The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

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Altophile
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The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

Post by Altophile » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:53 pm

I was watching Stephen Kenyon's superb performance of The Old Castle, by Mussorgsky (arr. by Segovia), and it struck me that the fingerings look pretty straightforward. Also, the pace of the piece is slow enough that the position shifts would seem to pose no real challenge to navigate with a little practice.

Can folks here who've performed this piece comment on where it falls on the 'difficulty scale'? As I said, it looks to be of only moderate technical difficulty, but good guitarists can make things look easier than they really are!

I love this piece, and I'm thinking about adding it to my 'must learn' list, but first want to see if my assessment is correct.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVBETUCTlEI

~Sean

MaritimeGuitarist
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Re: The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:26 pm

The Royal Conservatory of Music lists it a level 7 piece, though I can't remember if it was the Segovia arrangement or not. At one time, it was included in the RCM grade seven repertoire book. Grade 7 is generally considered late intermediate early advanced.

I played this piece many, many years ago--probably not very well at the time. I don't recall much struggle playing the notes, rather, I found the real challenge for me was to make it sound musical. I found that the D pedal tone can get quite monotonous unless the melody is shaped and balanced really well. I think Stephen does a really terrific job on this piece--it's just about as good as I've heard. Thanks for sharing the link.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:29 pm

Thanks for your kind words 🤓
Its fiddlier than it looks but its just the kind of strangeness you get in transcriptions, rather than serious technical challenges-nowhere near as hard as Capricho Arabe for instance.
Like many things, part of it is how much one wishes to push the legato-it gets easier if chord shapes are lifted a bit early.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
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Altophile
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Re: The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

Post by Altophile » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:23 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:29 pm
Thanks for your kind words 🤓
Its fiddlier than it looks but its just the kind of strangeness you get in transcriptions, rather than serious technical challenges-nowhere near as hard as Capricho Arabe for instance.
Like many things, part of it is how much one wishes to push the legato-it gets easier if chord shapes are lifted a bit early.
I had a hunch that was the case so thanks for confirming.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:15 pm

Also worth saying that far as I'm aware the only proper place to get this transcription is the complete Segovia transcriptions pub. Berben - and its worth getting the whole book, big and probably expensive though it is.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

JohnB
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Re: The Old Castle: Question to Those Who've Played It

Post by JohnB » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:05 pm

I have a transcription by Patricio Galindo, revised Miguel Abloniz, also published by Berben. I haven't compared the whole of it to Stephen's excellent recording but it doesn't seem too dissimilar. (This transcription is titled "Il Vecchio Castello", rather than "The Old Castle".)

It came to me by chance many years ago. I had joined a small group class of disparate players to keep my hand in (the main attraction was the pub which all of us made a bee line for afterwards). Anyway, the teacher once threw this sheet music over to me and said "If you can play this by next week you can keep the music". Well, I played it - or at least the "first draft" of playing it - so it is do-able.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

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