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Stephen Goss : Winterbourne Preludes : Doberman – Yppan

Stephen Goss

Doberman-Yppan: 31 pages

Subtitled ‘ 12 Preludes for Guitar’ this latest set from well – known composer Goss arose from a commission by guitarist Francisco Correa via a crowd- funding campaign , wherein 12 members of the public could ‘adopt’ a piece, and have their names inscribed on the score, as well as a say in the creative process. Not only that he asked that at least some of them could be a little easier to play than most of his other works for guitar, which , I can definitely say, are sometimes hugely difficult, or at least the ones I have seen anyway.

There are ostensibly four ’suites’ of three pieces each with a moto perpetuo, although the composer freely acknowledges that various other combinations work just as well.

So you find pieces like Xanadu, which begins with slow long held notes and chords in sometimes three voices before a gloomy darkly hued section full of cascading semi – quavers , and then finally a section without time signature where the beams are often extended across the page to indicate exactly where the note should last until. Then there is the first moto perpetuo, called Reverie, a mixture of several time signatures , and indicated to be playing completely campanella and consisting totally of quavers throughout. Then the next piece is a complete contrast , entitled The Somerset Wyvern ( Apparently a form of Griffin) full of rhythmic chordal fanfares, again across multiple time signatures and exciting and relentless from start to finish.

Other pieces in the book include a bizarre Scherzando called Chitter – Chatter full of pairs of sevenths, one after the other and played staccato throughout, a kind of Viennese Waltz, called The Blackpool Lights, full of humour and unexpected harmonies, and a slow peaceful item called Despite The Falling Snow, full of warmth and tenderness, to name but three more.

Yes, the pieces are definitely a few notches easier than nearly everything else I have seen from this composer, and so anyone who likes the man’s unique musical sound might be intrigued enough to give this fascinating set a go.

Chris Dumigan

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