Monday, June 10, 2013

Townsend: Suite No. 1 for guitar

Today is a bit of an experiment. As I mentioned in this post, last weekend I did some recording, which I haven't done for quite a while. I have been lucky enough to connect with a very capable recording engineer, Ken Basman, so I think I will do a number of projects.

The experiment part is because there are a few new elements here. I have previously put up music that I have written (in this post), but that was a piece I wrote quite a while ago when I was writing in a rather different style: moment form. In recent years I have been working on rediscovering how to write harmony in a bit more traditional sense. I've also been working out how to write idiomatically for the guitar. You would think that would be easy, but it's not! Even if you are a guitarist. I find that I can only use about half of my musical ideas on the guitar. But I have written two suites I am pretty happy with, one in 2011 and one in 2012. For the future I am going to be making more use of all those musical ideas that don't work on guitar. I have written a six minute piece for orchestra and I'm working on a string quartet.

But this week I have recordings of all five movements of my Suite No. 1 for guitar. Here is the title page:

So this is a relatively new piece of music, newly recorded. I have created a little movie to go with it, but since I have a new iMac, I am wrestling with a really new version of iMovie, so bear with me! Today I am putting up the first movement, "Bagatelle". A bagatelle is a "short unpretentious instrumental composition". Both Beethoven and Bartók used the freedom of the form (there is no fixed form) to write short experimental pieces. William Walton wrote a spectacular set of five bagatelles for guitar. Mine is a short piece hovering between D major and B minor that I hope both charms and entertains.


Matthew Briehl said...

Really nice! I particularly enjoyed the Chant and the Finale. I know you've posted the scores for both of those movements before, but do you happen to have the full score for the entire suite available for purchase anywhere? I'd be really interested in learning to play all five movements.

Bryan Townsend said...

Hi Matthew. I don't think I have put up the full scores to the suite on the Music Salon. No, it is not published commercially yet. My Four Pieces for violin and guitar are available from The Avondale Press in Vancouver. If you are interested, I would be happy to send you a pdf of the suite. Just leave your email in a comment.

Matthew Briehl said...

Sure, that would be great, my email is Thanks so much for sending it, I'm sure I'll have a great time learning to play all of the movements! Sorry for the late response, I sent an earlier reply, but my computer must not have sent it properly.