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Renaud Cote – Giguere :Empty Houses for 4 guitars



Renaud Cote- Giguere

Les Productions D’Oz: score and separate parts (32, 9, 11,9, and 11 pages respectively)


This is a major work in four complex movements with guitar 3 having the option to be written also for a 7- string instrument with a bottom A for the seventh, and the score has every optional note , written with an 8va just in case. All four guitars have a dropped D 6th too.

Each movement is called Empty House 1, 2, 3, or 4, with the opener a slow 72 beats a minute. It lurches around in Cm for a short while, before gradually at bar 30 covering all four guitars, after which some shorter notes take over and, although the beat doesn’t get faster, the pace of the music does. Being written in the key of Cm does mean that there are numerous high position barres, and the difficulty factor is quite high, with the musical style modern, but not too much so. The movement has a number of themes and never stays still musically for too long, with some complex rhythms and arpeggio figurations occurring throughout.

No2 is marked Melancholic and relies on an offbeat rocking rhythm that weaves itself around the other parts, whilst the music moves between 3 and 4 beats in the bar through much of this movement, which is of considerable length and as a number of dramatic changes on the way

No3 , by comparison is only 2 pages of score, and the first half of which is entirely in harmonics for all four players, and then partially in pizzicato , and it is only in the last 5 bars that all the parts are being played normally.

No4 is marked Intense and begins with a complex 7/8 arpeggiated idea on guitar 1 before guitar 4 comes in in a similar fashion, but an octave up whilst guitars 2 and 3 begin on a complex bass line before the music changes tack completely a bit further on, eventually reaching a considerable climax before changing to 4/4 with guitar 4 playing a very chordal and bass – line driven pattern whilst the other players are often up around fret 17 and thereabouts. Some strenuous rasgueados lead to a sudden 15/16 with 5 groups of 3 semi-quavers underpinning longer notes above, but this then returns to 4/4 for some leaping arpeggios in guitars 1 3,and 4, before the melody then takes over and everything reaching the coda which comes to a sudden crescendo and then a complete stop on the final quaver on an open 5th D chord,

This is complex, both musically and rhythmically and the players have to be very good indeed to cope with it all, but a very good quartet will find this work intriguing and well – written.


Chris Dumigan

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