What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:02 pm

tosunpasa wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:43 am
<snip> What I don't understand is how is Makaroff not known today, there is no recording of his compositions. It seems that he was the greatest players of his time and his composition symphonic fantasy was the most challenging piece af that time. Surely, someone has the sheet music of Makaroff. I would like to hear anything by him. I can say that Makaroff's efforts to make guitar a more serious instrument is further realized by Tarrega. Also, Makaroff loves Kaspar Mertz and talks about his great pieces, does anyone know what are these pieces?
Excellent questions!
  1. Makaroff is unplayable. When I looked at some of his music, I saw why. You need a 10-string guitar to play his music. His music contains 7-note chords all over the place, and a range that is so wide that I cannot even read the notes. I have to sit and count ledger lines (both above and below the staff) and calculate the notes. Aside from that, the music is difficult. He loves long stretches of 32nd-note figures. I am happy to send you my collection of Makaroff partituras. Send me a private email.
  2. The range is so wide, that I suspect that he did not have the kind of 10-string guitar that we have today. Perhaps he played a modification of the Russian 7-string guitar, but I am not familiar with these instruments, so that is ignorant speculation.
  3. Mertz's published music is what Mertz could sell. There was a limit to how complex you could write and still get your music sold. I think that all the great guitarists had that problem: Giuliani, Carulli, Carcassi, and certainly Mertz. Their published works are far from their most ambitious works, for which there was no market. Mertz is known to have written and played much more complex music than he published. Makaroff hand-copied some of those more ambitious pieces, and I believe that there are a few of them still in existence (that is, Makaroff's copies of Mertz's unpublished works).
Last edited by Yisrael van Handel on Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:07 pm

How does Mertz compare to Regondi?

I have played Regondi's Introduction and Caprice which was quite difficult, but it did fit the guitar very well. In terms of Romantic composers, was Regondi more ambitious than Mertz?
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tubeman
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by tubeman » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:13 pm

George Rochberg's 80 minute "Paganini Variations" also comes to mind. Although technically a transcription of his mammoth solo violin work, he and Eliot Fisk worked on it together to produce virtually a new composition. I think one or two of the variations were the set piece for a competition a few years ago. I'd say that very few of them would be playable by mere mortals!
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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:41 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:07 pm
How does Mertz compare to Regondi?

I have played Regondi's Introduction and Caprice which was quite difficult, but it did fit the guitar very well. In terms of Romantic composers, was Regondi more ambitious than Mertz?
See for yourself. About 150 Mertz partituras are available for free at Boije.
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tosunpasa
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by tosunpasa » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:04 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:02 pm
Excellent questions!
  1. Makaroff is unplayable. When I looked at some of his music, I saw why. You need a 10-string guitar to play his music. His music contains 7-note chords all over the place, and a range that is so wide that I cannot even read the notes. I have to sit and count ledger lines (both above and below the staff) and calculate the notes. Aside from that, the music is difficult. He loves long stretches of 32nd-note figures. I am happy to send you my collection of Makaroff partituras. Send me a private email.
  2. The range is so wide, that I suspect that he did not have the kind of 10-string guitar that we have today. Perhaps he played a modification of the Russian 7-string guitar, but I am not familiar with these instruments, so that is ignorant speculation.
  3. Mertz's published music is what Mertz could sell. There was a limit to how complex you could write and still get your music sold. I think that all the great guitarists had that problem: Giuliani, Carulli, Carcassi, and certainly Mertz. Their published works are far from their most ambitious works, for which there was no market. Mertz is known to have written and played much more complex music than he published. Makaroff hand-copied some of those more ambitious pieces, and I believe that there are a few of them still in existence (that is, Makaroff's copies of Mertz's unpublished works).
Do you think that since the 20th century, the guitar composers have overcome this limitiations of 19th century publishing. Have the compositions gotten improved over the time, with the changing norms of artistic expression and publishing possibilities via new mediums? I would like to see an harmonic comparison of one of Mertz's advanced pieces against Villa-Lobos. I have one other curiosity, why is Russian 7 string guitar not the standart around the classical guitar scene, or europe? It seems that 7 or 8 string creates more opportunity to express bassline, maybe something similar to baroque lute. Or is it excessively tiring to play and unnecesary?

razz
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by razz » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:13 pm

My vote goes to Alberto Ginastera's Sonata # 47.

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Muggins Simoon
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by Muggins Simoon » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:29 pm

My vote is also for Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 24 Caprichos de Goya. There are deep layers to this piece. Read Frank Bungarten's comments about it from his Classical Guitar Magazine cover story in 2000.
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djajasoekarta
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by djajasoekarta » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:30 am

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:58 pm
djajasoekarta wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:31 am
From 19th Century I think Sor Op.16 stands out as the most ambitious.
Perhaps, but have you looked at the bigger pieces of Regondi? Or the Grande Polonaise by Bobrowicz?
Sure Stephen, adding 'as one of the' or 'perhaps' would be better to describe my words :)

Anyway my money still on the Op.16. I think with 1 Intro, 1 Theme & 9 Variations it's more ambitious than Regondi's and Bobrowicz in terms of length, scope of the guitar technique and difficulties. I really love the Jazzy 3rd Variations of the Op 16

But perhaps there's could be more pieces by Coste, Legnani or perhaps Carulli's which haven't surfaced/popular yet which deserve the Crown of the Most Ambitious sub-category 19th Century 8)
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sxedio
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by sxedio » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:35 pm

tosunpasa wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:04 pm
I have one other curiosity, why is Russian 7 string guitar not the standart around the classical guitar scene, or europe? It seems that 7 or 8 string creates more opportunity to express bassline, maybe something similar to baroque lute. Or is it excessively tiring to play and unnecesary?
I guess the key thing is that it was never adopted outside Russia, and seems to have gone down the hill within Russia too. Bear in mind that the russian 7 string tuning is DGBDGBD so it doesn't give you a lower bass range compared to the 6 string, you just have more strings spaced in thirds rather than fourths. It is more similar to other instruments in open major chord tuning such as the 18th century english guitar, the 5 string banjo etc. I've found that they are often less versatile in terms of key, they are even more bound to a 'home' key than the 6 string guitar, so less likely to inspire ambitious pieces with lots of modulations. Having said that, the english guitar had some ambitious composers, as did the Russian 7-string, so in the end its all about the composer, not the instrument.
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Sean Eric Howard
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by Sean Eric Howard » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:23 am

How about Marek Pasieczny's Spiffy?
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errrtoffie
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Re: What is the most ambitious piece written for classical guitar?

Post by errrtoffie » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:41 pm

The word "most" is different to the other but for me the most ambitious piece was carnival of Venice of tarrega or sakura (some traumatic experience playing inside of my head.)

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