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Stephen Goss  : Intermezzi for Romantic Guitar and Fortepiano or guitar and piano : Doberman – Yppan



Stephen Goss

Doberman – Yppan: Score and separate guitar part (27, and 13 pages respectively)

Welsh composer Goss has written a huge amount of music for guitar, and this latest work is a suite of six movements having a basis in the songs of Franz Schubert. Apparently, according to the programme notes on the music, movements 1, 5, and 6, the Moto Perpetuo, Lament and Ballad, do actually take little sections of music from the following Schubert lieder; Gretchen am Spinnrade, Der Doppelganger, and Erlkonig and then proceed to use this material in slightly unusual ways. The other three suite movements, the Nocturne, Bagatelle, and Serenade rather create the feeling of some of Schubert’s songs, particularly those night songs and serenades and ones about water and rivers.

Moto perpetuo is set in G major in 6/8 and is a semi – quaver driven piece throughout its 57 bars, for if the guitar part is completely written in semi – quavers and the piano only occasionally not. Often the guitar style is achieved by string crossing the arpeggiation, thus creating a constant ringing tone.

The Nocturne, by contrast, is full of unusual harmonies and closely harmonised chords that ‘crunch’ when played. Without a key signature, this piece is very quiet, and full of sustained playing.

Bagatelle is in the unusual time signature of 8/8 and again without a key signature. As in the first movement, the guitar is nearly always on the move, flying up and down the fingerboard throughout, with the piano providing some interesting accompaniment, full of accidentals.

Serenade is marked Gentle, quiet, peaceful and expressive and has the guitar melody playing a four note tremolo throughout, whilst the keyboard accompanied with slow and imaginative arpeggios throughout, taking in a number of different time signatures whilst it progresses.

Lament is to be played very slowly and again relies on bunches of close – knit groups of chords in both instruments to create the sound of the lament. This is a short movement with little actual forward movement to it. The guitar part does on occasion move around taking huge leaps over the strings as it progresses.

The final movement Ballad, is a very quick 76 dotted minims a minute and written in 6/4.The main idea is a constant repetition of a G in quavers whilst the keyboard hammers out sudden groups of notes and chords every few beats. This then does develop into a strangely shaped 5 note motto on the guitar with the keyboard usually playing alternating pairs of thirds, fourths and fifths. Everything continues in this fashion until the slam – bang coda where both parts close on triple fortissimo quavers

As always with Goss, the music is highly individual full of modern harmonies and writing for the guitar that is like no other composer’s music. So if you have come across this man’s musical; style before, and the whole idea appeals, then this piece, that does need two talented players, should fit the bill well!

Chris Dumigan  

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