El Amor y la Muerte

Amor y Muerte Cover

In the nineteenth century, Francisco Tarrega brought the guitar in front of the footlights again after a period of decline in which many considered the guitar a mere folk instrument, not suitable for the performance of 'serious' (classical) music. Tarrega's cooperation with the guitar builder Torres lead to the design of the modern instrument we now know. Tarrega developed a new technique for this instrument and adopted a unique style in which he introduced 'folk music styles' like tremolo and tambora.

Tarrega had a talented pupil, Miguel Llobet, who composed many pieces in the style of his master. One of Llobet's works was a set of arrangements of Catalan folk songs. These arrangements feature a characteristic sound and chord texture, with harmonies which are particularly guitaristic. These beautiful pieces have one major drawback: they present a rack for the left hand.

Again, I fell in love with the tunes, just like with the Brazilian ones. That was the reason why I attempted to arrange Llobet's pieces, first for guitar duo (to extend the DOS Amigos repertoire). The arrangements worked, and I found out that they sounded for guitar and flute as well. By separating the solo and accompaniment sections of the original arrangement, I could achieve more consistency than (technically) possible with the original solo piece.

Considering the moods of the songs, the Catalan folk songs are quite close to everyday life in which love and death play their distinctive roles. That’s why I selected the title El Amor Y La Muerte (Love or Death), which is no real coincidence to be true, because El Amor Y La Muerte is the title of a very emotional ballad from the Goyescas for piano solo by Enrique Granados, which features some of the sound of the folk songs. The arrangements of the Danzas Espanolas by Granados are well known in the guitar repertoire, hence the connection.

Van Teeseling Music Publishers has published the book under number VT379.

The songs reflect quite a few moods and backgrounds. Muntanyes Regalades (Golden Mountains) is a joyous song about the promises of the moon, you sometimes get. Plany is a deeply sad lament, which very often makes me emotional during playing, this song is bound to invoke some lump in your throat. El Testament d' Amelia, well, the title is self-descriptive, isn't it? Cancion del Lladre sings about a magpie, hearing the music, you see the little thieving animal patter of with its loot. La Filla del Marxant is a tender tribute to a lover from the Catalan district Marxant. Cancion de Cuna is -as the title indicates- a cradle song. El noi de la Mare reflects the quiet wash of the Mediterranean on the Catalan shores on a beautiful sultry night (How I would like to take another holiday in that region).

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