Review by Maderna – Halffter – Borup Jørgensen by Maria Kämmerling, Paula Records, 1987
We are in 1987 and Maria Kämmerling makes this really excellent record, dedicated to contemporary guitar music. Even today the music that we can listen to in this CD has not yet actually entered the usual repertoire of a classical guitarist, a sign that thirty years after this record was released the School of Darmstadt and its heirs are still far from being appreciated in a normal classic recital.
As Italian, and Venetian, I can not but be flattered by the choice of Maria Kämmerling to start the CD with two passages by the composer Bruno Maderna: Y Despues for guitar (1971) and Serenata for a Satellite (1969), always considered as one of the most aleatoric pieces interesting never composed. Maderna is a particular figure, a true pioneer of contemporary music both as a composer and as a conductor. Y Despues was composed for Narciso Yepes’s ten-string guitar and based on the collection of poems, Poema del Cante Jondo, by Federico Garcia Lorca. The Serenade for a Satellite is completely different, where improvisation, articulated on the basis not of a score but of a graphic work where the notes are scattered in sections that can be performed in an order defined by the performer, play a fundamental role. The Serenade was also performed with a ten-string guitar.
Codex I by Spanish composer and conductor Cristobal Halffter, on the other hand, is less well known, I think I only listened to it in the versions of Leo Brouwer and Gabriel Estarellas. Codex l, written in 1963, represents one of the greatest modern works in the repertoire of every guitarist. The work is organized into three sections. In the first there is an alternation between the passages built on the basis of free dodecaphonic techniques and an extremely flexible rhythm, typical of this composer In contrast to this rigorous compositional modality, the central section employs improvisational techniques to explore the possibilities of the instrument in an almost random way. The final section resembles the introduction, but is less severe both in the thematic and in the rhythm, which in this section hasn’t a fixed meter. The work ends in a short queue, which refers to the central section.
I didn’t know the guitar opera of the composer Axel Borup Jørgensen. Born in Denmark in 1924, he grew up in Sweden, where he was influenced by the Swedish cultural environment that had responded in advance of Denmark to the late Romanticism of Central Europe and its continuation in atonal modernism, influencing his lyrical-expressionist style.
His two passages, Fur Gitarre Op. 86 of 1979 and Praeludien fur Gitarre Op. 76 of 1976 are both dedicated to Maria Kämmerling. Praeludien, opus 76 consists of a brief introduction followed by ten preludes, continually reviewed and updated by Borup Jørgensen for a period of five years: some of the preludes are studies focused on one motif, others are more complex and interconnected by variants of the same theme.
The first and last section of Fur Gitarre, op. 86, seem almost violent musical statements where they alternate powerful chords and sequences of triplets, organized in a flowing and organically flexible form, characteristic of the style of Borup Jørgensen. A great record, could it be reprinted?