One Fell Swoop

One Fell Swoop


“Occupies a Universe of sound that manages to be completely individual throughout…achingly beautiful” (Classical Guitar Magazine)

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All compositions by Stephen Aron


Three Musings

   Ambivalence (6:45)

   Regret (6:29)

   Serendipity (5:55)

Bach On Guitar

   Prelude (3:46)

   Allemande (5:43)

   Courante (3:21)

   Sarabande (5:48)

   Minuets I & II (5:05)

   Gigue (4:09

One Fell Swoop (13:18)

Rockport Stomp (4:57)


All the pieces on this recording are published and available here: Three Musings, Bach on Guitar, One Fell Swoop, Rockport Stomp.



I came to this project in stages. I had penned Rockport Stomp initially (2006), in an effort to capture the wild exuberance of the stride piano stylings of the the great Fats Waller. At times ragtime, at times straight swing, it soon became one of my favorite concert closers. 

Later, I decided to compose a group of pieces inspired by the impressionistic colors of French music ca 1910. This effort led to Three Musings (2010). The first, Ambivalence, is a subtle textural kaleidoscope of running quintuplets behind a serene melody. The second, Regret, is an extended tremolo, at once hauntingly romantic and harmonically colorful, with long vocal-style melodies. The final movement is a fantasy based on a short blues lick. It too, is more French Impressionism than American blues, but it travels farther and wider than the other two movements. The entire set uses a guitar with the sixth string tuned 1/2 step higher than normal, to F.

The mock-Bach work, Bach On Guitar (2010), started as an exercise: could I write in the style of a Baroque dance suite, a piece that might sound like one by the master himself? I enjoyed the project so much that the entire suite was composed within one month. When performing it in concerts, I found audiences responded with real enthusiasm; it soon became a standard feature of my solo recitals. Does it sound like a “lost Bach suite”? Decide for yourself!

One Fell Swoop (2010) was an effort to explore more personal musical territory. Exploring less conventional idioms, it still hews closely to the impulses of the romantic gesture than many contemporary works. At once memorably melodic and startlingly virtuosic, it explores a number of textures and colors, some only made possible by an exotic tuning for the instrument.

I realized part-way through assembling this project that I was effectively composing an entire concert program of dissimilar works. I was trying to assemble a group of pieces in disparate styles, much like a standard mixed concert program, but with the difference that every piece was my own composition. 

I hope you enjoy them!


—Stephen Aron