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Spanish Sonatas transcribed for two guitars by Duo Miric: Lathkill Music


Lathkill : Score and Separate Parts ( 12, 6, and 6 pages respectively)

This is a collection of three Late Spanish Baroque Keyboard Sonatas and unless your specialty is this period of Keyboard composition, you are unlikely to have ever come across them before.

The first work is a Sonata in G minor by Jose Ferrer, who however is not the late romantic composer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is an Andantino , and like all three works here, the accompaniment and melody parts are constantly swapped , so no one player just gets the accompaniment , and vice versa. There are plenty of moments where the players have to be very careful as the constant swapping of melody and accompaniment could lead to a number of times when playing together is not as easy as it might appear. The piece goes through several keys along the way and is pleasant enough if not particularly memorable.

The Sonata No17 by Sebastian de Albero (1722 – 1756) comes from a set of 30 in all and is similarly in G minor. There are some interesting chord progressions in this piece but again the hardest part is that the melody is swapping from one player to the other in almost every bar, resulting in balancing problems as often it is in mid bar and (seemingly) mid – phrase when it occurs. The angst created by the unusual chordal sounds at times, is the most involving part of this piece. Also the second guitar needs a dropped D 6th, but it is not an instruction that you get at the top of the page, so unless you have spotted it, the 2nd guitar player finds out at bar 40!

The final work is Sonata de 5 Tono by Padre Jose de Larranaga (1728 – 1806) which has both guitars on a dropped C 6th, slightly unusual, and once again no mention of it at the top of the page, so that you only find out as you play it. This is the fastest of the set and much more optimistic than the previous two. It is light and pleasant and does race around in a suitably friendly way, although you might have trouble (unless you are used to a 6th string, two tones lower on C) actually keeping your instruments solidly in tune!

The most interesting thing about this little trio is the relative rarity of the music and the composers. There are definitely lots of places in these three pieces where the music does grab your attention, but perhaps it is fair to say that none of them have the unique, mind grabbing individuality of a Bach, Handel or Scarlatti, but then again, one could say that about a lot of Baroque music by composers other than the top three! So, all in all there could be a lot of interest in these rare pieces, and as such therefore I can say that you do need to be very good players, but any duo with such capabilities as that might very well find this set worth investing in.

Chris Dumigan

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