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'A golden time ...' from Ariadne auf Naxos (Guitar Solo)

Strauss, Richard

Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)

Strauss's music amounts to a huge body of symphonic and operatic work written over 60 years. Full of vitality, endlessly melodic, brilliantly orchestrated, it begins and ends in the romantic tradition, but for the most part expresses something more modern and individualistic, not without controversy in its time. Variation of style and structure is drawn from the descriptive (literary) nature of compositions, and an extraordinary inventiveness enlivens the scenes, moods and situations. Strauss said once that he produced music the way cows give milk, and indeed his music rarely seems contrived.

The opera

Strauss wrote 15 operas on a variety of subjects and across the whole spectrum of drama. He acknowledged being enchanted by the soprano voice, and his writing for it highlights many of the works, including Adriane auf Naxos (composed in 1912). The opera has been described as 'sparkling', which sums it up well, and passages influenced by Bach, Mozart, Puccini, and Wagner add to the interest. The storyline is a play within a play, the second part being the mythological 'Opera' staged in the story. The three pieces transcribed* are from this Opera.

The guitar arrangements

All classical guitar pieces are compromises. The instrument has only six strings, the left hand four fingers able to be used, and with the right hand it's rare to use more than three fingers and the thumb. So, despite the amount of noise possible, it's inevitable that passages occur where either harmony, bass or fragments of counterpoint that would be beneficial are left out. In particular, the higher up the neck music is played the simpler it tends to be, if harder to play, and unless the low bass is an open string there wont be any.

So I think the main part of attaining a fair transcription (better to be called an arrangement if the original musical structure is not strictly followed, as in this case) is determining how a good compromise can be reached. Melody, counterpoint, bass and main harmonies demand inclusion, and register is important. One may generally assume the original score can't be improved on. However, if the music may sound well on guitar, and the above elements can be incorporated without the playing becoming very difficult, something enjoyable to play and worthwhile listening to should be able to be achieved. 

Overture; 'A golden time …'

 Here the Mozart influence, better, inspiration, is wonderfully evident. A gentle waltz time (only the first section of the overture is transcribed) carries the colourful harmonies, strong melodic threads and connecting flourishes that stamp both pieces. The aria is alluded to in the Overture several times, which as you would expect, is intricately woven with the hints themes later to be established in the Opera. It has a kind of 'jazzy' freedom, and it's always miraculous to me that composition so involved can retain its musical line, here done in Strauss's inimitable way. The aria, sung not far into the Opera, has the perfect inevitability of Mozart, but again it is Strauss. As explained, keys have been changed to suit the guitar.

Chorus and Aria

This selection from the finale has features well worth trying to translate. The device of having a strong chorus, in the style of a Bach chorale, stated and then counterpointed by a solo voice in a restatement, is potent, and that in the opera the chorus (of the three nymphs) isn't immediately followed by the accompanying aria (of Ariadne) means the latter comes as a moment of surprising beauty. Neither parts are complicated, and lovely arpeggios, a feature Strauss's music, often impart the assured progressions. 

A problem was to capture the distinct register of the soprano voices, some statements of which would seem non-negotiable even without knowing the soprano voice was a passion of Strauss's. This could only be done, as intimated above, with some simplification. However the sound was worth working for, and fortunately the repetitive nature of the piece allowed for sections to be played at various registers to good effect, the higher producing the excruciating soprano harmonies.

Also, the original is in Db, so by raising the key a semitone I was able to utilise the guitar's D tuning as a full sounding configuration on which to arrange the piece. I'm fond of harmonics and open strings (in fact, arresting sounds in general) and used them where appropriate (or as sometimes, necessary).

Rod Whittle

* Overture; 'A golden time'; Chorus and Aria

$2.00   $2.50 Sale

Adagio (Cello and Guitar)

Ravel, Maurice

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$3.95  

Adagio (Clarinet and Guitar)

Ravel, Maurice

Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$3.95  

Adagio (Flute and Guitar)

Ravel, Maurice

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$3.95  

Adagio (Guitar Duo)

Ravel, Maurice

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$3.95  

Adagio (Guitar Solo)

Ravel, Maurice

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$2.36   $2.95 Sale

Adagio (Viola and Guitar)

Ravel, Maurice

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$3.95  

Adagio (Violin and Guitar)

Ravel, Maurice

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.

$3.95  

Adagio fro the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Guitar Solo)

Ravel, Maurice

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Ravel was born in the Basque region of France and much of his work shows a Spanish influence (this, together with his interest in jazz has produced some exceptional guitar transcriptions). He was a pupil of Faure and at first fell, like many contemporary composers, under Debussy's spell. However, his ascetic and intellectual bents produced from the start a refinement of composition and orchestration, and development of melody, all his own. Later music, including the Concerto, shows his love of the rhythmic features of jazz, and thoughtful incorporation of the innovations of modern music – strong dissonance, atonality etc.

With the Adagio the opening theme, which has a long line typical of Ravel, undergoes a series of variations. In waltz time (this feel must be kept up for the intent of the piece to be brought out) over an implacable bass the music marches on with hypnotic effect to the coda, a final gem of roving harmony that descends into quietude.

$3.16   $3.95 Sale

Berceuse (Guitar Trio)

Fauré, Gabriel

This well-known Berceuse by Fauré is both cheerful and soothing - enjoy!

$7.50  

Choros - Sound of Bells (Guitar Solo)

Pernambuco, João

$2.00   $2.5 Sale

Chorus and Aria from Ariadne auf Naxos (Guitar Solo)

Strauss, Richard

Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)

Strauss's music amounts to a huge body of symphonic and operatic work written over 60 years. Full of vitality, endlessly melodic, brilliantly orchestrated, it begins and ends in the romantic tradition, but for the most part expresses something more modern and individualistic, not without controversy in its time. Variation of style and structure is drawn from the descriptive (literary) nature of compositions, and an extraordinary inventiveness enlivens the scenes, moods and situations. Strauss said once that he produced music the way cows give milk, and indeed his music rarely seems contrived. 

The opera 

Strauss wrote 15 operas on a variety of subjects and across the whole spectrum of drama. He acknowledged being enchanted by the soprano voice, and his writing for it highlights many of the works, including Adriane auf Naxos (composed in 1912). The opera has been described as 'sparkling', which sums it up well, and passages influenced by Bach, Mozart, Puccini, and Wagner add to the interest. The storyline is a play within a play, the second part being the mythological 'Opera' staged in the story. The three pieces transcribed* are from this Opera. 

The guitar arrangements

 All classical guitar pieces are compromises. The instrument has only six strings, the left hand four fingers able to be used, and with the right hand it's rare to use more than three fingers and the thumb. So, despite the amount of noise possible, it's inevitable that passages occur where either harmony, bass or fragments of counterpoint that would be beneficial are left out. In particular, the higher up the neck music is played the simpler it tends to be, if harder to play, and unless the low bass is an open string there wont be any. 

So I think the main part of attaining a fair transcription (better to be called an arrangement if the original musical structure is not strictly followed, as in this case) is determining how a good compromise can be reached. Melody, counterpoint, bass and main harmonies demand inclusion, and register is important. One may generally assume the original score can't be improved on. However, if the music may sound well on guitar, and the above elements can be incorporated without the playing becoming very difficult, something enjoyable to play and worthwhile listening to should be able to be achieved. 

Overture; 'A golden time …' 

Here the Mozart influence, better, inspiration, is wonderfully evident. A gentle waltz time (only the first section of the overture is transcribed) carries the colourful harmonies, strong melodic threads and connecting flourishes that stamp both pieces. The aria is alluded to in the Overture several times, which as you would expect, is intricately woven with the hints themes later to be established in the Opera. It has a kind of 'jazzy' freedom, and it's always miraculous to me that composition so involved can retain its musical line, here done in Strauss's inimitable way. The aria, sung not far into the Opera, has the perfect inevitability of Mozart, but again it is Strauss. As explained, keys have been changed to suit the guitar.

Chorus and Aria

This selection from the finale has features well worth trying to translate. The device of having a strong chorus, in the style of a Bach chorale, stated and then counterpointed by a solo voice in a restatement, is potent, and that in the opera the chorus (of the three nymphs) isn't immediately followed by the accompanying aria (of Ariadne) means the latter comes as a moment of surprising beauty. Neither parts are complicated, and lovely arpeggios, a feature Strauss's music, often impart the assured progressions.

A problem was to capture the distinct register of the soprano voices, some statements of which would seem non-negotiable even without knowing the soprano voice was a passion of Strauss's. This could only be done, as intimated above, with some simplification. However the sound was worth working for, and fortunately the repetitive nature of the piece allowed for sections to be played at various registers to good effect, the higher producing the excruciating soprano harmonies.

Also, the original is in Db, so by raising the key a semitone I was able to utilise the guitar's D tuning as a full sounding configuration on which to arrange the piece. I'm fond of harmonics and open strings (in fact, arresting sounds in general) and used them where appropriate (or as sometimes, necessary).

Rod Whittle

* Overture; 'A golden time'; Chorus and Aria

$2.00   $2.50 Sale

Clair de Lune (Guitar Solo)

Debussy, Claude

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)

Debussy’s compositions form part of an art movement known as French Impressionism that evolved in France at the end of the 19th Century. He was its leading musical exponent and a seminal influence on modern music. The aim of Impressionism was to reflect mood, which Debussy did with the use of unusual chords and modes which nevertheless progress unerringly through evocative landscapes to peaks of tension. His always careful attention to the whole gives the varying, impalpable sentiments a sense of direction and completion, as this arrangement for guitar of the famous piano piece ‘Clair de Lune’ demonstrates.

 

 

 

$3.16   $3.95 Sale

Coda from Pelleas et Melisande (Guitar Solo)

Debussy, Claude

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918) 

Debussy’s compositions form part of an art movement known as French Impressionism that evolved in France at the end of the 19th Century. He was its leading musical exponent and a seminal influence on modern music. The aim of Impressionism was to reflect mood, which Debussy did with the use of unusual chords and modes which nevertheless progress unerringly through evocative landscapes to peaks of tension. Careful attention to form gives impalpable sentiments a sense of direction and completion. The lovely Coda from Debussy's only opera, ‘Pelleas and Melisande’, demonstrates this, as well as exhibiting his masterful expression of the dramatic, exquisite without being flowery, forceful but not overblown.

 

$2.00   $2.50 Sale

En Bateau (Guitar Solo)

Debussy, Claude

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)

Debussy’s compositions form part of an art movement known as French Impressionism that evolved in France at the end of the 19th Century. He was its leading musical exponent and a seminal influence on modern music. The aim of Impressionism was to reflect mood, which Debussy did with the use of unusual chords and modes which nevertheless progress unerringly through evocative landscapes to peaks of tension. His always careful attention to the whole gives the varying, impalpable sentiments a sense of direction and completion. The lovely ‘En Bateau’ is taken from the ‘Petite Suite’, a suite for piano four hands in four movements.

 

 

 

$3.16   $3.95 Sale

from Gavotte, Suite in A Minor

Ponce, Manuel

This is the 'Gavotte within the Gavotte' form Ponce's Suite in A minor. It is slightly 'fleshed out' to take advantage of the extra fingers that three guitarists have and to realize the voice leading a little more fully.

$0.00  

Gnossienne 1, 2 & 3 (Clarinet and Guitar)

Satie, Erik

Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893) These Three Gnossiennes were composed around 1890. A revision prior to publication in 1893 is not unlikely, the 2nd Gnossienne may even have been composed in that year (it has "April 1893" as date on the manuscript). The piano solo version of the first three Gnossiennes are without time signatures or bar lines, which is known as "absolute time."

$8.95  

Gnossienne 1, 2 & 3 (Flute and Guitar

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866-1925) was a French composer and pianist. Starting with his first composition in. Satie was introduced as a "gymnopedist" in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopedies (1888). In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893). These Three Gnossiennes were composed around 1890. A revision prior to publication in 1893 is not unlikely, the 2nd Gnossienne may even have been composed in that year (it has "April 1893" as date on the manuscript). The piano solo version of the first three Gnossiennes are without time signatures or bar lines, which is known as "absolute time."

$8.95  

Gnossienne 1. 2 & 3 (Viola and Guitar)

Satie, Erik

Alfred Éric (Erik) Leslie Satie (1866 – 1925) was a French composer and pianist. Starting with his first composition in 1884, he signed his name as Erik Satie. Satie was introduced as a "gymnopedist" in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. Later, he also referred to himself as a "phonometrograph" or "phonometrician" (meaning "someone who measures (and writes down) sounds") preferring this designation to that of "musician," after having been called "a clumsy but subtle technician" in a book on contemporary French composers published in 1911. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications, from the dadaist 391 to the American Vanity Fair.

$8.95  

Gnossienne No. 1 (Guitar Duo)

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866 - 1925) was a French composer and pianist. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893).

$3.95  

Gnossienne No. 1, 2 & 3 (Cello and Guitar)

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866 - 1925) was a French composer and pianist. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893).

$8.95  

Gnossienne No. 1, 2 & 3 (Flute and Guitar)

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866 - 1925) was a French composer and pianist. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893).

$8.95  

Gnossienne No. 1, 2 & 3 (Violin and Guitar)

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866 - 1925) was a French composer and pianist. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893).

$8.95  

Gnossienne No. 2 (Guitar Duo)

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866 - 1925) was a French composer and pianist. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893).

$3.95  

Gnossienne No. 3 (Guitar Duo)

Satie, Erik

Erik Satie (1866 - 1925) was a French composer and pianist. In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. He was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theatre of the Absurd. Trois Gnossiennes (first published 1893).

$5.95  





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