In 1741, Bach wrote the Aria and 30 variations which comprise the
Variations. The Aria (a sarabande) introduces a 32 note ground bass from which free and canonic variations evolve. While the bass line is varied within the harmonic context, it is described as “a gigantic chaconne” by Kenneth Gilbert. The appealing character of the work is found in Bach’s tremendous variety of forms and textures. Canonic treatments found in variations 9, 15, and 27 exist along side the strong dance elements of 1, 4, 7 and19. A Quodlibet featuring two German folk tunes creates a light-hearted contrast before the Aria returns to close the cycle. In most cases, with exception to the opening and closing Aria, I have elected to take repeats as indicated.
Described by Glenn Gould as “thirty very interesting but independent-minded pieces”, this work has become legendary in its virtuoso technical and interpretative requirements. While there were many frustrating months as I endeavoured to capture the spirit and magic of this music on six strings, I was nevertheless entirely possessed and compelled by it. Several variations were designated to the scrap heap, and others await my attention from a manuscript book. Bach’s Goldberg Variations stands as the piece of most profound effect in my life and I continue to be enthralled by its utter magnificence.
Play excerpt from of
Classical Guitar MP3 of Bach's Goldberg Variations: Aria excerpt from the CD
Forest Scenes is a suite of three pieces with the general theme of nature. North Face opens boldly with brush strokes and snap pizzicato suggesting a violent wind. Later, a quiet tremolo evokes a sense of calm, but the tension mounts again building to its climax. Hibiscus on the Water contrasts in its pure lyricism. As a long-breathed melody unwinds over an undulating accompaniment, the music captures the beauty of fresh hibiscus blooms, yet also communicates a sadness for their quick passing. Woodchuck Blues is a playful piece. Drawing from blues and jazz styles, syncopation, hemiola, blue notes and pizzicato combine to create a piece with real personality and pizzazz.
Free Classical Guitar MP3 of Peter Ware's Hibiscus on the Water
excerpt from Forest Scenes CD
HIBISCUS BY PISCATAWAY
Beautiful and brief
Is your blooming above
Our late summer leaf . . .
Sudden as descent of
White startled dove
Your wonder was sent . . .
At dawn you were not seen
Now you’re splashed on marsh
Where only green has been . . .
Are you butterflies
Immobilized in flight
Drifting from our skies . . .
Frail as paper boat
Are you musical notes
Dropped on creek to float . . .
Are you pastel dreams
And is our colored marsh
Not the grass it seems . . .
Soon you’re borne away
Reflected in streams
Of our Piscataway . . .
Beautiful and brief
Is your stay above
The late summer leaf . . .
- A. Ware
© Copyright 1982 A. Ware All rights reserved.
Used with permission.
Hebraic Contrasts is a collection of four movements extending from a piece I recorded in 1990. Notable in Rollin’s style is the use of compound melody where the melodic line is displaced an octave or more. As this occurs, new lines emerge in contrasting registers, frequently resulting in a two-part dialogue punctuated with chords. A slow Meditation opens the work and progresses into the quicker Hassidic Dance. In the Intermezzo, the tempo slows dramatically, while the spirited Hassidic Song closes the collection. Jewish folk melodies are interspersed in the second and fourth movements and add a sense of freshness and rhythmic vitality.
Reverie and March was composed for a series of concerts in 1994 and is dedicated to my friend and colleague Gerhard Samuel. Inspired by the Berlioz Symphonie fantasique with its Dies Irae theme, I was impelled to bring the theme to the guitar in the Reverie. This provides the foundation over which a simple, unpretentious melody unfolds. The March presents a new theme in the upper voice, accompanied initially with free counterpoint and then with punctuating chords. A chromatic, rhythmic motive marks the phrases. The B section explores the march theme in a new melodic/rhythmic guise before the abridged return and closing chords.
Drone is a study piece with driving energy and spirit. It is derived from the third movement of the Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra by Richard Smoot.
PETER WARE (May 4, 1951) like Charles Ives and Aaron Copland, has fashioned a melodic and harmonic vocabulary both distinctive and attractive. Ware’s early musical training was in the church choir and under the piano tutelage of Florence Robertson in Beethoven's lineage. He studied composition at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Cincinnati and Yale University. His principal teachers include Krzysztof Penderecki and Toru Takemitsu. Ware attracts numerous commissions with grants from the Canada Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council. He has attracted commissions and performances from ensembles such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony (Composer-of-the-Season), Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony, Orchestra London Canada, Virginia Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble/Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Queen's Chamber Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; and received composition prizes from the Minnesota Composers Forum, St. Louis New Music Circle, University of Cincinnati, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, Yale University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
ROLLIN, (February 16, 1947) Professor of Composition at the Dana School of Music, is author of over sixty published works for a variety of media. He has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, the Darmstadt Music Festival and the German Academic Exchange Service. A recipient of the Ohio Governor’s Award for creative excellence, he is founding director of the Dana New Music Festival and the Youngstown-based New Music Society. Extensive professional activities have included lecture recital tours of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Mexico. His articles have been published in The Musical Quarterly and The Music Review.
HARTING-WARE has premiered and commissioned numerous compositions. Her dedication and musicality inspire composers, drawing them in to the intimacies of the guitar. Her dramatic musical flair, beautiful tone, and variety of timbre completely absorb her audience. She received a Master of Music Degree from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Cincinnati/College Conservatory of Music. She studied in master classes with Oscar Ghiglia, Alice Artzt, Sergio Abreu, Eduardo Fernandez and Turibio Santos with principal teachers including Clare Callahan and Eli Kassner. She was the founding editor of Guitar Canada magazine and contributing writer to many music publications in the U.S. and Canada. Her desire and commitment to establish a 20th Century guitar repertory leads her ambition in publishing an annual catalog of contemporary guitar music for Acoma•Nambe Editions. Her compact disc recordings include The Many Moods of the Guitar (GXD 5732) and the Impossible Dream (GXD 5733). Ms. Harting-Ware performs exclusively on D'Addario strings.
RICHARD JORDAN SMOOT was born in Missouri (May 25, 1952) and grew up in Connecticut where he began his musical studies. An alumni of Ohio Wesleyan University and Ohio State University, Smoot's compositions have been performed in the United States, Canada, West Germany and Taiwan, and heard on National Public Radio. As a classical guitarist himself, his compositions for guitar stand out in their creative, idiomatic quality. He has received grants from the American Music Center and Ohio Arts Council.
Special thanks to Dr. Ray Sawaya and family.