Reverie on a Hill
The Italian Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) is a key figure in virtuoso guitarist-composers. He composed 200+ works including sonatas, variations on popular themes, and he wrote some of the most important studies that poses a stiff challenge for guitarists of all levels. Giuliani's music is founded upon the popular 'Italian' operatic style of the day. 'Variations On A Theme By Handel' incorporates the familiar 'Air' from the 5th suite for keyboard by Georg Handel (also known as 'The Harmonius Blacksmith', written in 1720). The first four variations gather momentum followed by a slow and gentle movement. The finale 6th section brilliantly concludes the proceedings with some typical Italian virtuoso hackneyed classicism. It is not very often that the astonishing music written by the dramatist Richard Wagner (1813-83) is heard on the guitar. The present arrangement of Tristan und Isolde heralds a world premiere. Completed in August 1859, Tristan marks the beginning of a new musical language by Wagner; thus, he delayed composing 'Siegfried', the third installment of 'The Ring Cycle' to complete Tristan. Wagner's strained finances was also a contributory factor to his change of mind. Composed for the orchestra, this arrangement captures Wagnerian harmony at it's best before he stretched 'chromaticism' to the limit in the fourth part of The Ring's 'Gotterdammerung' (where wandering and yearning are represented by constant appoggiaturas resulting in obfuscation of diatonic key). The Act I Prelude is harmonically ambiguous and history is littered with musicological arguments over the tonic key of this work; e.g., A minor, A major, C minor, etc. Arnold Schoenberg even went as far to say it might as well be in the key of E flat minor! The story begins on Tristan's ship bound for Cornwall, where he transports the Irish princess Isolde to England so that she may wed Tristan's Uncle King Marke (despite Tristan having fallen in love with her). The Act III Prelude is transcribed a semi-tone lower in the key of E minor. In this movement, the violins descend up a scale into the stratosphere via artificial harmonics. Act III represents Tristan in his darkest and most desperate moment. After a duel with his friend Melot over an act concerning a betrayal of trust, Tristan lays wounded and nearing his death. His mind is on his love Isolde, whom he waits so that they can reunite and so that she can heal him. He eventually dies in her arms. The motto theme in Cryptogram by Dale Harris is based on a hidden musical code. Cryptograms have long been used to inspire musical composition and can be found in works by J.S. Bach (B-A-C-H), Schumann (A-B-E-E-G), and Alban Berg (A-D-S-C-H-B-E-G / A-E-B-E / A-B-A-B-E-G) to name but a few. Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) composed many sonatas for the harpsichord. There is a definite Spanish and consequently 'guitaristic' undertone running through much of his music; he lived in Madrid from 1729 and remained there until 1754 shortly before his death. His single-movement Sonata's foreshadow classical Sonata form and contain many essential ingredients in miniature (e.g. multiple themes, development, recapitulation and coda). The present Sonata K.380 transcribes easily to the guitar with little adjustment needed; this approach throws up some interesting problems, e.g., the portion halfway through the B section where a particular passage requires some unusual finger placements and stretches spanning the higher sections of the fretboard. Robert Schumann's (1810-56) 'Kinderszenen, Op.15' (Childhood Scenes For Piano) is a wonderful collection of poetic miniatures that enthusiastically depicts various stages of childhood. 'Kinderszenen' captures a variety of moods from joy to sadness, slumber to tantrums, games such as 'tag' and memorable family moments such as sitting round the fireplace. In this case, considerable adjustments are needed to adapt the work to the guitar. As the mood is the most important element in this work, every effort has been made to adhere to the original setting for piano as possible. However, the music has been transposed and the key relationships of the cycle have been abandoned in favour of finding the most playable keys that suit the guitar. German born Georg Friederich Handel (1685-1759) lived and composed in England from 1726 onwards. Handel worked for Queen Anne and he later wrote 'Zadok The Priest' for the coronation of King George II. He produced numerous operas, church music and chamber works. Handel's instrumental sonatas display incredible invention, nobility and expression and his 'Sarabande in D minor' from the 11th Suite For Keyboard is a salient example of this. I have added 'doubles' to each section of the work in order to capture the improvised nature of the baroque style. The popular Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) wrote a vast number of works. Vivaldi (who was a violinist) possessed an innate feel for stringed instruments. He also composed for the lute and mandolin in concerto form. His 'Andante RV.532' from Concerto For Two Mandolins' displays Vivaldi at his most melodic and sensitive. Like Vivaldi, the great German J.S. Bach (1685-1750) left a vast musical legacy. His 'Prelude BWV.846' from the 'Prelude and Fugue No.1 in C major' is the first in a set of 'Das Wohltemperierte Klavier' (literally, the 'well-tempered' keyboard). Such a tuning system meant that, for the first time, music could be presented in a variety of major and minor keys without the need for retuning the instrument. Before this, tuning systems were biased towards certain keys and therefore hierarchical tonal relationships. The 'Prelude BWV.846' provides the basis for Charles Gounod's angelic 'Ave Maria'. This Prelude is one of the finest chord progressions ever composed. The Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) is rightly regarded as a musical genius. In his short life he wrote many masterpieces including concerti, symphonies, chamber music and songs. He started to learn the keyboards at age 3 and began composing at age 5. The 'Andante K.330' from his Piano Sonata in C Major 2nd Movement demonstrates the sensitive Mozart; graceful and melodic. Although Reverie On A Hill was recorded at the same location as 'Espiritu De La Guitarra', I have since constructed a recording facility (1FD Studios) complete with an isolated recording room in order to faithfully capture the sound of my guitar in a desirable acoustic setting. Special thanks to Stephen Hill for his wonderful guitar. Thanks also to all at CD Baby; Charles Bowyer; Clare at Classical Associates; George, Sheila & Lucia Harris; Jez Henderson; Paul Tucker; Kieron Garrett; Mike Twisse and to all my students for their kind support. Thanks to Headley Lutterlock, Larry Lucas & George H. for their kind help with the recording studio construction. I am indebted to Greham Waller for providing space for the recording studio. Thanks to Jez Henderson who assisted with photographic editing. DALE HARRIS: London, August, 2008. Dale Harris was born in West London in 1968. He began playing the guitar at the age of four and gave his first solo public performance at age 7. Dale was initially taught by his father, and began formal classical lessons in 1981. His formal musical education includes a first class B.A.(Hon) degree, an M.A. in music performance, and in 2004, Dale successfully completed a PhD entitled 'Cryptograms In The Music Of Alban Berg'. In 1998, Dale won 'The Larissa Lovelock Memorial Prize' for classical guitar performance. Dale has studied the classical guitar with Grahame Klippel and Jeff Alexander and in master-classes with John Mills, Richard Durrant and John Myhill. Dale has performed for H.R.H. Prince Phillip The Duke Of Edinburgh and the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey. Front cover and backliner photography copyright c.2008 by Dale Harris. Rear cover photo copyright c.2008 Dale Harris For help with photography, special thanks to Jez Henderson for graphic effects, colour reproduction and editing. This CD was recorded and produced entirely in the digital domain and was captured using 24-bit, 96 kHz wave-mapping technology. A music score of the material in 'Reverie On A Hill' will be available soon. You can also visit the official Dale Harris website for all the latest information.