Štěpán Rak: Balalaika
for solo guitar.

12 pp., $9.95, Presser Order number 494-02118 (PWYS-24)

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And is here a recording by the composer of the Balalaika.

MP3 format, 1.8MB, 7:40 duration.

rak.jpg - 10961 Bytes

Štěpán Rak's Balalaika is an original virtuoso guitar solo based on a medley of Russian folk tunes employing some of Rak’s innovative right-hand techniques. Dedicated to Mikhail Gorbachiov. As recorded by the composer on Nimbus Records NI 5239. Here are some reviews which appeared in the press shortly after it’s publication in 1994:

“Rak is a guitar ‘name’ these days and one finds in his compositions a fusion of so many elements . . . that bold, direct ‘Gitano’ style, unchanged for centuries . . . Guitaristic to the extreme, musical and so individual, powerful and yet sentimental and he (like so few these days) is not afraid to write a real melody, a tune to hum or recall and really want to play. He does it time and again . . . the work is based on a Russian folk song. That ability of Rak’s to perfectly mimic one sound-style is demonstrated from the first note to last and we have not just one theme but two or three attached end to end making a very lowing work . . . if you are looking for a virtuoso piece in a Russian style, look no further . . . Recommended.” Neil Smith, Classical Guitar.
“ . . . Rak’s works are often difficult technically, but this piece, based on a Russian folk melody, is approachable. His music is often challenging to listeners as well, but here Rak has joined the many twentieth-century composers who appeal to a wider audience through the use of conventional harmonies and folk tunes . . . Balalaika can be thought of as one big crescendo. Lasting for eight minutes, it is a test of the guitarist’s skill in creating and sustaining a sense of drama on the stage . . . ” Michael Curtis, Guitar Review.

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Last Modified: Sunday, December 03, 2006 04:32 PM