A collection for solo guitar from South America and Spain.
Forty five years ago, when I heard Vals. No.3 by Antonio Lauro, I became obsessed with this music. For some reason, in those days, it was called Vals Criollo and later Natalia, after Lauro’s neice. There seems to be a trend in South America of having several titles. Augustin Barrios’s La Ultima Canción (The Last Song) is also called Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios.
I decided to go with Barrios’s first title as it was, in fact, his last composition. Villa-Lobos, the prolific Brazilian composer, is famous in guitar circles for his 5 preludes, 12 études, Suite Populaire Brésilienne and a guitar concerto, though the guitar represented only a tiny proportion of his total output, compared with his piano and orchestral music.
His music is full of nostalgic melancholy and, even in these two light pieces, one is transported to the pre-samba world of Brazil (1908- 1912). The influence of European music, at times almost Viennese, with the syncopated rhythm combinations of 3/4 and 6/8 in the Venezualan music, make it literally unique.
As my distinguished guitarist friend Craig Ogden said, “Some of it is quite tricky.” Actually, some of it is fiendish. For years friends, including Venezualan ones, have asked me to recordit. As a composer of very different music, it seemed a strange endeavour; however, while the fingers still work, we decided to find a good space, switch the microphone on, and do it.