Doberman – Yppan : Score and separate parts : (12, 8, and 8 pages respectively)
The composer Stephen Goss is well known to all guitarists, he has a multitude of pieces in print, he receives hundreds of performances every year, and has more than 90 albums worth of recordings of his music by John Williams, Xuefei Yang, David Russell, and Milos Karadaglic to name but a very small portion. This latest three- movement work was based on music from his Koblenz Concerto for two guitars and orchestra from 2019 and all three depict a setting on the Rhine.
The opening piece Waterfalls is concerned with the light bouncing off the waters of the falls as they run over the rocks and stones. This is immediately shown in the piece by the opening arpeggios that constantly cross from one player to the other, with the aid of campanella fingerings, and laisser vibrer effects. The semi – quavers used for this are in constant flow throughout the entire piece which, towards the close, gradually dies away to a pianissimo final bar.
Deep River, the second movement is not the famous American folk melody, but rather is very quiet and evocative in its Adagio speed marking. Chords used are slightly crunchy harmonically speaking but still very tonal. At bar 23 a new section enters relying to a certain degree on widely spaced melody notes, before a new section marked Simply then also enters. All the note values are long – held, and the entire sound is one of peace and warm feelings.
The finale Castle in The Air is a Scherzando where the motes constantly go round one another and nothing sits still for any length of time. Wide spacing in the melodies are again quite prevalent, and there are many rhythmic changes involving numerous time signature changes before the final bars where, as before, everything dies away to almost nothing and the work closes in silence.
This is a very interesting work that requires good but not outstanding techniques from its two performers, and like many of this gentleman’s works, is unlike anything else you may come across, as his writings are uniquely different from anyone else’s.