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I must thank Hanno Pfisterer of Accent for backing this project. Several of these pieces were written for me; hence the close collaboration between the composer and the performing musician. Meetings between us were sometimes necessary, enlightening and always enriching. But also not too narrow; the writers allowed me to read, to interpret and to render. The three composers, fundamentally different, have at least one quality in common.
In essence, in their method of composing, they remain faithful to combining the musical elements into a bouquet full of expression and colour. They make new music, not imitating earlier creations but based on respect for them. Thus Owe Walter occasionally reminds us of Tedesco, Leo Brouwer of de Falla, Stravinsky and Takemitsu, while Wim Henderickx, the most intellectual, reminds us of the East, with controlled improvisation. Thus, from such contrasts, this programme creates a beautiful whole.
Owe Walter b. He is the author of a bestselling guitar tutor. As a composer he has written easy pieces for young musicians, but also concert works for solo guitar as well as chamber music ensembles. He gets enormous pleasure from nature, from silence and from animals.
Finally, as a guitarist he enjoys himself performing. The composer and me I first met Owe Walter in June I was invited to a summer course in Arvika as a lecturer and performer. As a result of this he was inspired to write two works. He composes, with specific intervals, a very intelligible whole; emotion is born. The work is contemporary, but still has melody, without being neo-romantic.
It is impressionistic and meditative, with a fiery, repetitive last movement. Brouwer's compositions have developed strongly in the course of his career. The style of the second period was more avant-garde, characterized by the use of serialism, twelve-note and aleatory systems.
The third period was almost minimalist, and is based on the development of a modular system. In many of his recent pieces he goes back to the national hyper-romanticism. Leo Brouwer is not only a talented but also a many-sided composer. He has created works for numerous solo instruments, written chamber music, choral works and ballets, compositions for wind ensembles and for symphony orchestra, and provided the music for more than 60 films.
In addition he has made many arrangements, which reveal his sympathy for the music of Scott Joplin and the Beatles. The composer and me I saw and heard Leo Brouwer for the first time in a concert in the seventies. He played his own works, which sounded very modern at the time, and their surprising turns and effects caused the public to burst out laughing more than once.
I still remember that master-class very well. Very inspiring. In March the radio producer, the late Herman Vuylsteke, brought together the Flemish guitarists, the late Peter Pieters, Jean Vanderscheuren, Yves Storms and myself to give a house concert in honour of his guests: Cuban diplomats and Leo Brouwer.
It was to be an unforgettable evening, with much music, wine and good food, but also with companionship and humour. This meeting, among others, was documented on national radio with an oustanding performance, including Leo Brouwer as percussionist! In the course of my career I have met Leo Brouwer again at various music festivals. The first sketch is based on a short Spanish theme from a Homage to de Falla, which he wrote two years earlier.
The introduction obviously refers to the Spanish school with the use of many colours and contrasts. In the second sketch he suggests in a masterly way the independence of the various voices. The ostinato bass is in stark contrast to the lively treble voice; a written-out improvisation. The title Hika is taken from a composition by Takemitsu for violin and piano dating from Brouwer also adopted some of Takemitsu's concepts, such as the use of the Lydian scale.
Wim Henderickx b. He teaches composition and music analysis at the Conservatories of Antwerp and Amsterdam. He composes not only chamber music and orchestral works but also opera, and his work has been repeatedly awarded prizes both at home and abroad. His compositions are distinguished by a solid structure, changing sound colours and an intense expressiveness. His composing is stimulated by extramusical impulses.
This has been led by his fascination with ethnic, non-western cultures, so that many of his works have been inspired by Eastern music and philosophy. The composer and me I have known Wim Henderickx for a long time both as a friend and a teaching colleague. The poetic, often impressionistic character is typical. It is the first in a line of intimate chamber music compositions. Various guitar techniques are integrated into the work, but without going in search of pure effect music.
It takes time to grasp it, which must come from an inner control. With backward-looking musical material, the colour gives form to the contents. Here we have pure expression, which goes from manic grief and resignation to meditation.
The Saeta is associated with Holy Week in Seville. Here it is sung in the nocturnal procession in the street, in an atmosphere of passion and vitality, mixed with deep worship and joy. The work contains 7 sections, which were inspired by the story of Christ's agony: 1. Christ condemned to death feroce 2. The way of the cross of Jesus lamentoso 3. Lamentation of Mary doloroso 4. The crucifixion of Jesus agnocioso 5. His death on the cross furioso 6.
Hika 'In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu'
Hika - Leo Brouwer (in Memoriam Toru Takemitsu)
Classical Guitar: "Hika (In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu)" by Leo Brouwer