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Philip Lashley : Suite Americana: Bergmann Edition

Philip Lashley

Bergmann Edition : 14 pages

American guitarist/composer Philip Lashley has here produced a four – movement tribute to the Baroque suite, and there are moments here when Bach, Weiss and other such composers can be heard in portions of this work, but then at times there are some more modern interventions, without being too modern, for nothing is atonal, or even too chromatic.

Take for example the opening Prelude which is a consistent 56 bars of semi – quavers in a 4/4 time signature, as you might realize, similar to many of Bach’s such preludes where there is no rhythmical letting up from very start. Arpeggios do play a large part in the style of this prelude, but some of the modulations are not baroque in style and therefore the movement is somewhat difficult to keep going at the given speed, without some careful following of the helpful fingerings.

The Allemande that comes next is friendly, and again full of occasional harmonic surprises. There are two voices throughout and their independence at times does make some parts tricky again.

The Sarabande is very chord driven, and is emotive and has an almost regal feel at times, providing a good contrast in character to the foregoing two movements.

After the slow and stately Sarabande, the final Gigue is a fast 6/8 full of dancing and leaping quavers again in mostly two voices. The full fingerboard is used throughout and so the difficulty factor is certain the highest in this movement. The final coda is very effective and everything comes to an optimistic conclusion.

This is a very interesting suite, which will appeal to Baroque lovers as well as players who like just the odd unusual harmonic twist. You do have to be a decent player to give it the performance it deserves, but that said, many players will get a lot from this fine work.

Chris Dumigan

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