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Twelve Folk Melodies:Lutoslawski arranged by Ray Burley:PWM Edition

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

Twelve Folk Melodies

Lutoslawski arranged by Ray Burley

PWM Edition: 21 pages

Reviewed June 16th 2019

These works originally written for piano in 1945 were arrangements of Polish folk tunes, in a similar vein to Bartok’s massive set of piano pieces For Children based on Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Slovakian folk songs. However as Bartok’s were written decades earlier, these Lutoslawski arrangements are much more modern in sound , even if the folk style melodies still shine through. Of course guitar arrangements of these pieces first came to light in performances by Julian Bream, but these have never surfaced in print and remained unpublished.

They are all short and to the point, and although some keys were, of necessity, changed, and one or two minor alterations needed put them on guitar, nothing too drastic was needed to achieve this.

There are some endearing titles and most of the pieces are of moderate difficulty only, even when you have to get a little used to the harmonic idiom, and the multiple sharps and flats. So there is Oh ,My Johnny a Sostenuto piece in two voices that constantly shifts around , to the bouncy Hey, I Come From Cracow with its humorous pairs of seconds , The Shepherd Girl , an Allegretto in A , and the cheeky Flirting no name but four.

They are all delightful pieces, never last more than a short time, and so make their point and then stop and therefore never outstay their welcome. So I could easily see a number of these would be ideal for concert material for the intermediate guitarist amongst you.

Chris Dumigan

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