Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998*
The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-flat major, BWV 998 is an imposing and virtuosic work that incorporates the principal manners of fingerpicking instrument playing. Bach’s interest in the lute was nurtured by his friend Sylvius Leopold Weiss, a resident musician in the court orchestra at Dresden from 1717 to 1750. Weiss was regarded as the most renowned German lutenist of his day. A manuscript copy of this work, which was written sometime during the early 1740s, is now in a private collection in Tokyo. A modern debate has risen in the twentieth century about whether Bach composed it for the lute or an instrument called the Lautenwerk, a lute-like keyboard apparatus. The indication on the autograph score, however, makes it clear that the music is “For lute or keyboard". From the work’s three movements, the opening Prelude is in the constantly arpeggiated texture of the style brisé, which originated in France in the seventeenth century. Bach’s innovative skills is expressed through the insertion of a pause just before the coda, where a fermata is placed over a third-inversion seventh chord. The chord is then completed with a rich suspension followed by a flurry of sixteenth notes propelling the motion forward the end of the movement. The Fugue is on a subject in eight quarter notes presented in all the four voices in the opening section. This subject is further developed in the middle section with episodes employing sixteenth notes offering a rich contrapuntal texture. The fugue closes with a literal repetition of the opening section, resulting in a ternary A-B-A form. The closing dance-like Allegro is in binary form and has the joyous character of the Italian triple meter corrente, presenting vigorous running sixteenth notes in a
continuously moving rhythmic figuration.
From Partita No. 2, BWV 1004
This piece is regarded as one of the most sublime works Bach ever created. Written over an old variation form, the theme is presented in the first four measures in the typical chaconne rhythm in triple meter with a chord progression based on a repeated bass note pattern. Bach further developed the pattern into a total of sixty-four continuous variations. The overall form is tripartite, with the opening and closing sections in D minor interspersed by a solemn middle section in D major through a kaleidoscope of musical expression in both keys. Since Bach's time, several transcriptions of this piece have been made for other instruments. When Johannes Brahms arranged the Chaconne for piano left hand in 1877, he wrote in a letter to Clara Schumann that “On one stave, for a small instrument, the man [Bach] writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite
certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”
*Guitar Arrangement by Nander Novaes
Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849)
Andante e Rondo No. 3
From Trois Rondo Brillant, Op. 2
D. Aguado’s Edition
Born in Madrid, Aguado was a Spanish guitarist and composer who dedicated his life to the technique and pedagogy of the guitar. He moved to Paris in 1825 and immediately gained an enviable reputation as a virtuoso and teacher. In the years before his final departure from Paris back to Madrid in 1838, Aguado was in close collaboration with the also guitarist and composer Fernando Sor. They gave many concerts together, and Sor dedicated a duet op.41, Les deux amis, to his younger colleague. Together with Sor’s Méthode pour la Guitare of 1830, the collection of three guitar methods written by Aguado (Escola de Guitarra of 1825, Nouvelle Méthode de Guitare, op. 6, and his tour de force, Nuevo Método para Guitarra, 1845) represent the central texts for the history of the guitar and its technique in the classical period. They have influenced guitar students, scholars and performers ever since. His Andante e Rondo in A minor was possibly written in early 1820s, and it is considered one of the most important pieces from the classical repertoire. The Andante serves as an expressive and solemn introduction to the Rondo, composed with a lyric melody framed with a slow harmonic rhythm and pace. The latter is a fast and vivacious movement that contrasts with the first, and it presents a principal theme (sometimes called the refrain) marked by an imposing melody with accompaniment. It is followed
by a series of contrasting episodes which alternate with the refrain, presenting virtuosic arpeggio and scalar figurations. A cadenza is placed a moment before the closing section, which serves as a preparation to the conclusive statement of the refrain.
Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
Asturias (Leyenda), Granada (Serenade), Cádiz (Saeta), Sevilla (Sevillanas)
From Suite Española, Op. 47
Manuel Barrueco’s Edition
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual was a Spanish Catalan pianist and composer best known for his piano works based on folk music idioms. His op. 47 is a suite originally written for solo piano. It is mainly composed of works written in 1886, which were grouped together in 1887 in honor of the Queen of Spain. Like many of Albeniz’s works for piano, these pieces depict different regions and musical styles in Spain. For instance, the first title refers to the geographical region portrayed, and the title in parentheses is the musical form or dance from that particular region. From Granada in Andalusia there is a Serenata, from Cadiz a Saeta, and from Sevilla a Sevillanas. Asturias is an exception since its subtitle is “Leyenda” (Legend), reason why it deserves special attention. The piece was first published in Barcelona in 1892 as the opening "Preludio" (the original title given by Albéniz) of a three-movement set entitled Chants d' Espagne, op. 232, a
collection entirely inspired by the Andalucia region - the home of flamenco. In 1911, a posthumous publication advertized the piece entitled as “Asturias (Leyenda)”, inserting it into the Suite Española - the new title probably was not one supplied by the composer himself, as the defining folk instrument of the Asturian is the bagpipe, and not the Andalucian guitar which served to Albéniz's inspiration for writing this piece. Arrangements and transcriptions of these individual works and indeed the entire suite are often played in concert by classical guitarists. In fact, these four pieces, Asturias, Granada, Cadiz and Sevilla, became standard in the guitar repertoire, and they are more often heard on this instrument than in their original piano versions.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)
10. Tarantella, Op. 87b
Andres Segovia’s Edition
Born in Florence of Jewish heritage, Castelnuovo-Tedesco was a prolific composer who produced some of the most important guitar compositions of the twentieth century. At the festival of the International Society of Contemporary Music held in Venice in 1932, Tedesco first met the Spanish virtuoso guitarist Andres Segovia, and the meeting might have inspired Tedesco to write for that instrument. Later on, Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed many other guitar pieces dedicated to Segovia, who was an enthusiast of his style. In 1939 he migrated to the United States and became a film composer for MGM Studios for some 200 Hollywood movies over the next fifteen years. His guitar piece Tarantella, written in the 1930s, is a cheerful and elegant couple dance in compound 6/8 or 4/4 meter. According to the legend, someone who had supposedly been bitten by the tarantula spider had to dance to an upbeat fast tempo in order to be cured through perspiration. Apart from the speculations, Tedesco’s Tarantella invites the performer for a virtuosic adventure through fancy music marked by modulatory episodes with fast scalar figures and strikingly contrasting dynamics, all framed by its hallmark refrain based on the most recognized genre of traditional Italian folk music, the Tarantella.
At first, I am eternally grateful to God for his faithfulness and unutterable love, and to Him be all the glory. I want to express my deepest gratitude to my parents Orlando e Eunice Novaes and my wife Ana Cláudia for their unshaken faith, hope and love. They are the greatest blessing of my life. Special thanks to my advisor Ernesto Bitetti, an outstanding musician and classical guitar teacher, a man of a good heart, and a friend for life. I am also thankful to the great Brazilian luthier Antonio Tessarin for his friendship and for building instruments with such an artistry, to Derek Stauff for sharing his musicological knowledge in revising the present program notes, to Alcides e Nilza Rondina for the steps given in our behalf, to our dear Pastor Mary Cartwright for her kindness and spiritual support, to Pastor Mary Beth Morgan along with the staff of the St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Bloomington - Indiana, to the talented producers Vince Go and Teresa
Tam, and to all our family and friends who support us through their thoughts and prayers. All of you had an important role in this project, helping me to bring to reality what used to be a dream. Last but not least, I thank you for acquiring this album, Allegro, which I hope may bring joy to your life!
Nander Nogueira de Novaes, 2011
Recording Engineer: Vince Go
Recorded at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
Photographs by Teresa Tam Studio
Guitar made by Antonio Tessarin