Xia Weinan : Selected Guitar Works Volume 1
Les Productions D’Oz: 16 pages
This first volume of what I sincerely hope will be a continued series has five pieces in it. Born in China in 1981 this classical guitarist /composer has also worked in rock with electric guitars and so I was unsure what to expect musically. I needn’t have worried! Immediately you become aware of the fact that his music is highly original with unusual chord progressions and often some very original voicings and fingerings. Of course this does not make them in any way easy to play, far from it, but the actual music that you find yourself playing is superb throughout.
Swan and Maiden is an arpeggio driven piece with a haunting melody amid some beautiful harmony work and a piece that goes through 3 keys in a little over 60 bars. It begins easily enough but as the key changes from its original G to E the piece and its harmonies start to climb up the fingerboard , revealing some beautiful but unusual fingerings that do catch the player unawares at first. The final section in A goes even further down that road, with a number of fingerings that have to be carefully followed for the piece to make sense, but the end result is a piece that deserves to be well known.
Love at Night of Tulips is another Adagio piece with beautiful harmonies and a memorable melody and again a few pieces of position work that take a bit of working out at first, but the effort is worth it!
The Little Match Girl is a very cute waltz that goes from A minor to Major and flies all around the fingerboard with some lovely touches of unexpected harmonies along the way. Again, this is a lovely piece of writing.
Whisper of the Wind is a step higher in difficulty owing to the constant semi – quaver arpeggio patterns that are beautifully written and very carefully fingered and positi0oned but really do take some playing to make the smooth, constant flowing effect that the piece requires., but yet again, a very effective piece of writing that shows how original this composer’s music is.
The final piece The Flow has a dropped D 6th and 1st string tuning, which is surprisingly easy to get used to is a dropped D first string is not something you might have come across before. The harmonies here are definitely the most ‘oriental’ in style with some very effective glissandi and an extended tremolo section and is a lovely finish to what is a sincerely beautiful set of pieces that I really enjoyed getting my hands around.
I hope that this is just the first of many books to come from this writer, and I hope that interested players might take my word for it, and try them out. You do have to be a moderately advanced player to cope with most of it, but, believe me, it is a book well worth looking for!