Stepan Rak : Nocturno and Dance
Les Productions D’Oz: 8 pages
Stepan Rak is one of the world’s most well – known, well- loved and respected player/composers for our instrument, so a new piece from him is always a real event. And here we have a new work suggested by his friend Keith Calmes, who can be heard playing part of this on YouTube.
Nocturno is a very florid Adagio Cantabile, full of very complex rhythms (quintuplets, sextuplets, and septuplets all within 3 bars of each other) so that the actual feel of the piece is very free and at times almost a-rhythmic. This very fact does make this opening section rather tricky but there is a great deal of part 0 writing too, and so the music is well worth the effort. A slight increase in speed about halfway in is more consistent rhythmically for a while and then the complex rhythms recur and the extended coda is full of emotional touches ending on a set of harmonics.
The Dance, marked Vivace is a few steps up technically from the Nocturno and although set in user – friendly E Major, it doesn’t spend much time in that key. There are many places where tambora, complex rasgueado and a number of percussive effects are used and so that with the more advanced harmonies make this a real challenge. However the effect, once achieved is very exciting, and would make for a great piece in a recital, especially as the final piece where everything closes on a big bang, which this piece certainly does.
A very difficult piece to play, so advanced players only need apply! That said if anyone has been lucky enough to see Stepan play, which I did some years ago, you will know that he is entirely up to the challenge of his difficult pieces, and this latest one only goes to show that his compositional skills are every bit as sharp as they always were. Great!