Three contrasting pieces for solo guitar depicting soundscapes and images from cities and towns throughout the world from the busy urban Metropolis to the ‘classic English scene in late summer… of swallows flying around a country church spire’.
City Scenes is recorded by Gary Ryan on the CD Visions and Vistas.
Rush ‘opens in five with a darting, weaving bass melody and harmonic language similar to the Cuban feel of Leo Brouwer’s 1st Study’. Later on it is reminiscent of Venezuelan composer Antonio Lauro with ‘poly-rhythms and syncopations in 3/4 time’. It is a lively, energetic piece that ‘originally started out as a study for the right hand thumb’.
The title, Metropolis, added retrospectively, reflects ‘the non-stop hustle and bustle of a musical “city” where influences combine from many different ages and musical cultures.’ This piece contains many interesting technical aspects such as the 4th finger jumping ‘from the first string to the lower bass strings’ and ‘left hand hammered chords with right hand finger clicks and tamboura, creating a visual juggling effect when performed’. Nearer the end the sound of a city siren can be heard as can a musical quote from La Catedral by Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios Mangore.
Birds Flew Over The Spire is a short, lyrical piece that explores ‘various ways in which the left hand can form the same harmonic shapes around the fingerboard…. A classic English scene in late summer is that of swallows flying around a country church spire. I have also always loved watching birds float on thermals, warm currents of air rising from the ground. It struck me that the phrasing and the shapes and patterns of movement in the left hand should be similar to a bird arcing and floating on a thermal, hence the title.’