Patrick Roux: Prologue, Fougue et Allegro Trepidant for four guitars
Updated: Apr 17, 2021
Les Productions D’Oz: Score and separate parts (39, 12, 11, 12, and 11 pages respectively)
This prolific French born, but now Canadian living guitarist, is a founder member of the Canadian Guitar Quartet, and first and foremost I suggest that any interested quartets should go and see the fabulous performance, all fifteen minutes of it by the Canadian Guitar Quartet on YouTube, not only to see what piece they are considering purchasing the music of, but also to hear what a stunning piece of music this really is.
The score is set out for the second guitar to each a top C , 20th fret, but also for guitar 3 to be a seven string going down to a bottom A an octave below the 5th , although there is a note explaining how to alter the 3rd part for a normal 6 string , should that be the only option.
The opening Prologue is Lento, and moody but reaching a huge climax near the close, before dying away .Then the Fougue enters, which is the main body of the piece, and by far the longest movement. It immediately struck me a little bit Astor Piazzolla in style right from the Fougue theme, in its melodic intervals, and the number of off – beat rests and syncopated rhythms One by one the guitars take up the main theme, and then the movement really takes off, going through several keys, including at one point moving through Bbm , Cm , and a couple of others not often associated with guitar. It is certainly a virtuosic and epic movement that is very effective, but at 132 crotchets a minute and often involving semi – quavers in some parts, it really moves. A middle Lento section takes the heat off momentarily, before the opening speed returns and the frenetic pace returns. A thunderous coda full of excitement finishes the movement off very effectively.
The final Allegro Trepidant is often in 5/8 but with portions in 6/8 and 3 / 4, and often continually swapping backwards and forwards. This last movement is very tense and full of sudden bursts of climactic moments, and very few moments when all the guitars are not going full tilt. Again this wonderful and exciting movement leads to a coda full of action and a final fortissimo close.
This is literally one of the best pieces for four guitars I have ever heard or seen. It is very difficult to play as you can see on the YouTube performance, but what a piece it is! If you have a quartet who can cope with its complexity, then this piece would really stop the show, when you perform it live.