• chrisdumigan

Roland Dyens : 20 Lettres : -Sheet Music and CD set



ROLAND DYENS : Lettre A Sydney; Lettre A La Seine; Lettre Noire; Lettre A Soi – Meme; Lettre Francaise; Lettre Mi- Longue; Lettre Latine ; Venezuelettre; Lettre A Claude et Maurice ; Lettre A La Veille Angleterre; Lettre Nordestine; Lettre A Demain; Lettre et Le Neant; Lettre Au Calme; Lettre A Jacques Cartier; Lettre A Isaac Emilio et les Autres; Lettre Encore; Lettre a la Saudade; Lettre a Julia Florida; Lettre a Monsieur Messiaen

Editions Henri Lemoine: 40 pages plus CD


When the world of the guitar lost Roland Dyens just over 5 years ago, we lost one of its greatest ambassadors, one of its most original voices, and were left with some of the most fascinating, beautiful, and utterly wonderful sets of compositions that literally sounded like nothing else. Although his musical language could be startlingly original when he wanted, it was often melodic and imaginatively harmonised and played on the guitar in a way that usually would catch the player out completely, until he had gotten used to where Dyens was going with the piece, because more often than not, the player had never actually placed his hands just in that particular way before on the guitar.

So this set of 20 shortish pieces (Often less than 2 minutes and only very occasionally over 3) came as a complete surprise, having never heard of them before. Also you get a wonderful recording of the entire set to delight you, and otherwise help you along with the interpretation. Mind you, as with Dyens’ other publications , he puts a great deal of interpretation notes into the score, far more than most composers do, and so you really don’t get much chance to put your own touch on the pieces, because Dyens never leaves you in any doubt as to exactly how he wants the pieces to sound.

There are some absolute gems here in lots of differing styles including a fabulous piece to ‘Claude et Maurice’, no doubt Debussy and Ravel, full of whole tone sounds, and another to Julia Florida, which is again a reference to Barrios’ piece of the same name, written about a girl he knew, but I could literally pick out any of these stunning pieces and tell you how good it was! There is of course the humorous element too, such as the completely blank piece called Lettre et le Neant, with a speed marking of zero, and a recording of silence, broken by a bird call, and a cough from the guitarist, and little else!

This is a set of pieces that is indispensable. They are definitely not easy , nothing of Dyens ever was, but all I can say is that a lot of them are easier than most of his other works, and so if I have whetted your appetite , then go for it, because it is quite a feat of writing and the recording is great just by itself .


Chris Dumigan

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