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Sylvain Lemay (arr.) : 100 Baroque Pieces arranged for two guitars: DOz



Pieces by G.BINGHAM; J.P.RAMEAU;J.B.LOEILLET; D.PURCELL; G.P.TELEMANN; J.C.SCHICKHARDT;; D.BIGAGLIA; A VIVALDI; G.F.HANDEL; D.SCARLATTI; J.C.PEPUSCH; G.B. GERVASIO; R.VALENTINE; F.M. SARDELLI; D.DEMOIVRE; A MARCELLO and ANON. Arranged by Sylvain Lemay

Les Productions D’Oz: 134 pages (score only)

This remarkable and huge ring – bound volume is absolutely full of pieces I have never come across before, and indeed a few composers who are new to me as well, and one that any duo will gets hours and hours of enjoyment out of.

There are far too many pieces here to go into any individual review of, but I will give a brief review of all the composers here, and number the pieces you will find.

Beginning the volume are 11 works by one George Bingham, who, between 1702 and 1705 contributed four volumes of Airs Anglois, containing solo, duet, suites movements and sonatas for a Dutch publishing house. Some of these were by established English composers, and many were also by him. Little else is known about him. As they stand here, they consist of 4 Airs, and 7 other short pieces that consist of solo lines in both parts, but are very melodic and would make a very attractive opening set in a concert.

After one short but pleasant piece by Rameau, a Menuet – Allegro set in D, there are 6 Sonata movements by Loeillet which are instantly a little more complex than the previous, but still single lines throughout both players’ parts.

Daniel Purcell, a relative of the famous Henry Purcell contributes three Sonata movements next, an Adagio from Sonata 1 and a Largo and Vivace from Sonata II, the slow movements very poignant pieces the Vivace full of action and drama, , and showing us that there was more than one talented Purcell in the family then.

Four movements Sonatas 1 and 2 by Telemann, three from Sonata 1 , and a Largo from Sonata 2 move a lot around the fingerboard involving higher positions and are definitely more complex than some of the other pieces here, but still single notes throughout.

Johann Christian Schickhardt was a woodwind player whose entire compositions involved woodwind, so it is not surprising that his two pieces from his Sonata V are single note pieces. They are interesting and a little different in places from the usual baroque fare, and I found them very intriguing to play.

Five more movements by Telemann are next, and are all from his Partita No2 , surprisingly four Arias (all Largo) and a final Presto .

Diogenio Bigaglia was a Venetian Benedictine Monk who wrote several instrumental works for violin, or recorder and basso continuo. Four contrasting movements from (I assume) one of the Sonatas is represented here.

Then comes the turn of Antonio Vivaldi, surely one of the most famous of Baroque composers who wrote a huge amount of music, much of which is still not too well known. Eight movements from a number of different Sonatas are here included.

There follows eight movements from Handel from a number of his Opus 1 set of Sonatas, followed by five movements from two Sonatas (K81 and K88) of Domenico Scarlatti, all very worthwhile works.

Nine movements from Telemann’s 3rd and 4th Partitas follow on, and then 10 movements of three different sonatas by Johann Christoph Pepusch , the German composer, that have their own character and at times are moderately difficult but well worth the effort.

Nine more pieces by J.C. Schickhardt are followed by one lone work by Giovanni Batista Gervasio, an Italian composer, who’s lovely Larghetto Grazioso precedes the two Anonymous pieces, both Allegros, and nice pleasant works to play.

Robert Valentine was an English recorder, oboe and violin player who contributes 7 movements from his Sonatas no 5, and 9.

The oddball in the entire book is next, one Federico Maria Sardelli who was born in 1963! No, that is not a mistype! He is in fact, an Italian conductor, historicist, composer, musicologist, comic artist, and flautist. He founded the medieval ensemble Modo Antiquo in 1984, and has spent a great deal of his life involved with baroque music of one sort or another, and has also written many works, two of which are here. They sound perfectly correct in their Baroque guise and make for an interesting pair of pieces.

The final two composers are Daniel Demoivre whose Allemanda and Sarabande are next, and finally Alessandro Marcello, who’s Adagio a lovely work finishes this massive undertaking.

I can only say that this is a wonderful book and one that duos will dip into for years to come should they like the Baroque style of music. It is certainly very full of very different pieces and one which I will treasure, and I hope interested duos will too!


Chris Dumigan




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