Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (2018)

(L to R) - Peter Lieuwen, composer / Isaac Bustos, guitarist / Brad Sayles, producer / Franz Krager, conductor

Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (2018)

2/2/2/2 2/2 timp/hrp/1/perc/strings/guitar

I – spirited
II – ethereal
III - fiery

 Written for guitarist Isaac Bustos, the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra offers lively syncopation derived from Latin music and jazz, impressionistic harmonies, and minimalist textures in a neo-classical setting. The sonic design of the work includes frequent 7th, 9th and 13th chords interspersed with modal passages. Tension and repose is often created through the juxtaposition of consonant pandiatonic sections with those employing the dissonant octatonic scale which is based on alternating semitones and whole tones.

Movement one opens with several rasgueados (a guitar finger strumming technique commonly associated with flamenco guitar music) followed by melodic gestures emphasizing the interval of the 7th or 9th. These gestures occur in various forms throughout the movement and form much of the harmonic and melodic basis for the full concerto.

In sharp contrast to the first movement, the second movement opens with a suspended, practically motionless, harmonic and rhythmic “chorus” that creates a backdrop for the free, improvisatory guitar introduction. A pastoral aura characterizes the ensuing music.

Opening with the Brazilian Baião rhythm (3+3+2 feel), the third movement is replete with combinations of even and odd rhythms and meters. After an orchestral fanfare, the music is at first reflective before becoming increasingly restless (you may hear an allusion to Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra). A brief cadenza leads back to the opening section before ushering in an effervescent coda.

~ PL



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