by The Pune Guitar Society(PGS),
There are less than four weeks to go, and even as the music begins to take shape, so do a plethora of support activities. Preparing for this, for all of us, has been a lot like mobilising ourselves for a revolution, though admittedly one not quite as tectonic as the CubanRevolution which shaped much of Leo Brouwer’s circumstances and his music.The program has evolved organically to include two of the Maestro’s concerti, one movement from a suite, and two solo pieces. It would take an entire week of concerts toput across even a cross-section of Brouwer’s prodigious output and multiplicity of styles. Ina little over an hour of music we hope to introduce audiences to a small fraction of his material. The performers include Kuldeep Barve, Kabir Dabholkar and Jayant S on the guitar and Meghana Dharap, Rose E and Tuhin Rao on the piano.
The two featured concerti – the Elegiaco and the Toronto – are contrasting works. The Elegiaco lives up to its name by being sombre in a very abstract manner, while the Toronto is a complex, bright and largely optimistic work, with its fabric woven through with multiple thematic statements and motifs. For me, preparing for both of these has almost required assuming two different personas.The first movement of Retrats Catalan will be included: with its references to several Catalan folk songs. This is a quiet movement, with the orchestral section expressing some unexpected harmonies.The two solo pieces were the most difficult to choose from the extensive oeuvre of the composer. It would have been tempting to include one of the longer works, such as El Decameron Negro or the Sonata, but we took a conscious decision to have short pieces, essentially to start and punctuate the program.
The concerti and the Catalan will feature piano reductions. This continues the efforts of the PGS to bring other instrumentalists into our programming – and the experience is very rewarding and musically enriching. Formally-trained pianists have a very different, structured approach to the learning of unfamiliar repertoire which is inspirational to watch and participate in. It would have taken me several months to learn music of this complexity, placed in their position. As it is, the role of the piano here has emerged as not that of a mere accompanist: the selected works are sonically closer to being piano-guitar duets and their original orchestral textures have not required more than a fleeting reference at best.
We hope that this forthcoming concert will build some local interest in Leo Brouwer’s work, as one of the foremost modern composers for the guitar, and also incite more musicians to work on collaborative ideas with us. There is a lot of potential in working with Pune-based pianists and this is a format which could yield several more concerts of challenging and engrossing repertoire. Watch this space!