In writing my Concertante for guitar, jazz trio and strings I was inspired by the celebrated Concerto for guitar and jazz piano trio by the French composer and pianist Claude Bolling.


The second movement began life as a Rumba for solo guitar in 2011 as part of a two movement Latin suite titled Tango y Rumba. The third movement was destined to become a song ‑ the chord progression and melody were written around 2013 - I thought that all I needed was lyrics when in fact what I needed was some more instruments! The harmonic progression simply twists and turns between major and minor tonalities and is an opportunity for all performers to be featured as a soloist - hence the title Concertante. All that was left to write was a first movement which was completed in 2017. I found myself quickly veering into Latin American territory and decided to be led along - the result is a kaleidoscopic movement that exposes elements of Latin, Blues, Jazz and Classical genres. These, combined with the Spanish touches in the final movement encompass the major musical styles that have influenced me over the last thirty years. I am very grateful to all of the musicians involved, with particular thanks to James Whiting whose interest and belief in the project helped stimulate this recording.


Sonata was originally recorded and premiered by my friend John Couch (to whom it is also dedicated) and was written in 2011. The work follows traditional Sonata form and is partly inspired by the large-scale solo works written by Manuel Ponce, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Antonio José. The Sonata is also my contribution to the ever-increasing repertoire of readily accessible New Zealand guitar music. While I have written many works since, Sonata remains my first large scale work. I hope you get as much joy from listening to it as I did from writing it.


The two sets of Variations on this disc reflect my life-long admiration of the McCartney/Lennon oeuvre. I decided to pay homage to two works - Norwegian Wood and World Without Love. Variations 2 (on Norwegian Wood) and Variations 3 (on World Without Love) follow a framework I admire in Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal whereby the theme is revealed at the end of the work. If I were to attach a visual clue to the listener for each piece it would be to imagine each as a cubist rendering where various lyric, harmonic, and melodic fragments are viewed from different angles. Both pieces tend to the improvisatory end of the compositional scale - I recommend that you listen to the original song immediately after hearing the Variation upon which the song depends.


The scores for all of these works can be purchased via www.sounz.org.nz






Five years ago I approached Gerardo Dirié with an idea to include two or three of his original works on a disc featuring Latin American composers. Small ideas can take on a life of their own and so it was in this instance. Gerardo suggested that I also examine a folio of works written by his brother Ariel, which were entrusted to Gerardo prior to Ariel’s passing in 2010. The result is a disc full of modern guitar works, none of which have been recorded before. My deepest gratitude extends to Gerardo Dirié, without whom this disc would not have been possible.


The lion’s share of material is attributed to Ariel Dirié and although I never got the chance to meet Ariel I can begin to understand him as a person through his musical works - some are light, some are dark, while some are playful and others serious. His compositional output occurred while teaching at the Conservatory in Cordoba, Argentina where it is common for teachers to write works for students. All of the Estudios should, however, be regarded as musical works with technical elements rather than technical works with musical elements. This distinction is what makes these works so appealing to play and to listen to. A number of the pieces feature secondary lines for percussion or guitar. These were additions I made in consultation with Gerardo who ordained them as being appropriate in style and convention.


The final three works on the disc form a triptych titled Si un dia el olvido... (If one day oblivion...) by Gerardo Dirié. Not all were composed in the same period, with the second and third movements conceived three years after The weightless pillow. Dirié writes that “this triptych gathers different evocations of time: at moments vague and light, on occasions hectic and unpredictable, and finally entangled by our own disposition to pull memories from oblivion. The last movement delicately brushes on the melodies of Bernart de Ventadorn’s Lancan vei la folia and World Without Love by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This set of works were written for and premiered by Alan Thomas”.


Scores for Ariel Dirié’s works are housed at the Latin American Music Center, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. Si un dia el olvido... (If one day oblivion...) is available directly from Gerardo via gerardodirie.net


— Campbell Ross



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