, and there isn’t an alternative given , and yet dropping that note down an octave in that particular setting , isn’t an option. Yes a large portion of the 1st movement does work, but there are several moments when, in my opinion, a duo would really struggle.

The second movement Mouvement de Menuet is much more playable and, although the actual parts are really tricky, fits better onto two guitars, and doesn’t sound too pianistic.

The final movement Anime is, similar to the 1st, wherein there is a constantly moving bunch of semi – quavers or triplet quavers in one part or the other, that makes for very difficult handling.

That said, it is just possible that your duo is a pair of wonderful players who would be willing to put in the considerable time necessary to actually get your hands round this fabulous music. However be aware, that it does unfortunately fall into the category of a piano piece that is a little too pianistic to fall nicely and naturally onto two guitars.

Chris Dumigan

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