Romantic Paraphrases [work in progress] for solo guitar

Scores: email info@alanthomas-guitar.com

 

My ongoing series of Romantic Paraphrases grew out of my love of the great Romantic pianist-composers, from Chopin and Liszt up to Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. As a meagre pianist myself, playing their music in its original form has been out of my reach. And sadly, my many attempts to transcribe my favourite pieces for solo guitar have ended in frustration, with too much of the original being lost to justify trying/failing to play the piece on the guitar.

But as a thought experiment, what if these great composers had been guitarists instead of pianists, how would they have "captured" their musical ideas with the more limited resources of the guitar? Overlooking the tautological absurdity of the entire notion, I was led to taking the characteristic melodies, harmonies, rhythms, textures etc. of particular pieces in order to make idiomatic guitar pieces of them. While this sometimes takes the form of near-transcription, more often it's a process of adapting and reinterpreting musical material into a new context--hence the term "paraphrase".

This is conceived as an ongoing, somewhat open-ended project, with more pieces gradually being added in the next few years. The pieces so far are...

Paraphrase on a Chopin Etude is an arpeggio study in C major, adapted from Chopin's Op. 10 No. 1, and employing "cello" tuning. For guitarists, it will be reminiscent of Villa-Lobos's First Etude, but with a lot more jumping around of the left hand!

Paraphrase on a Stanchinsky Fugue

Paraphrase on a Stanchinsky Prelude