26Dec/18

Haru No Umi (“The Sea in Spring”) for flute and guitar)

Review from Classical Guitar Magazine USA, by Chris Dummigan
Michio Miyagi (guitar arr. by Eugene Den Hoed)
Evocation Music Publishing, score plus flute part (15 and 8 pp.)

Traditional Japanese style offers guitarists something different
Haru no Umi, originally a piece for koto (a traditional Japanese stringed instrument) and shakuhachi (a Japanese flute), was composed in 1929 by Michio Miyagi. It is Miyagi’s best-known piece and one of the most famous for that instrumental combination. Here, Eugene den Hoed has arranged the guitar part (so I assume the flute part is roughly the same as the original shakuhachi part). On YouTube there is an enlightening, nearly eight-minute performance on the original instruments from 2010 that shows how closely den Hoed has stuck to that arrangement in his guitar part, and also the instances he has had to change some notes.

The mention of rubato in the speed marking of “Lento e poco rubato” is also interesting, because that recorded performance reveals how much freedom the performers take with the speed when playing this piece. The work uses traditional scales throughout, and the sound is captivating and very atmospheric. Both parts share the limelight at different times and the guitar is often, but not always, playing campanella-style arpeggio patterns of one sort or another. As a result the part is not too difficult to master, although the flute player has many arabesques to play, and as such has to be a considerable player.

If the traditional Japanese sound is to your liking, this wonderful piece of writing could make a welcome change from your normal repertoire. —CD

20Sep/18

Sense of Strings: Eight Pieces for Guitar Solo; Sonoras

Review from Classical Guitar Magazine USA, by Chris Dummigan
Eugene den Hoed
Evocation Music Publishing, 33 pp. and 19 pp.

Imaginative modern pieces have much momentum
Sense of Strings is den Hoed in his most imaginative style of modern-friendly writing. Graded Level 3 to 5, they offer many contrasts. The book begins with Scherzando, a leaping allegretto in E minor that is mostly in 6/8, with the occasional 3/8 and 9/8. The main theme has an upwardly surging forward motion that has considerable momentum and is very effective. The oddly titled Mystic Bags is in a mixture of 5/8, 3/8, and 6/8, and flits backwards and 1 forwards from D minor to D major, but has i a lovely lilt to it. Burlesque is an animato E major work that sounds like its title suggests, while the final Latin Grooves is full of cheeky syncopated rhythms. The other four are as good, too.

Sonaras is a set of three pieces with a much more pungent harmony to them. All the usual den Hoed trademarks are there – the flowing arpeggios in unexpected combinations, the way notes fall under the fingers well, and the constant surprises in the notes and harmonies. The three movements are all fast; indeed they get faster as they progress. In the first one, the meter is always changing, giving a sense of dislocation and unease when it shifts. The second is marked by a substantial forward momentum, while the last, in 5/4, has a repeated-note idea interwoven with offbeat rests and otherwise flies off the page to a triumphant conclusion.

Both works are up to den Hoed’s high standards.

—CD
ClassicalGuitarMagazine.com

20Sep/18

Impressionistic Bagatelles, Etudes for Guitar in Major and Minor Keys, Variations on a Theme of John Dowland, Partita Contemporaire

Review from Classical Guitar Magazine USA, by Chris Dummigan
Eugene Den Hoed
Evocation Music Publishing, 21, 31, 11 and 21 pp.

4 superb works in diverse styles
This Dutch-born composer is writing some of the most interesting and satisfying guitar music around, and here are four more of his fine volumes. There are nine Bagatelles, quite varied and imaginative, with many clever details that sound new and musically convincing, while never leading you where you expect; they constantly surprise. No. I a starts innocently enough, yet soon harmonically catches the player out with its unexpected juxtaposition of notes. Time signatures change frequently, but the whole book c is aimed at intermediate players.

The 14 Etudes are in C, D, E, F, G, A, B s major, and B minor, and are tonal, but with a elements of modality, and each piece has b a technical challenge that makes it a useful workout, as well as being an involving n piece of music. The Dowland Variations is based on the song “If My Complaints Could Passions Move” and consists of the theme and eight variations that never stray too far away from the original, but with each one a different speed and feel.

The final piece, the Partita, is in nine movements, and though Baroque dances are its starting point and it always retains an a emotional link with that era, harmonically it is clearly contemporary.

Each of these books is very different from the others, and together show how varied and cleverly written Den Hoed’s pieces are. —CD

20Nov/16

5 volumes from Eugene den Hoed

Evocation Music Publishing (first four books)
Muziekuitgeverij Iduna (Campo Tribute)

Strong pieces for the adventurous
This Dutch composer has written many works from beginner material to advanced, and, truly, all of it worth playing. Here are quick looks at some of his latest:

Short Impressions is a set of 12 pieces in a moderately modern style and of only medium difficulty; great pieces for your pupils, with no hackneyed sequences, but rather many interesting ideas and themes. Evocations Part 3 (Nos. 13-20) continue a fine set of pieces, again not too modern, but with some fascinating details and almost folk-like modal melodies at times.

Guitarayando, a sonata in four move-ments, is more difficult but just as musically diverse. Its considerable length would suit any advanced player who wants something modern but still eminently understandable, harmonically speaking. Mozart Hommage is in three movements and comes out sounding like the sonata you never knew Mozart wrote for guitar—very 18th-cen-tury in style throughout; an elegant piece aimed at the somewhat advanced player. Quite different from the other pieces here.

Finally, Campo Tribute—dedicated to Uruguayan guitar master Abel Carlevaro– is inspired by Carievaros’ oft-performed Preludios Americanos No. 3 “Campo,” and has many areas where one can recognize the comparison. It’s a substantial work of considerable charm with many lovely moments and again, a very likeable style.
All the volumes are wonderfully pro-duced and make a great addition to any adventurous guitarist’s library. —CD