Oberlin Spring Guitar Ensemble I
In spite of my usual propensity for encouraging mixed chamber music, this concert ended up as a series of guitar duos and a trio. In addition to the multiple guitar works on this program, the studio produced three additional guitar duos that are being programmed on the next concert (next week). When we play so much music for multiple guitars, there ends up being time on our programs for some soloists to play; tonight's concert featured two.
A unique element of this program was the fact that literally all the ensemble works featured were new, original arrangements made by members of the studio for themselves to perform. I always encourage them to arrange and compose, but this sudden spate of successful, performance-ready new works may have been a direct result of the new Guitar Entrepreneurship Award--a cash award for engaging in activities that build a serious musician's resumé. See
The concert opened with one of the three new duets drawn from the symphonic repertoire and arranged by the duo of Jacob Blizard and Leonard Ranallo. This one was Leonard Ranallo's arrangement of the Allegretto from Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, Op. 92:
Next was another original duet arrangement: Mohit Dubey's realization of the Debussy piano Prelude, "Voiles." He played it with Brian King:
We had a solo interlude next: Britten's Nocturnal, Op. 70, as played by Jacob Blizard:
Jacob's arrangement of the Valse Triste from Sibelius's Kuolema, Op. 44 followed; he was again joined on stage by duo partner, Leonard Ranallo:
Another solo outing followed, this time featuring Daniel Nitsch's interpretation of two Paco Peña pieces, a Rumba and a Colombiana:
Finally, we heard another Mohit Dubey arrangement, this one a reworking of music from Ghana, originally for an indigenous instrument from there, the gyil. Dubey spent some time in Ghana last year and this arrangement was an expression of his admiration for the local music. In an effort to capture the sound of the spider-web-filled gourds that lie beneath the pitch tongues of the gyil, the three guitarists here placed paper strips between their strings. The effect was wonderful. The trio was, from left, Jacob Blizard, Mohit Dubey and Leonard Ranallo:
Bravo to all who played on this program! And special kudos to our arrangers, all of whom proved themselves well up to the challenge!
The rest of the studio will perform next week. On that program, there will be a voice/guitar duo and an oboe/guitar duo in addition to three more guitar duets and a solo. Stand by...