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October 22, 2014 "Halloween"
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This week’s edition of Classical Guitar Alive! features features spellbinding guitar music ranging from the comically spooky to the disturbingly eerie.
The program begins with music often identified with gothic horror films, most notably The Phantom of the Opera: Bach's Toccata & Fugue in d minor, BWV 565. Philip Hii performs his solo guitar transcription.
One of most chilling works of the guitar repertory is Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's The Cry of Merlin. This programmatic work tells of the Wizard Merlin of Arthurian legend who feels his magical powers waning as civilization advances. He retreats deeper into the forest in a futile attempt to regain them, where his cries are heard. This piece contains a surprise toward the ending: taped animal sounds which, combined with the music, is profoundly eerie. Also, be warned that if you have any house pets within earshot of these animal sounds- they may behave strangely! I personally witnessed a tame lap dog turn vicious and threatening while this piece played!
Humphrey Searle used 2 poems of T.S. Eliot as the text for his darkly humorous Two Practical Cats. The first is Macavity the Mystery Cat, followed by Growltiger's Last Stand. The piece is scored for narrator and chamber ensemble with guitar.
Russian composer Nikita Koshkin was also inspired by classic literature. His Usher Waltz is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's story, The Fall of the House of Usher. The piece reflects the story, which tells of a guitarist who is gradually driven insane as his house crumbles around him.
French composer Francis Kleynjans piece titled At Dawn of the Last Day is another programmatic work which depicts the final moments of a condemned prisoner. The first movement, Waiting, describes the tense agony of the prisoner waiting in his cell as the clock ticks away his final hours. The second movement, Dawn, uses a 4-note repeated pattern to describe the man pacing in his cell and finally marching to his fate. The piece uses many unusual playing techniques for dramatic effect to simulate bells tolling the hours, footsteps, and creaking doors, and, finally, a falling guillotine blade!
The ballet El Amor Brujo, by Manuel De Falla, is a gypsy ghost story of a young woman under the spell of the ghost of her former lover. The program ends with the LA Guitar Quartet performing excerpts, ending with the Ritual Fire Dance.
Program ID# 12-D65-00043
Title: 12-43 Halloween
In Cue: MUSIC IN "Hello and welcome to.."
Out Cue: MUSIC IN "...another edition of Classical Guitar Alive!"
Program Length: 58:57
Bizet: Carmen Suite: Prelude
Los Romeros (Philips 412-609)
Bach: Toccata & Fugue in d
Philip Hii, guitar
Schafer: The Cry of Merlin
Norbert Kraft, guitar
Searle: 2 Practical Cats
Patrick Mason, narrator
David Starobin, guitar
Susan Palma, flute/picc
Timothy Eddy, cello
Koshkin: Usher Waltz
Ricardo Cobo, guitar
Kleynjans: At Dawn of the Last Day
Roberto Aussel, guitar
Falla: El Amor Brujo
LA Guitar Quartet
CLOSING THEME/FUNDING CREDITS