A Fire Rekindled

Solo guitar ; 2015 ; Duration ca. 6 minutes 50 seconds

I have long been drawn to the warm, subtle and intimate sound qualities and the expressive performance techniques of the classical guitar repertoire. And yet, although I played acoustic and electric guitar myself during my teens and very early twenties, primarily within jazz and rock ensembles, several decades went by when I simply did not have occasion to write for this captivating instrument. Thus when the superative guitar virtuoso Dieter Hennings asked me to write a piece for him to play and record, this was an opportunity not to be missed.

This piece is constructed somewhat like a necklace, cycling through a collection of interlocking, mostly fragmentary and open-ended melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and textural ideas that recur continuously in various orderings, recombinations and contexts. Some of these ideas incorporate performance techniques derived from, or reminiscent of, a variety of guitar traditions that I have enjoyed, including Flamenco, renaissance and baroque lute music, Spanish and South American repertoires, and jazz, folk and electric guitar practices.

I wanted this piece to have a spontaneous, improvisatory, direct, and game-like quality, but at the same time to convey a thoughtfulness, and perhaps also a sibylline, "I don't surrender all my secrets immediately" crosscurrent. Most of all, although the piece is technically demanding, I wanted it to be exhilarating to play and, for listeners, to follow.

A Fire Rekindled is dedicated to my wife, Nancy C. Schindler.

PDF score excerpt

This excerpt, measures 36 through 77, beginning roughly a minute and a half into the work, incorporates several of the prominent motivic ideas that recur throughout the piece, including:
  • rapid, quasi-random arpeggios of chords;
  • cascading runs of natural and artificial harmonics (high pitched, "pinging" tones);
  • Flamenco Rasgueado techniques (rapid, overlapping up-and-down strumming of individual fingers across the strings);
  • various types of tambura ("timpani-like") timbres and articulations;
  • golpe (finger and knuckle percussion on the wooden body of the instrument); and
  • unvoiced vocal percussive sounds.

MP3 audio excerpt
A performance by Dieter Hennings of the two minute pdf score excerpt above.
Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds; size 3.7 MB; 256 kBit 48 kHz stereo encoding

QuickTime Movie video/audio performance of the complete work by Dieter Hennings
Duration: 7'18", size: 553MB

This work was premiered on November 6 and 8, 2015 concerts presented by the Broadband Ensemble at the Eastman School and at Ithaca College.

For performance information on this work please send e-mail to the composer at allanwschindler@gmail.com

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Copyright 2015  Allan Schindler
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