Dragons Moods & Safaris-20th & 21st Century Music
- (Lexington Guitar Trio)
- Format: CD
Even before reaching it's second anniversary, the Lexington Guitar Trio has performed in several states, won a top prize in a rare national chamber guitar competition, and produced it's first CD. It's competition triumph was being a finalist and third-place winner of the Mid-America Chamber Guitar Competition at the Festival by the same name held in the Chicago area in March of 2003. Christopher Bingcang, Duane Corn, and Michael Fogler found each other in Lexington, Kentucky and originally were playing with a fourth player in a quartet. When the fourth player decided to leave the group very early on, the three remaining players decided to go with the trio. LGT enjoys a wide-ranging repertoire from the Baroque and Classical to the Spanish and Latin American and beyond. Particularly rewarding for the trio has been connecting with contemporary composers writing music for three guitars. Highly-regarded Portland, Oregon composer, Bryan Johanson sent the group two of his unpublished, hand-written manuscripts. The result of this has been the performing and recording of Johanson's Dragon Dance and Sakura Safari - all with the praise and approval of the composer himself. LGT continues to carve itself out a niche as a guitar ensemble actively seeking innovative, high quality music for three guitars from the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. CD PROGRAM NOTES: Guitarists love to play Spanish music like the two selections from Manuel de Falla and the two from Isaac Albeniz. This music sounds quite at home on guitar; and with a group of guitars, it's even better. De Falla's Corregidor from El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three Cornered Hat) and the Danza del Juego de Amor from El Amor Brujo (The Enchanting Love) are from orchestral ballet scores. Canción de Cuna (a lullaby) and Córdoba (named after the famous Spanish city) are piano pieces by Albeniz. Paul Hindemith, a giant among twentieth-century composers with an enormous list of compositions, wrote exactly one piece involving guitar, and it's this short Rondo for Three Guitars. The Rondo was composed as a musical intermezzo for a music festival in Berlin in 1925. It's a wonderful, chromatic little gem, which only leaves us wishing he had written more. Stepan Rák, a guitarist-composer from the Czech Republic, has written numerous guitar solo and ensemble pieces. The Four Moods title is a bit deceiving. There are actually at least two moods per Mood - a real study in contrasts. L'Evasion by Astor Piazzolla is, of course, a tango. What else did he write? He's the undisputed Tango King from Argentina. This was probably for some kind of bandoneon group. Piazolla's tangos are very popular these days, being played by every sort of musical instrumentation one can imagine. Baião de Gude is a thoroughly Brazilian piece by Paulo Bellinati, a celebrated guitarist-composer in that country. Baião is a dance from the northeast of Brazil, and 'de Gude' refers to 'Bolas de Gude,' a game of marbles played by Brazilian children. We just think it's a cool piece. Bryan Johanson's music was a discovery for us. We were privileged to have the two pieces represented here sent to us by the composer in hand-written manuscript form. At the time of our recording this music, these pieces were not yet published or recorded. Johanson's music is wild, crazy, fun, and challenging. Dragon Dance is a sharply rhythmic piece, full of dissonance and energy. It was written in the year 2000 - the Chinese Year of the Dragon. Sakura Safari, completed at the end of 2001 is in a class by itself. Going from 'Bartok pizzicatos' to tremolo to rhythms and sounds which indicate rock 'n' roll roots, it weaves the Japanese Sakura theme in and out. A through-composed multi-section piece, the Safari gradually builds toward a rousing climax. It's hard to describe this piece; but by the time we've finished playing it, it feels like we've been on a safari and back.