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Notes on the performers
James Woodrow trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and very quickly became established as one of the country’s leading contemporary classical and electric guitarists, beginning with performances of works such as Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint with the Rambert Dance Company, and in Boulez “Le Marteau sans Maitre”.
He is in continuing demand and much sought after by various contemporary music ensembles, such as Lontano and the London Sinfonietta, and is a long-standing member of both the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and Icebreaker. He performs regularly as soloist and ensemble player with the London Chamber Symphony, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the LSO, The New London Chamber Choir, Music Projects London, Almeida Opera and the BBC Singers.
Johann Jakob Froberger (1616 – 1667)
Tombeau pour Monsieur Blancrocher (arr.Lorimer)
Froberger was a German Baroque composer, keyboard virtuoso, and organist. In 1652 he witnessed the death of the famed lutenist Blancrocher (who was his friend and reportedly died in his arms having accidentally fallen down the stairs). Although Blancrocher was not an important composer, his death left a mark on the history of music, as Couperin, Gaultier, Dufaut and Froberger all wrote tombeaux lamenting the event. The tradition of the Tombeau is one which was popular at this time but has been largely lost today. It was a work composed in memory of a
recently deceased person, slow and often deeply emotive in style. With its origins in French literature, the tombeau was first taken on by the French lutenists of the early sixteenth century.
Source: Wikipedia / spanishguitar.com
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Prelude Fugue and Allegro BWV 998
Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro in E-flat major, BWV 998, is a musical composition for Lute or Harpsichord. The piece was written around 1735. Arranged for guitar, it is usually played in D major with a Drop D tuning. The Prelude is similar to the Well-Tempered Clavier, in which there are many arpeggios. There is a pause in the motion, when just before the coda, there is a fermata over a third-inversion seventh chord with a rich suspension. There is a rare example of explicit consecutive fifths in the left-hand of bar 46. The Fugue is one of only three that Bach wrote in ternary form, with an exact repetition of its contrapuntally active opening section framing a texturally contrasting central section. The Allegro is a binary form dance with 16th notes.
Gavin Bryars (b. 1943)
Lauda Dolce No.2 (arr.Woodrow)
Gavin Bryars was born in Yorkshire in 1943. His first musical reputation was as a jazz bassist working in the early sixties with improvisers Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley. He abandoned improvisation in 1966 and worked for a time in the United States with John Cage. Subsequently he collaborated closely with composers such as Cornelius Cardew and John White. This is one of three pieces for solo cello called Tre Laude Dolçe that Gavin wrote for Audrey Riley in 2006, as well as duo versions of the same pieces with Audrey and James Woodrow.
Alban Berg (1885 – 1935)
Piano Sonata Op 1 (arr Woodrow)
Berg’s Piano Sonata, Op. 1, was published in 1910. It is Berg’s only piano work to which he gave an opus number. The sonata is not in the typical classical form of three or four contrasting movements, but consists of a single movement centred in the key of B minor. Berg originally intended for the Sonata to be a more traditional multi-movement work, the opening movement followed by a slow movement and a finale. However, for a long period he lacked any ideas for these other movements. Berg turned to Schoenberg, who commented that the lack of inspiration meant that ‘[Berg] … had said all there was to say’. Following Schoenberg’s advice, Berg decided to publish the finished movement and let it stand by itself.