?Dedicated to the Guitar Ensemble of the Dobrin Petkov Plovdiv Music College, this has two movements Locomotive and Intercity.
The first movement, marked Lento, has some lovely modern yet tonal chords spread out across the parts after which the piece increases in pace and complexity before there is a fun section with tambor, whistle-like harmonics and various slidings up and down the neck which sound to be suitably pistonlike. If I say that it seems unusual to have this happening in three-time instead of two-time, I feel sure that someone out there will remind me that there used to be a three cylinder steam engine with a cranked axle many years ago. Anyway, it works, and that's what matters. With a suitable mix of variation and reprise, this short movement finishes, perhaps suggesting that the engine has come out of the sheds and backed into the station. I can almost see the Fat Controller now.
The second movement, Intercity, is faster and longer, and I'll go all misty eyed and say one can hear the beats of the rail-joints like the good old days! This is a rhythmic little piece with little call and response motifs popping up between the rail-joints, the gently swaying carriages and a lovely little busy tune redolent of those that our august BBC used to put behind all black and white films showing steam engines at speed.
How hard is it? This is the fantastic thing about it - it's really quite easy, and grade four school kids in particular will not only want to play it, but I'll wager that they'll willingly master the few tricky spots and improve themselves along the way. The range of abilities required is not that great, making it easier to find a group that can tackle the suite. There's plenty of dynamics to help the music come alive, and the fun of tambor, harmonics, slides and a punchy rhythm make this a suite that I feel sure will be featured at a fair number of school concerts (dare I say on the concert ?platform?) from now on. The ensemble is well written, and there will be no derailments on the way to the destination. All aboard!?
Derek Hasted (Classical Guitar Magazine)