Gilbert Biberian 24 Preludes, book I Preludes I-I2.

“ . . . I congratulate Matanya Ophee for recognizing its true worth and finally bringing this wealth of material to the attention of the guitar-playing public . . . The album’s production quality is first rate with the music copy being as clear as could be imagined . . . those of you with the appropriate technique and imagination just invest in this substantial collection and explore its vast possibilities for yourselves.” Raymond Burley Classical Guitar.
“Biberian’s “Preludes” have been praised for some years in the British press, and their publication has been awaited eagerly. I am pleased to report that they are worth the wait. . . When an edition offers “24 Preludes,” there may be a presumption that there will be a piece in each of the major and minor keys, but that is not the case here. Ouite a few of the Preludes are tonal, but do not fall into such a key-sequence scheme, while otherc have no well-defined tonal centers. Many of these pieces could function equally well as etudes, since each tends to feature a particular type of figuration, presenting specific technical and musical problems to be solved. Each Prelude has a descriptive subtitle to help the player ferret out the musical concept behind the piece (“Tombeau,” “Arabesques,” “Las Campanelas,” “The River,” “The Sufi,” etc.). Often intricate and complex, these Preludes are intended for a fairly advanced player, although there are no fearsome technical obstacles. They are composed skillfully and effectively for the guitar, with instrumental possibilities and constraints firmly in mind. David Grimes Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Gilbert Biberian 24 Preludes, book II Preludes I3-24.

Jan de Bobrowicz (1805-1881) Grandes Variations on a Duo from Don Giovanni by Mozart
(La Ci Darem La Mano.) Op. 6.

“ . . . The works are certainly concert items and Op. 6 in particular makes a valuable addition to the repertoire . . . I see no reason why these variations should not become a standard . . . The print is very clear and the production is excellent. The introductory notes explain sources, fingering, biography and much more. Each item would give a player (and audience) several minutes of attractive material . . . Recommended.” Neil Smith Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Matteo Carcassi, 25 melodious Studies, Op. 60

Frédéric Chopin Eight Mazurkas Op. 6- 7

“Right away, let me say this is first rate material . . . Great attention to detail is evident throughout the whole edition and this is a must for Chopin fans . . . years ago, I wanted to play Chopin on my guitar but many editions failed to live up to expectations. This one does work, does sound good and it is from the exact period. I am glad to have this and feel certain that anyone remotely interested in Chopin will also want a copy. Print and layout is excellent as per the Orphée standards.” Neil Smith Classical Guitar
“This is a scholarly presentation of eight Chopin Mazurkas transcribed by Jan Bobrowicz, a contemporary and countryman of Chopin. Editing for this edition is by Dutch guitarist Jan de Kloe, who provides detailed critical notes on his work. An interesting introduction is provided by Matanya Ophee. Most of these pieces are short and fall somewhere in the high intermediate level of difficulty. Perhaps the most difficult thing would be in getting some of them up to the very fast metronome speeds indicated. I enjoyed reading these pieces. The edition is beautifully done. If you have an interest in trying some Chopin on the guitar, this collection would be a good way to start.” Richard Turner Soundboard Return to Catalog.

József Eötvös Wllow Variations On the Polish Folk Song Wierzba. (In memoriam Edmund Jurkowski.)

“ . . . ‘Willow Variations’ are a set of variations on the Polish folksong ‘Wierzba’. The theme itself is given in its simple form and has a haunting beauty. In the piece proper it is harmonized alla Ponce’s Folias in a chromatic style almost a variation in itself. Thereafter each variation is composed in the style of a different composer. Variation 1 is ‘A la Grieg,’ 2 is ‘A la Debussy,’ 3 ‘A la Chopin’, 4 ‘A la Gershwin’ and finally ‘Fantasia a la Weiss’ . . . Attractive and well written.” Phillip Thorne, Classical Guitar

“ . . . The five variations pay homage to composers of the past . . . In each case, the theme appears dressed in a harmonic language reminiscent of the composer in question, and the treatment ingeniously suggests a well-known work by that composer. The Weiss variation, for instance, builds upon the similarity between the given theme and the subject of Weiss’ “Fuga in d.” With its variety of musical styles, its tributes to noted composers and its skillful composition, this work is extremely pleasing. The piece suits the instrument well . . . the edition is clean and attractive.” David Grimes Soundboard Return to Catalog.

François de Fossa (1775-1849) Selected Works for solo guitar

“ . . . we confess of having truly found satisfaction in the rediscovery, thanks to this beautiful American publication, of a new star in the firmament of the solo guitar of the early 19th century; in assessing [this music] we already were well disposed towards this military gentleman with the noble and alluring smile as displayed on the cover of the Orphée publication, after reading some of his large-scale chamber music works . . . In his works for solo guitar, François de Fossa has not altered [our impression] . . . we sincerely hope that they would not be ignored. Maybe these brief notes will contribute . . . to provoke the curiosity of the more attentive reader and to enliven these works, neglected for much too long.” Francesco Biraghi il Fronimo. Return to Catalog.

Jan Freidlin (b. 1944) Strophes Of Sappho 5 postludes for guitar

“ . . . Freidlin is a prolific composer . . . These compositions are inspired by fragments of texts of Sappho, the poétesse of Lesbos. These short pieces, [are] dense as the poems that inspired them. The musical language is quite original and the whole constitutes a compilation of quality that will delight devotees of music of our time.” François Dry Les Cahiers de la Guitare

“A musical performance interspersed with poetry readings has always struck me as an infinitely preferable format to the more widely used vocal setting - you hear the words first and then have time to digest them while listening to the music they inspired. Strophes of Sappho is a superb example of this under-exploited medium. Preceded by English and Russian translations (Freidlin is a native of Siberia) these atmospheric miniatures provide the perfect background for the poignant words of the much-discussed Greek poetess. Less complex than it first appears, the musical content may be summarized as a combination of free cadenzas and repeated chordal passages using essentially triadic harmony. The first piece, which consists mainly of fragmentary melodic ideas against a C# pedal, is an exception. The work as a whole is concise and compelling, the majestic sequence of rising major chords featured in the second piece and quoted in the fifth serving as a strong central motif. Technically, there are no serious headaches . . . Presentation is excellent. A biography of the composer is included and there is even a detailed account of the translations used . . . Inspired, original and wholly accessible, Strophes of Sappho is significant contemporary work by a composer whose debut in the guitar world is a cause for celebration. Paul Fowles Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Letters from Arles for guitar

(Actual reviews not yet available.)

Jan Freidlin was born in Chita in southern Siberia. Graduated in 1971 from the Odessa Conservatory with a degree in composition. In 1973, Jan Freidlin began teaching composition at the famous Stoliarsky Musical School in Odessa. At the present time, the composer is a professor of composition at the University of Tel-Aviv in Israel to where he immigrated in 1990. Among his compositions are three symphonies (1973, 1984, 1986), the ballet Guernica”, a double concerto for flute, piano and strings (1974), several works for chamber orchestra, two string quartets and other chamber music works, several large scale compositions for piano and many vocal works.

A word by the composer:

The outstanding and magnificent personality of Vincent van Gogh had a marked influence on me for many years. His life and creativity were a vast emotional current which compelled me to write this cycle for guitar, in which I tried to reflect the rich and colorful inner world of the artist. The Letters from Arles cycle is not meant to serve as an illustration for the letters. The work should be performed as a whole, though the performance of individual pieces, or smaller groups of pieces is equally viable. Return to Catalog.

Natalio Galán (1917-1985) Sonata Breve

“Sonata Breve” is one of the better new pieces I’ve seen recently. It is very attractive, well written, edited carefully . . . Its use of strong rhythmic contrasts and its compact, solid motivic flow sustains one’s interest throughout the work . . . The contemporary sound of dissonance and chromaticism, blended with interesting rhythmic treatments (including some that give evidence of [the composer’s] Cuban heritage), makes this a most enjoyable piece of music . . . [the piece] . . . lies extremely well on the guitar . . . The publication is excellent . . . . I highly recommend it.” Garth Baxter Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Volume III: The Lute Works of John Johnson

“ . . . readers of this journal will perhaps first and foremost be attracted to the volume given over to a guitar transcription of the music. In some ways this music would be as easy, if not easier, to read from the tablature (given the third-string scordatura and the handsome typeface used in the tablature volume of this edition), . . .  The guitar transcription for the present edition was prepared by Matanya Ophee and is generally very serviceable . . .  Johnson’s music is eminently suited for guitar transcription, as he wrote for the six-course Renaissance lute without extra basses (one exception is a single low B in La Vecchia Pavan) and one needs worry only about scordatura on the third string. In fact, a few of these pieces including perhaps Johnson’s most famous piece, “Delight Pavan” are just as easy to play with the third string left at G. Generally, if there is no F# in the key signature, you might try playing it without retuning . . .  Fans of John Dowland will find much to admire here and are encouraged to become acquainted with this giant of Elizabethan music, if they don’t know him already. The edition is easy to read from and the paper is good acid-free, glare-resistant stock . . . ” Peter Danner Soundboard.

“ . . . Matanya Ophee’s guitar arrangements are therefore sensible notwithstanding the halving of note values, the absence of ornament signs, and some cumbersome fingerings. They will doubtless appeal to guitarists seeking to expand their repertory. The beauty of being able to play through Johnson’s oeuvre from a collection such as this is in the facility with which comparisons can be made and stylistic traits discerned . . . One will discover in this volume many musical jewels of great lustre . . . this edition will prove an invaluable publication to students, scholars, and performers of Elizabethan lute music.” Christopher Morrongiello Early Music. Return to Catalog.

Edmund Jurkowski Esztergomia
Tremolo Study for solo guitar.

Edmund Jurkowski, Sonata Akademicka

“This important work is, without doubt, the testament of Edmund Jurkowski, a Polish guitarist-composer who died in 1989 . . . Very rich, this inventive piece summons well the possibilities of the guitar and requires a great virtuosity. Its language maintains the foundations of tonality but evolves especially in the near universe of the atonality, or rather, in a very broadened harmony where incessant dissonances create a climate [that is] a bit rough . . . A new sonata to be included in the repertoire.” François Dry Les Cahiers de la Guitare. Return to Catalog.

Douglas M. Hein (b. 1950) Fantasia

“ . . . The edition is tastefully bound and includes a brief but informative preface. Although the contemporary repertoire is no longer lacking in works of this type, this well-written, unpretentious piece is probably more accessible, both technically and musically, than most. Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar.

“ . . . this should be a very attractive piece for performance . . . amenable to a performer who is able to find the dance-like nature in an uneven time signature . . . ” Graham Pick, Guitar International. Return to Catalog.

Wolfgang Lendle Variations Capricieuses d’après Paganini

“ . . . Editions Orphée should be congratulated for publishing a work that should, given time, appeal to many players . . . ” Raymond Burley, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Eli Magen (b. 1935) Theme and Variations

“ . . . The technical demands are nowhere very demanding . . . Eli Magen’s piece represents, I feel, an interesting excursion for the player who wants a tonal work that nevertheless has some unusual harmonizations and rhythmic structure.” Gordon Crosskey, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Domingo Prat Tangos de la Guardia Vieja

“The tangos printed here belong to a period of music history relative to the tango and known as The Old Guard. A well-informed introduction gives the reader much information about this style and, to my ears, these are real tangos, not to be confused with any pale, watery versions by imitators. A few tangos are works by by Roberto Firpo (c.1900) and his style has that superb, dramatic feel to complemet his mood. These are all set down so well by Prat; to my ears, he seems well able to impart the sound of the whole set-up: violin, harp, flute and guitar (this being a more original group formula). El Irresistible is so rhythmic, Joaquina is so Latin, Mi Noche Triste so moody, sombre and, in each of them I can hear and feel the future Tango . . . Piazzolla. A group of such pieces would work wonderfully in a concert, so melodic, so toe-tapping, well fingered and voiced to a most professional level. They deserve a place alongside the more modern tango style we hear today. The print is extremely clear with few page turns; level seems to be about Grade 6 to 7(+) UK standard. Recommended.” Neil Smith, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.


Giulio Regondi Ten Etudes for guitar

“Not to be confused with the first edition (1990), these pieces exist as a result of years of painstaking work by the editor. The first edition was based on xerox copies of the manuscript which is now owned by the editor. This has resulted in an incredible amount of detective work on the layers of ink and pen cil to reveal more accurately what was actually set down and now a balanced version has been produced. The Etudes are now set down with the changes as per the actual m/s: apparently, many of these were invisible via xerox processing and if you already possess the previous edition, then there are many, many changes here in each item. Some of the changes, for example, refer to voice-stemming, others to finger selection, others to rests and accidentals and so on. Sufficient to say that the serious Regondi player will want to compare this immediately with what is already available. These wonderful works now have a new lease of life, the remarkable Etude 2 with the wealth of modulations, the poignant Etude 4 and the rippling Etude 8. All are tremendous studies and all work so well in a concert situation. They place the composer so high on the list of the best writers for the guitar, not to mention his position in the general music scene at the time. Many features here could be easily mistaken as a creation of Liszt, etc, and it is apparent that he made few concessions to the difficulty of the guitar. This is a fine collection, updated and well printed with as much information as one could wish for. Recommended.” Neil Smith, Classical Guitar.
“In the Summer, 1991 Soundboard, I reviewed the earlier edition of these excellent pieces. This new edition led me to examine them again in more detail, and I find that they are even more delightful than I had thought then. These Etudes are truly outstanding examples of Romantic writing for the guitar, rich in harmony and texture, seductive in melody.

This new edition represents the continuing researches of the editor, and the introductory notes tell a fascinating tale of musicological detective work (and some serendipitous fortune). You will enjoy reading the story. Every effort here has been made to find the “original intent” of the composer, peeling back successive layers of alterations to the manuscripts. To the casual glance, there are few differences from the prior publication, but closer scrutiny shows numerous differences in detail (both text and fingering). Some of the changes resolve questions I had regarding the earlier edition, but I believe there are still a few missing accidentals. The fingerings given shed valuable light on the instrumental and musical concepts of the composer, and are quite workable; nevertheless, they may not always be the very best choices for a particular modern performer  . . . 

If you have not heard or played these beautiful pieces, by all means buy a copy. If you are serious about playing them, you might want to compare the two editions carefully; they both offer useful information, fingerings and interpretive ideas on the music.” David Grimes, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Enrique Santos (b. 1930) Suite Alcazarina for Guitar

Roberto Sierra (b. 1953) Toccata y Lamento Dedicated to Ben Verdery

“ . . . the brisk activity of the contemporary American guitar environment, seems to have given life to a symbiosis among various forces: performers, composers, publishers and record labels; this collaboration, besides being of mutual benefit to the parties, results in an efficient vehicle of cultural promotion for the guitar, an instrument that in the United States created oceanic multitudes of students as well as some excellent performers . . . ” Anthonio Borrelli, il Fronimo. Return to Catalog.

The Moscow ‘weiss’ Manuscript, Transcribed and edited by Tim Crawford,
arranged for guitar by Alan Rinehart.

“ . . . Tim Crawford’s brilliant all-new edition (complete with vastly superior facsimiles of the original) reveals all the available evidence concerning where the manuscript came from and, more importantly, what’s in it. Also included is a fascinating account of the lute in eighteenth century Russia; believe me, it’s worth buying the book for this alone.

As one would expect, the manuscript contains items which are duplicated in other more established sources, but not that many. Of the 48 items presented here, only five appear in the Dresden source. And even these contain some notable variants. The otherwise familiar Allegro from Le Fameoux Corsaire contains a splendid example of what Crawford describes as the ‘Ukrainian’ augmented second a subtle touch of ‘Easternisation’ which is absent from the Dresden and London versions. Elsewhere, there is much to discover. The Presto in B flat major is a veritable Weiss blockbuster . . . The same is true of the wonderfully fluid D major Courante which, like the Presto, has some how become permanently separated from its stablemates. There are even some jewels to be found amongst the ‘bogus’ compositions wrongly attributed to Weiss. The Haydnesque Menuet, for example, is a charming specimen of what lutenists must have been playing immediately before their instrument went into two centuries of hibernation.

Finally, a word of recognition for Alan Rinehart, who has made an excellent job of the guitar arrangements contained in the supplementary volume. No guitarist could ever hope to replicate the unique voice of the baroque lute, but Rinehart has successfully captured the essence of this most aristocratic of fretted instruments. The intricate campanella fingerings add several grades to the technical requirement, but it’s well worth the man-hours needed to puzzle them out. A ground-breaking publication which no serious guitarist or lutenist should be without.” Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Michael White A Sephardic Life

Michael White was born in Chicago and received his musical training at the Juilliard School, where he studied composition with Peter Mennin and Vincent Persichetti. Included in his large and varied body of works are many that involve the guitar, either as a solo instrument or as a member of a chamber ensemble. He has also been very involved with Jewish music, from the Sephardic and Hasidic repertoires as well as the music of modern day Israel. Michael White teaches graduate seminars on the music of Bach and Mozart at Juilliard. The history of the Sephardim, or Spanish-speaking Jews, is one of coexistence with both Christian and Moslem rule in Spain. With the eventual victory over the Moslems at Granada in 1492, the Christians completed the reconquest. The victors, distrustful of the Sephardim’s political allegiances and intolerant of their Jewish religion, issued the edici expelling any Jew who did not convert to Christianity in the same year, 1492. Their collective legacy reveals a repertoire of secular songs springing from medieval Jewish Spain—Sefarad. Like all Sephardic melodies, the ones chosen here exist without supporting harmonies, accompaniments, or meters. Since this melodic repertoire is inextricably bound with the Spanish cultural milieu it seems only natural to set it for the guitar, the “idiomatic sound” of the Iberian Peninsula. Return to Catalog.

Marilyn Ziffrin Rhapsody for Guitar.

“ . . . the work contains much interesting structural material, especially in its rhythmic content  . . . ” Gordon Crosskey, Classical Guitar,

“ . . . basically vibrant work . . . there is more here than meets the eye  . . . ” Peter Danner, Guitar and Lute.

“ . . . a clearly idiomatic piece which employs many open string techniques, but manages to present a completely fresh approach to the instrument . . . the composer develops the limited thematic material to the full and leaves the listener satisfied and highly entertained  . . . ” John Schneider, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

The Russian Collection


“This handsomely produced collection is the introductory volume of an ambitious series intended to spark interest in Russian guitar music. It contains historical notes tracing the course of the guitar in Russia since its introduction there in the 18th century, and biographical notes concerning the cornposers presented with comments on the selected works. The pieces in this first collection span the period from the first half of the 19th century through the works of the late Aleksandr Ivanov-Kramskoi, who died in 1973. Also included are three transcriptions from works of Tchaikowsky, including one by Ophee himself . . .  Happily, Ophee has chosen some delightful examples from the six-string repertoire, and in transcribing from the seven-string has evolved some practical rules for key relationship to make the transitions as smooth as possible . . .  the collection serves as a sampler, which will undoubtedly encourage the compilation of separate collections of some of the composers represented . . .  Altogether, this is a thoroughly researched and finely produced collection that does considerable credit to Matanya Ophee as researcher, compiler, and transcriber.” Frederick Noad, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Andrei Sychra (1773-1850) Four Concert Etudes—Vol. II

“ . . . To judge by the Four Etudes, [and] comparing it with that of the most prestigious guitarists who were his contemporaries, the compositional talent of Andrei Sychra was really uncommon. Clearly, this is not meant to re-evaluate Sor and Giuliani, authors that already in 1817 had given ample proofs of their sublime talents. Rather, one needs to note the intrinsic diversity of Sychra, which moved on such detached personal expressive paths, to render necessary an instrumental quest similarly unusual. His emotive tension was in fact so strong so as to force it to eschew the very schemes of classical composure. In his Etudes, one would be seeking in vain symmetrical phrases, orderly harmonizations and a certain predictable sense of the Viennese school, the cult of the form. Sychra had in fact broken the dykes that controlled a large part of the dominating aesthetic rules of his epoch, in order to travel along a road ruled by the full feelings of contrasts and by a passion no longer disguised. In other words, his [music is] expressed with the purest romantic idiom, characteristic of the visionary Russian composers that, with the passage of time, became known and even admired beyond their frontiers. In the Four Etudes we often find a tight interplay of modulations, an indispensable means for creating that anxious state that sharpens the quest of the unattainable, an alternation between states of calm and sudden rushes, the whole enclosed in the taut murmuring of arpeggios, long passages of legato scales, unexpected apparitions of sweet melodies. There are few thematic recapitulations: all seems to gush from a continual improvisation . . .  All that remains now is to play the Four Concert Etudes, and soon, that we hope to fully convince, or at least comfort a little the fastidious detractors of guitar music, always in pursuit of the authentic romantic page. Having thus served them, we will have to observe if, after so much bemoaning [the poor state of guitar music], they will learn to pass from verbal hankering to a clear critical understanding of something that risk of being greater than they.” Ruggero Chiesa, Il Fronimo.

“ . . . The obscurity of the contents may be explained primarily by the fact that these pioneering works were originally composed for the seven-string Russian guitar—an instrument which, until a few years ago, was virtually unknown in the west . . .  Compositionally, they easily live up to the title Concert Etudes—a name bestowed upon them by the present editor. The range of the instrument is explored to the full, and the harmonic language displays a degree of sophistication shared by few guitar works of the period . . .  there is no reason why a performer with both the technical skill and the interpretational insight should not cultivate all four works into a brilliant and worthy piece of concert repertoire. Presentation is of the highest order . . .  Printing quality is excellent . . .  For any time-served guitarist in search of a physical and intellectual challenge, this publication offers a set of historic works whose debut on the world stage is almost two centuries overdue.” Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Sergei Rudnev, (b. 1955) Russian folk songs—Vol. III

“ . . . This volume is the product of many years of gathering folk songs and dances from the composer’s home country and arranging them for the guitar. Rudnev states that his purpose has been to create complete works built upon these songs and dances using folk and classical techniques. Dance Song gets things off to a happy start . . .  This first work gives a good indication of what is coming in later pieces; first the ‘simple’ folk tune is introduced and then the guitarist has to wander through a forest of technique which varies from difficult to virtuosic . . .  Rudnev’s compositions contain many references to flamenco with rasgueados, golpes, arpeggios and tremolos, but Ophee suggests that it is not a case of making the music sound flamenco-like, but rather a way of expressing himself using the same techniques . . .  One of the best pieces in the book comes with The Old-Lime Tree... This magnificent piece has been recorded by Vladimir Mikulka . . .  The most ‘flamenco’ of this collection comes with I Will Forget You When . . . which sounds nothing like one would imagine a Russian song dance to be, more in fact like a Rumba. This piece is highly entertaining, imaginative and stands out from the rest of the crowd . . .  The real ‘tour de force’ of this collection is waiting at the end, and makes a fitting conclusion to this remarkable album . . .  It is a fabulous composition that would easily stand on its own in a recital. The presentation, as usual with these editions, is second to none . . .  It would be nice to think that in a few years (or sooner!) his name will begin appearing on recital programmes and recordings. He deserves it.” Steve Marsh Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Various. St. Petersburg Composers—Vol. IV

“These editions really are models of excellence with regard to presentation and contents. The music is extremely legible, fingering is kept to a sensible level, there are copious editorial notes concerning the composers and the compositions themselves are, in the main, highly interesting . . .  Andrei Petrov’s Old Melody written in 1989, was composed for Matanya Ophee. I found this a very attractive piece of music lyrical and flowing . . .  A lovely work, and one of the best in the book . . .  White Nights Serenades is the major work in this collection. It was especially written for this album by Grigori Korchmar . . .  The White Nights is a time around the summer solstice when the prolonged twilights of evening and morning merge into a night full of light. The city does not seem to go to sleep . . .  I found this a wonderfully descriptive piece (the titles help) with many contrasts between (and actually contained within) the movements. The centrepiece, Notturno, was for me the outstanding feature, the poetic nature of which was highlighted even more by the driving force of the movements around it. I feel that this would make an immense impression on the guitar world if given enough exposure, which I sincerely hope it gets. Vladislav Uspensky’s Rhapsody on Jewish Themes was another work written for Matanya Ophee and was the seed which brought about this collection . . .  It is a virtuosic showpiece (as are many in this book) and if I had to choose one word to sum up this composition, I think ‘passionate’ would do very nicely . . .  This is a fine, worthwhile and historically important addition to the guitar’s archives. I have only touched briefly upon the importance of many of these composers; for more facts, you will have to get the book. There are hints in the introduction that there will be, in the future, another collection from this part of the world. I look forward to that.” Steve Marsh Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Various. Russian Collection Vol. V—Music by Soviet Composers.

“Most of the composers represented here will be unfamiliar to guitarists outside the (now crumbling) Iron Curtain, but this volume may help change that . . . the overall level is quite high, and there are some real treasures. My personal favorites here are the works by Koshkin, Freidlin, and Tamulionis.  . . . Few other fomms can be as moving as a well-conceived waltz, and there are three prime examples here. All of these have the characteristic sweep and grace, but otherwise exhibitradically different moods. Ivanov-Kramskoi’s “Melancholy Valse” is suitably plaintive, Koshkin’s “Valse” (second movement from The Elves) is mischievously elfin, and the same composer’s “Usher Waltz” is deliciously macabre. (It’s written “after Edgar Allan Poe.’] This last piece is really terrific! I suppose the strongest recommendation a reviewer can give a work is the statement that he will personally program it. This I will play! "Strophes of Sappho,” by Jan Freidlin, is a set of five poignant “postludes” inspired by excerpts from the poetry of the Greek poet Sappho. Each verse is to be read aloud just before the perfomlance of the related postlude. The music is written beautifully for the instrument, and complements the poetry most effectively. I recommend these heartily.

I am also very favorably impressed with Jonas Tamulionis’ “Eleven Preludes.” These are generally quite short, but have a cumulative effect, and would work well when perfommed as a set. The writing is extremely idiomatic, and sound is much richer than one would expect from the sparseness of the score. A few special effects are nicely integrated into the texture. Koshkin’s suite, The Elves, is, of course, playful, pert, and saucy. The five movements are: “Gavotte,” “Valse,” “March,” “Melody,” and “Galop.” Each piece is fresh and original, and a bright performance of the suite would charm and delight any audience. There is much more excellent music here, and any moderately advarded player will find plenty of new program material.” David Grimes, Soundboard.

“70 pages of music here, and some interesting material too . . . It’s great to see Koshkin’s Usher Waltz in print . . . This is a terrific work, and displays the composer’s penchant for quiet entrances and exits, with a great deal in between. There is whimsy, clever chromaticism, a headlong rush up the fingerboard, an arresting Bartok pizzicato combined with vibrato, staccato pedals, and more besides. There is a delightful sense of breathless hurry about most of it. Once again for the more advanced player, Usher Waltz alone compels purchase of this volume. . . .  Also interesting was the inclusion of Aleksandr Ivanov-Kramskoi’s Melancholy Valse; it gave me some small apparent insights into the Koshkin background, particularly in the chromatic movement on its second page. Some innocent arpeggiation is pretty and redolent of the title . . . A one page Serenade by Sofia Gubaidulina had altogether more flavour in its brief life, displaying a natural feel for both drama and melody.  . . . This clearly printed album has obviously got plenty going for it, and can be safely recommended. I’ve no doubt that there are guitarists around quietly building up Russian programmes, maybe even centred on Koshkin, and good luck to them: I enjoy specialised and focussed work. The Russian Collection should be a great help.” Chris Kilvington, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Boris Asafiev (1884-1949) Music for Guitar Solo—Vol. VI

“Boris Asafiev . . .  was a major figure of the musical world of the the USSR . . .  [A] Prolific composer, pedagogue and musicologist, he becme interested in the guitar starting from a tour of concerts by Segovia in 1926, of which he wrote then a favourable review. He wrote his works for guitar in a very short period, in 1939. They include some preludes, études, variations as well as a concerto for guitar and orchestra. The music is edited here according to the original manuscript. Although tonal, it is not really traditional and even sometimes a little surprising. If the Six Romances In The Ancient Style are very approachable and employ a more conventional harmony, the études and the preludes, [which] employ a more arduous writing, not disdaining dissonance, are more original . . .  this music should be studied: not really easy and pleasing on first reading, it merits to be probed for it brings something new, and by its unconventional and sometimes even unexpected character, [it] imparts a particular sound picture.” François Dry, Les Cahiers de la Guitare.

“Published as Volume 6 of Editions Orphée’s ongoing Russian Collection, the contents of this latest addition represent four or five highly productive days in the life of Boris Asafiev (1884-1949). A composer and critic whose influence resulted in his becoming the only musician elected to full membership of the Academy of Science, Asafiev’s enthusiasm for the six-string guitar was, according to the editor’s preface, first recorded in a rave review of Segovia he wrote in 1926. It was, however, another thirteen years before he started composing for the guitar, and Segovia never got to see the results. With the exception of Six Romances in the Old Style (composed Leningrad 1940), the entire contents of this album appear ta have been produced from September 10-14, 1939. It seems likely that the Twelve Preludes were first to arrive, No. 1 being little more than a rudimentary exploration of open string sonorities. The content soon becomes more developed, and by No. 3 Asafiev is demanding intricate arpeggio figures and dense chromatic chord progressions, most of which fit on the fingerboard remarkably well. Similarly guitar-friendly are the Two Etudes and the Theme with Variations and Finale after Tchaikovsky, the latter being marked as the second movement of Concerto in G, the guitar parts for which Asafiev also completed during the same fruitful innings. The real discovery, however, is Prelude et Valse . . .  a charming and sophisticated piece of music whose debut on the international stage is long overdue. Presentation is up to the usual high standard, and all sources are revealed in full . . .  I have no hesitation in recommending a first rate publication whose purchase is justified by Prelude et Valse alone.” Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.


J.S. Bach Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29 (Ratswahlkantate) and Et Misericordia from the Magnificat in D.

“ . . . The net result is very full employment for two guitarists of high ability in this skillful but testing reworking by Ophee . . .  These are two worthwhile additions to the repertory of guitar-duo music but they are not for the under-equipped.” John Duarte Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

E.-N. Méhul (1763-1817) Overture “La Chasse du Jeune Henri”

“It seems that after every new encounter with de Fossa’s work one becomes even more impressed with his unique talent, the quality of his compositions and arrangements, and his rather special way with the instrument. This arrangement . . .  is a real knock-out . . .  The edition is presented in facsimile and is very clear and handsomely produced on quality paper . . .  There is a typically well-researched and informative introduction by Matanya Ophee . . .  Another fine example of some of the gems to be found in the Editions Orphée catalogue.” Gregory Newton Classical Guitar.

“This is the very model of a well researched and well-presented edition . . .  Fossa shows himself a skilful arranger for two guitars of a popular orchestral piece much as Giuliani did with his Rossini arrangements . . .  Recommended.” Peter Batchelar Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Loris O. Chobanian Souvenir Homenaje a Andrés Segovia.

“ . . . One of the more interesting aspects of the composition is its harmonic diversity: two or more guitars together have the capability always of realizing sonorous, rich and suggestive combinations, as Chobanian must know well, having written music also for three and four guitars. Luckily, in this case, he has not listened to Segovia . . .  who maintained that two guitars are less intelligible than a single one, and that three guitars create confusion . . . ” Anthonio Borrelli, il Fronimo. Return to Catalog.

César Franck (1822-1890) Prélude, Fugue et Variation Op. 18.

“ . . . The Franck Op. 18 is a ‘find’ and Ophee is to be congratulated for adding both a first- rate work and a new name to the guitar duet music catalogue . . .  the arrangement is excellent . . . ” Raymond Burley, Classical Guitar.
“ . . . incredibly beautiful . . .  I would love to hear John and Julian wrap their fingers around this one!” John Schneider, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Johann Padowetz (1800-72) Concert Variations on the Carnival of Venice Op. 62

“ . . . Padowetz’ Concert Variations would make an excellent closing item to a recital or, indeed, an encore . . .  this is certainly not a piece to limp through, and to make any impact at all it must be played at the required speeds and very confidently. Played well, with the tongue firmly in the cheek, would be effective . . .  As with other Editions Orphée works, page turns are possible in performance, printing is crystal clear and bar numbers are added . . .  Matanya Ophee’s introduction, as always, gives very adequate information about both the composer and his work.” Raymond Burley, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Máximo Diego Pujol Tango, Milonga y Final.


Alexander Radvilovich (b. 1955) Time and Again Stories

“ . . . Russian composers have long been associated with a fascination for fairy tales, and this has helped produce many highly original and colorful compositions. In this work, Radvilovich has taken texts from three modern children’s stories written by Donald Bisset, an Englsih actor and writer. The stories themselves are fanciful and charming, and Radvilovich says he was immediately impressed “with their inherent musicality.”The stories are “The Quacking Pillarbox,”“Under the Carpet”and “The Pig Who Tried to Fly.”[For those on this side of the Atlantic, a “pillarbox”is a free-standing mail deposit box.] Although the stories are intended for children, audiences of any age will be able to appreciate their clever and slightly skewed wit. The music is conceived and composed with great skill and inspiration to complement and enhance the stories, and the guitar trio part is very musical and listenable even divorced from the narrative. In combination with a skilled narrator, the sum effect could be magical (and enormous fun). This piece could be a real high point in a guitar trio concert. There are no insurmountable technical barriers, but the guitar parts are not for children; in fact, a successful performance will require a fairly advanced guitar trio. Recommended with enthusiasm.” David Grimes, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Igor Rogaliov (b. 1948) Times of the Miraculous for 3 guitars

“ . . . Igor Rogaliov is a composer and pianist now teaching at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Among his many works for various instruments and ensembles are two operas, one of which was banned by Soviet officials in 1980. In the notes for “Times of the Miraculous,” the composer describes the odd flights of fancy that come unbidden when the mind is disturbed or distressed, when everyday objects take on new forms, animations and meanings. Such altered viewpoints have inspired the six short movements of this guitar trio: “Times of the Miraculous,” “Mechanical Toy People,”“The Gloomy Stork,” “The Clay Cowboy,” “Flower Waltz” and “The Straw Princess Who Would Not Laugh.” The music is generally tonal, spiced by chromaticism and frequent touches of Slavic modality that can be emotional and moving. The ideas are developed well within the smallscale framework of the individual movements, and the musical references to the scenes described by the titles are clear. The parts are not difficult (upper intermediate), and the music lies well on the guitar. The introduction mentions no other guitar compositions by Rogaliov, but he obviously knows how to write idiomatically and appropriately for the instrument.” David Grimes, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

Guitar and Voice

James Flint Jr. (1779-1855) A Selection of Popular Sacred Songs

“ . . . This selection of ten popular sacred songs and formal hymns with guitar accompaniments, made by the Unitarian minister James Flint Jr., was published in America around 1837. These must have enjoyed a considerable amount of favour because they were still in print in 1870, 33 years later. The songs were shared by many different Christian churches, and they were deliberately kept simple so that they could be played, sung, and enjoyed by as many as possible, extending the influence of the chrch into the musical lives of the congregation . . .  The guitar parts are surprisingly varied and well thought out, and to achieve this [Flint] has blended all the accompanying techniques that were in vogue . . .  Historical notes are given on each of the songs. The first four hymns use the th string tuned up a semitone to F; this gives sonority to the chords, and makes playing in the key of F more readily accessible . . .  These sacred songs once so popular with congregations all over America have now become archive music for the connoisseur, and for those especially interested in the historical and cultural background of the guitar in America during the 19th century. They perhaps show that even in decline the guitar was not forgotten by the dedicated few who loved it.” Sandra Hambleton Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Richard Pick (b. 1915) 12 Christmas Carols

“ . . . Although carols are only heard for a short time they are universally popular, and if one is looking for a traditional treatment of a nice selection of carols with full texts, then this would be the book.” Sandra Hambleton, Classical Guitar.

“It’s happened again. That reliable Engine of Circuitous Execution has once more done its job admirably the earth and the sun have completed the most recent turn of their supernal sarabande, leaving us correctly aligned with the stars, the moon, and the publishing world on the brink of yet another issuance of the same old Christmas carols. But this time (so they will tell us) they’re better. And I think that this time . . .  they are better. Richard Pick’s post-summer solstice offering is wonderfully arranged as solo, duo, and (sometimes) trio guitar works. His fingering includes accompaniment, at times lovingly embellished, solo variation, chord symbols, melody lines, and a separate booklet of Iyrics, with verses complete. This is a fine collection of carols for the guitarist . . . . The edition itself is up to the usual high standards of Editions Orphée. I strongly recommend this collection.” Richard Pattie, Soundboard.
“ . . . Disguised in the book is quite a lot of flexibility, as all can be performed as classical guitar solos or as duets with another instrument playing the melody . . .  Chord symbols are also included. The words for the carols are given in a separate little booklet. The guitar arangements all work really well, not easy but very nicely written. This is a good collection of Christmas carols . . . ” Sarah Clarke, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Richard Pick 14 Songs of Love

“This volume . . .  has an eye catching cover in shades of lilac, with a nude female torso entwining itself around the shape of the Spanish guitar; not a new concept, but attractively done in this version to underline the theme of love. There are more engravings within the book, which is well set out, clearly printed on heavy weight paper, with full English texts . . .  if you enjoy hearing well known songs with some fresh musical ideas in the accompaniments, then this is the volume for you.’’ Sandra Hambleton, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Charles Dvorák (b. 1953) The Bones Of The Greeks for soprano and guitar.

Chamber Music

Ludwig van Beethoven Serenade Op. 8 in D Major.

“ . . . the Matiegka arrangement proves to be one of the finest examples of early 19th century Viennese Gebrauchmusik and a valuable addition to the repertoire . . . an impressive edition of something that should interest all players of chamber music . . .  the publication is all one could hope for . . . ” Peter Danner, Guitar and Lute.
“Matanya Ophee, a scholarly musician of awesome energy, has revised the guitar part to accord more closely with Beethoven’s intentions . . .  The result is far more rewarding to the guitarist, too often given no more than is necessary to keep him/her awake during the chamber music of the period . . .  The separate parts are beautifully laid out and printed, with no page-turn problem for anyone . . .  This is exactly the kind of edition needed in this area of the repertory.” John Duarte,Classical Guitar.
“ . . . we are very fortunate to now have one of the most charming and skillful pieces of early 19th century repertoire at our fingertips . . .  This music belongs in every serious performer’s library . . .  Let this set the standard for publishers to come!” John Schneider, Soundboard. Return to Catalog.

J.S. Bach Adagio from Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564.

“ . . . a through-composed cantilena with harmonic support above a throbbing bass . . .  is ideal material for an arrangement of this kind, the solo line available to various instruments (in the baroque tradition) . . .  the guitar part is well laid out . . .  A very desirable addition to the working stock of with-guitar chamber ensembles . . . ” John Duarte, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

François de Fossa (1775-1849) Trio Op. 18 No. 1 in A Major for violin, guitar and ‘cello.

“ . . . the edition of Margarita Mazo is conducted with appreciable scientific criteria . . .  it is accompanied by an extensive historical introduction by Matanya Ophee, a preface by Mazo in which all the editorial procedures, as well as the methods used in producing the facsimile of the autograph manuscript are clearly stated . . .  presented with notable graphic elegance . . . ” Danilo Prefumo, il Fronimo. Return to Catalog.

Roberto Sierra (b. 1953) Tríptico —Quintet for guitar and strings

“ . . . Tríptico is one of the bright new works performed a few years at the Second American Guitar Congress at Wake Forest University. Tríptico is a three movement work in which Sierra has tried to evoke the music of the Caribbean. The rhythms of the folk and popular music of the area are present on virtually every page. This gives the music its main interest; it is not likely that the audience will leave a recital humming any tunes from this piece, but it is very probable they will be bouncing to the rhythms. Sierra wanted to write music that is idiomatic for the guitar, and he certainly does here. There is very little that doesn’t lie quite nicely under the fingers . . .  This is an excellent publication from Orphée. Page turns for all the instruments are intelligently located . . .  This is a welcome, quality work for the guitar in a chamber setting. The guitar world has been begging for non-solo music for years. Several publishers are making a real effort to fill this need. Hopefully, works like this one will be purchased and played.” Garth Baxter Soundboard Return to Catalog.

Roberto SierraPrimera Crónica del Descubrimiento for flute and guitar

Roberto SierraSegunda y Tercera Crónicas del Descubrimiento for flute and guitar.

Lute books

Monuments of the Lutenist Art.

General editors John M. Ward and Tim Crawford.

Volume I; The Moscow ‘Weiss’ Manuscript, Transcribed and edited by Tim Crawford

“ . . . Tim Crawford’s brilliant all-new edition (complete with vastly superior facsimiles of the original) reveals all the available evidence concerning where the manuscript came from and, more importantly, what’s in it. Also included is a fascinating account of the lute in eighteenth century Russia; believe me, it’s worth buying the book for this alone.

As one would expect, the manuscript contains items which are duplicated in other more established sources, but not that many. Of the 48 items presented here, only five appear in the Dresden source. And even these contain some notable variants. The otherwise familiar Allegro from Le Fameoux Corsaire contains a splendid example of what Crawford describes as the ‘Ukrainian’ augmented second a subtle touch of ‘Easternisation’ which is absent from the Dresden and London versions. Elsewhere, there is much to discover. The Presto in B flat major is a veritable Weiss blockbuster . . . The same is true of the wonderfully fluid D major Courante which, like the Presto, has some how become permanently separated from its stablemates. There are even some jewels to be found amongst the ‘bogus’ compositions wrongly attributed to Weiss. The Haydnesque Menuet, for example, is a charming specimen of what lutenists must have been playing immediately before their instrument went into two centuries of hibernation . . . ” Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Volume II: Various. The St. Petersburg ‘Swan’ Manuscript

“Here is a landmark publication, if ever there was one. Having languished in the Library of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences for some two hundred years, the entire contents of this huge anthology are now available to musicians and scholars worldwide. Tim Crawford’s superb introduction reveals a wealth of factual information, some of which comes as quite a surprise. First of all, the manuscript is clearly not of Russian origin. The compiler appears to have been a German speaker, and the contents are collected from mainly Western European sources. This means, of course, that much of the material is available elsewhere, but to have it all here in one volume is nonetheless of great value. François-Pierre Goy’s inventory contains a detailed account of alternative sources, an important distinction being drawn between concordances (versions which contain the same melody, bass and harmony) and cognates (different settings of the same melody). Many famous names are represented, François Dufaut, Robert Johnson and both Gaultiers being just four of the star attractions. Lutes of up to twelve courses are required, although a comparatively user-friendly ten-course will cover some of the ground. The mysterious numbers under some of the tablatures indicate that the piece has been adapted for a viol variant known as the baryton. I have to confess that, until this review copy arrived, I had only a vague idea of what a baryton actually was, so I will take the liberty of quoting from Crawford’s notes for the benefit of those who might share my ignorance:

‘During the early years of the 17th century, English viol players established a high profile among European instrumentalists. This was largely due to their large-scale adoption of the playing technique they called lyra way, a chordal style in imitation of the lute. In order to make this difficult solo style more effective on the instrument, some makers and/or players experimented with the use of extra sympathetic wire strings which were not touched by the bow, but which resonated to provide a sustaining bloom to the bowed sound.’

Crawford goes on to describe how these additional strings were eventually situated behind the neck in order to be plucked with the left thumb, this final development being the defining feature of the baryton. The last part of the manuscript contains a small selection of keyboard tablature, including two German songs. This, however, is a small diversion in what is essentially a collection of material for lute; 157 solo pieces plus three lute duets (one incomplete). The additional items for viol, baryton and keyboard bring the grand total to around 200. Presentation is superb. The condition of the manuscript is obviously above average, and the French tablature is intricate but legible. The fact that the principal scribe makes no visible distinction between b and h is not a serious problem since the context invariably excludes one or the other. However, the occasional inconsistencies in the note values make unprepared sight-reading a hazardous pursuit. Anyone wishing to explore all the avenues should ideally have two lutes at his disposal (a ten-course and a twelve). He will also need liberal quantities of time and patience: a total of ten different tunings are used. In short, this is an important publication whose long-awaited arrival is to be warmly welcomed. At first sight, the cover price may sound a lot, but for a product of this quality it is wholly justified. Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Volume III: The Lute Works of John Johnson

“ . . .  there is a large amount of very good Elizabethan lute music which most of us have never played or even heard. A substantial chunk of it is presented in the edition under discussion here. Now at last we have the first edition of the collected works of John Johnson . . .  The editor is John Ward, who recently retired after over three decades as Professor of Music at Harvard . . .  The music of John Johnson is some of the most immediately appealing in the entire lute repertory . . .  Johnson is best known today for his lute duets, most of which are variations upon ground basses or popular tunes. He takes obvious delight in the great variety and many subtle surprises he can wring out of a gradually mutating series of simple rhythmic motifs presented over an often banal chord progression. Lutenists have long known and recorded several of these duets, some of them multiple times, but a few of the best are viritally unknown. Ward prints fifteen of them in all. Performers looking for audience-pleasers . . .  will have a field day with John Johnson . . .  My reaction to Ward’s edition is fundamentally gratitude that it is finally complete and in print, giving me and others a convenient overview of most of Johnson’s irresistible works . . .  for most performers this edition will be a great pleasure to use. Ward and the publisher are to be commended for presenting the edition in a form suitable for both scholars and players—tablature and the two forms of transcription each in its separate volume. The tablature font looks almost like a 16th- or early 17th-century print, and is for the most part easily readable and ideally laid out with minimal page turns within pieces. The tidy and compact appearance of this edition belies the immense effort that must surely have been expended in its creation . . .  Finally with this edition, John Johnson will begin to get his due recognition among musicologists, guitarists, and lutenists as one of the major composers of the Elizabethan Renaissance. Douglas Alton Smith, Soundboard.

“Johnson’s contribution to the development of lute composition during the Elizabethan age was nothing less than monumental. His music was copied by amateur and professional scribes into well over 30 manuscripts, was emulated by Dowland, Holborne, Morley and Byrd, and was disseminated widely on the continental mainland. After Dowland’s music, Johnson’s compositions were the best known abroad.  . . . The keyboard transcriptions are well made and well spaced. The part-writing is adequately represented (though occasionally an inner voice poses seductively as a soprano melody). A standard G tuning has been assumed without octaves in the bass . . .  The tablatures are conveniently spaced with eight staves per page, and page turns are often placed between sections . . .  Johnson’s music lies comfortably on the modern six-string guitar, as it was initially composed for a lute of six courses . . .  Matanya Ophee’s guitar arrangements are therefore sensible notwithstanding the halving of note values, the absence of ornament signs, and some cumbersome fingerings. They will doubtless appeal to guitarists seeking to expand their repertory. The beauty of being able to play through Johnson’s oeuvre from a collection such as this is in the facility with which comparisons can be made and stylistic traits discerned . . .  One will discover in this volume many musical jewels of great lustre . . .  this edition will prove an invaluable publication to students, scholars, and performers of Elizabethan lute music. Christopher Morrongiello, Early Music.

“John Johnson (died 1594) was the first notable English lutenist and Editions Orphee have made his complete output available in three notations designed to satisfy the needs of guitarist, lutenist or keyboard player. Guitarists can be grateful that Johnson played a six-course lute, because all you have to do is tune string 3 to F# and you can then play his music directly from the tablature or from Matanya Ophee’s guitar transcription. There are no notes below the compass of the modern guitar to be re-octaved - a constant problem with later lute music. For a brighter, more lute-like timbre, one could use a capo on fret 2 or 3 to approximate the pitch of the original . . .  The tablature type face is beautifully clear . . .  the standard of printing is high, and elegant. What of the music? . . .  well worth playing. Particularly the duets (the earliest extant English), both the ’equal’ variety in which the tune is passed back and forth between the players (The Flat [i.e minor key] Pavan and Galliard and La Vecchia Pavan and Galliard) and the flashy treble and ground type (the Short Almaines, the Dumps and Trenchmore). Together with the substantial solo Delight Pavan and Galliard these are valuable additions to the guitarist’s repertory. Robert Spencer, Classical Guitar. Return to Catalog.

Johnson (guitar transcription)

“ . . . readers of this journal will perhaps first and foremost be attracted to the volume given over to a guitar transcription of the music. In some ways this music would be as easy, if not easier, to read from the tablature (given the third-string scordatura and the handsome typeface used in the tablature volume of this edition), . . .  The guitar transcription for the present edition was prepared by Matanya Ophee and is generally very serviceable . . .  Johnson’s music is eminently suited for guitar transcription, as he wrote for the six-course Renaissance lute without extra basses (one exception is a single low B in La Vecchia Pavan) and one needs worry only about scordatura on the third string. In fact, a few of these pieces including perhaps Johnson’s most famous piece, “Delight Pavan” are just as easy to play with the third string left at G. Generally, if there is no F# in the key signature, you might try playing it without retuning . . .  Fans of John Dowland will find much to admire here and are encouraged to become acquainted with this giant of Elizabethan music, if they don’t know him already. The edition is easy to read from and the paper is good acid-free, glare-resistant stock . . .  ” Peter Danner, Soundboard. Return to catalog.

Various. The Königsberg Manuscript

Methods and books

Jacques Chaîné The Orphée Database of Guitar Records

Matanya Ophee Luigi Boccherini’s Guitar Quintets—New Evidence—To which is added, for the first time, a reliable biography of François de Fossa, his portrait and a check list of his known compositions.

“ . . . absolutely convincing and brilliant . . .  what a beautifully printed edition . . . ” Yves Gérard, Internationally known Boccherini scholar.

“ . . . the biographical study about de Fossa presents for the first time reliable information on his life and work . . .  well documented monograph . . . ” Miguel Coelho Guitar Review

“ . . . an important musicological document . . .  displaying exacting scholarship, Ophee presents solid evidence . . . ” Jim Schwartz, Guitar Player Magazine.

“ . . . Ophee’s study resembles a detective novel . . . this is a book which belongs on the shelves of every institutional music library and every serious guitar scholar’s library . . . ” M. June Yakeley, Classical Guitar.

“ . . . Stimulating new work . . .  this is the most painstaking monograph on a guitaristic subject I have seen to date . . . ” Peter Danner, Guitar and Lute.

“ . . . a fortunate encounter between historical musicology and archival research worthy of a detective . . . ” Danilo Prefumo, il Fronimo. Return to catalog.

Domingo Prat Diccionario Biografico-Bibliografico . . .  de Guitarristas

Emilio Pujol Guitar School—I-II

“ . . . an elegant and impressive tome . . .  beautifully translated by Brian Jeffery and carefully annotated by Matanya Ophee. Indeed I find that these annotations and explanations make this new English version preferable to the original . . . ” Alice Artzt Guitar Review
“ . . .  Pujol mentions the Sor and Aguado methods in his Introduction and declares his intention to set down the principles of Tárrega and `also those elements which have derived from it through the constant evolution of technique’. Book 1 makes an interesting opening to a method since he describes in detail the history of the guitar vivinv msnv examples from Sanz. Corbetta etc . . .  Hand positions are shown in excellent drawings and each and every movement is explained . . .  (Pujol divides up the guitar into convenient groups of 4, 5 or 6 frets providing the student with notes, information, scales and pieces set within each group and at the close, twelve studies allow the student to pursue the aims of the course . . .  unreservedly recommended to all those concerned with the fascinating world of the guitar.” Neil Smith, Classical Guitar. Return to catalog.

Emilio Pujol Guitar School - III

“ . . . For years, Pujol’s “Escuela Razonada de la Guitarra” has been the method of choice for many serious students and teachers . . .  The sole obstacle to its widespread use in the United States has been that the only available edition was printed in parallel Spanish and French . . .  ten years ago, Editions Orphée released a combined edition of Books One and Two in English translation. This has been of immense value to the English speaking guitar community, but we have waited eagerly for the addition of Book Three, which contains the core of the method . . .  [which] contains all the basic technical material to equip a student for the traditional repertoire. It deals extensively with the strength and independence of the individual fingers of both hands, focusing carefully upon one aspect at a time, and emphasizing precision and efficiency of movement. An especially useful feature of Book Three is that each idea is treated sequentially in three forms: example, exercise and etude. This gives a logical progression from the presentation of the initial concept to its acquisition by drill to its application in a musical setting . . .  Peter Segal’s translation provides a clear and concise text, while capturing the flavor and sense of Pujol’s instructions and advice.” David Grimes, Soundboard. Return to catalog.

Richard Pick School of Guitar The Guitar in Pedagogy-Practice-Performance

“ . . . Don’t expect a “method book” here in the sense of a progressive and graded presentation of techniques and exercises. Although the introduction does give a brief overview of guitar technique, the bulk of the material actually forms a comprehensive treatise on fingerboard theory. I wish this had been available the last time I taught that course, when I could find no suitable text that was currently available. The main thrust of the School of Guitar is to instill in the student a conceptual and practical grasp of the patterns formed by the scales, principal chords and common harmonic progressions in each key. Each key is treated separately, beginning with scale patterns, moving on to triads and seventh chords in various inversions and spacings, examining typical resolutions and progressions, and concluding with one or more pieces in the key . . .  This is all extremely valuable and informative, and there is a wealth of material, allowing a teacher great flexibility in the order and manner of presentation for a given student or class . . .  Two main benefits can be expected to accrue from diligent use of Pick’s School of Guitar. First, sight-reading fluency and technical assurance should improve as the notes in a score are perceived as familiar fingerboard patterns. Second, improved understanding of harmonic movement (and its relationship to musical structure) should make for better phrasing and shaping. These results are, of course, much to be desired . . .  Used under the direction of a good teacher, supplementary to a student’s other practice materials, these volumes can help greatly to “round out” the guitarist’s education and make him or her a much better musician.” David Grimes, Soundboard.

“ . . . If some you knew and trusted told you that they’d found the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, had been there, and offered to take you along, would you go? We have here a guitaristic equivalent, one that I can’t find enough superlatives to describe.

Every now and again, someone in the music publishing world decides to quit catering to the lowest common denominator of the general public and releases a really worthile book. This is certainly the case with a recent edition . . . of The Complete Richard Pick School of Guitar.

Richard Pick is a sort of mythical figure in the American guitar world. He’s based in Chicago, and in the 50s and 60s published a fine series of beginning tutorials and repertoire pieces with Forster Publications. Most of these are out of print now, but they’re well worth a search. Anyway, Pick has been working on this current method for about half a century, and has really distilled a lot of the myriad data tha’s contained in so many other methods into its purest and most important essences.; . . .  Pick’s basic thesis is that guitarists need to learn to put the music first, and realize that their guitar is merely a tool to accomplish this goal. Too many students, even at college level and beyond (and including some teachers!), get this concept bassackwards and think that just because some-thing is played on the guitar it is automatically wonderful. Sorry: junk is junk, and nowadays bad music shouldn’t be any more acceptable than bad food or a bad check.
There is of course a vast world of difference, another galactic plane even, between simple music played well and with feeling, versus more difficult music thoughtlessly hacked apart. This concept likewise confuses some people, who seem to think that criticism of the latter implies de facto contempt for the former.

But I digress.

Pick’s idea of “begin at the beginning” is highly practical, but perhaps a little misleading. The School of Guitar is not designed for novice players, and assumes a basic knowledge of the fretboard and of standard notational conventions. But you don’t need to be a virtuoso, either. I also want to stress that it is equally adaptable for steel string fingerstyle playing as well as to traditional classical approaches. The aforementioned Book I is a concise analysis of the functions of the right and leff hands, and ends with three pages of the most practical and challenging left-hand warmups I’ve ever encountered. Book II offers scales, block chords, and arpeggio exercise in all the sharp (#) keys, even unto the remote corners of A# minor(!) Book III does the same for the flat (b) keys. book IV is an appendix with a series of chord resolution exercises, a glossary, instructions on reading figured bass, and miscellaneous information. At the very end is a “bonus” suite not listed in the table of contents. In between all the technical stuff can be found all sorts of Interludes, Preludes, original works and arrangements. One gets the impression that Pick has a deeply ingrained pathological hatred of seeing empty white space anywhere on a page! As I said, this is a magnificent effort, deserving of a historical place alongside the methods of Sor, Aguado, or Foden. There is at least two years of intensive study material in these pages. I personally have been working on it since early February, and can truly say that my playing and reading skills have improved enormously. Run, don’t walk, and get a copy right away. And best of luck with page 201!” David Norton, Intermountain Acoustic Musician. Return to catalog.

Larsson/Danner Catalogue of the Rischel and Birket-Smith Collection of Guitar Music in the Royal Library of Copenhagen.

Alcázar (Ed.) The Segovia-Ponce Letters

“ . . . the correspondence contains material that touches various captivating themes. The letters are written in Spanish, accompanied by an English translation by Peter Segal (a work accomplished with obstinate accuracy . . .  To Miguel Alcázar and to the Editions Orphée the merit of having made us relive the events of a world by now distant, but haunted by personages that are still part of our artistic daily life.” Ruggero Chiesa il Fronimo. Return to catalog.

Thomas F. Heck Mauro Giuliani: Virtuoso Guitarist and Composer

“The rehabilitation of Mauro Giuliani proceeds apace. We are still trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff. and Thomas Heck’s magnificent biography can only assist that process. He has succeeded in restoring Giuliani, firmly and unequivocally, to his rightful place among such prominent Viennese composers of the time as Hummel, Spohr, Salieri and Moscheles. If Beethoven towered over all of these, it is because he was the sort of genius who would have towered in any company.Giuliani’s beginnings in Bisceglie and subsequent growing-up in Barletta, both Adriatic coastal towns, are traced with the enthusiasm of the true researcher. His later career, in Vienna, Rome and Naples, is meticulously documented. The illustrations - mainly etchings and engravings from the period, title pages and musical examples—are copious and always relevant. A checklist of the earliest editions is of particular value . . . Thomas Heck’s biography is going to stand for a long time as the main authoritative work on Giuliani. It is an engrossing history of a guitar composer’s growth and development at a fascinating time in Vienna’s and Europe’s, musical history. The growing number of people who are attracted to this music (and at its best it is worth anyone’s attention) should take steps to obtain a copy forthwith. I should add that the setting, editing, printing and binding are all of a very high standard. Colin Cooper Classical Guitar

“You have excelled yourself in this production, which is not only a fascinating and superb book but also probably the most beautifully produced volume I have had the joy to handle.”Private communication from Stephen Kenyon. Return to catalog.


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