Suite #4 in E major for Guitar solo – Op.1, #4 

The Suite #4 for Guitar Solo, is not written in a given diatonic key, but ranges through some rather curious harmonic territory, generally centering on a modality surrounding an E major quasi-Dorian feeling, with the exception of the final movement, a four-part chorale setting that is clearly in the key of C minor. This gives the piece a darker mood than its companion suites in the cycle and is programmatic in that each of the four contrasting movements is interpretive of a philosophical or rhetorical question. 

The first movement is entitled Canzona and denotes an enigmatic riddle posed in cryptic tones represented by two opposing melodic ideas, one ascending and one descending, neither of which gains precedence over the other. The parallelisms in the harmonic structure suspend any sense of resolution, and the riddle is thus left unsolved in obscurity. 

The second movement, entitled Ballade is an improvisational fantasia based on the first movement Canzona that freely unfolds as a sequence of gradually shifting harmonic clouds slowly changing color while floating above a sextuplet rhythmic ostinato. This imaginary procession never quite arrives at any specific destination, and as the clouds slowly dissipate seem to ask a musical question: where is all this leading? The answer remains a mystery. 

The bold, decisive majesty of the opening section of the third movement, Correspondances, is in stark contrast to the preceding movements, and establishes a mood of enthusiastic optimism that is counterpoised by a second theme of a lyrical character. This transitory passage seems to ask, which of these will you choose? The answer, of course, is a left a quandary. 

The final movement, entitled Meditation, juxtaposes the confidence of faith with the uncertainty of death. The eternally mysterious enigmatic quandary of religion is represented by a chorale theme that seems to ask for guidance in the dark night of spiritual turmoil. This suite has been arranged and orchestrated by the composer under the title of Four Questions for Flute and Harp with String Orchestra. The four suites for solo guitar were recorded by the composer in the Spring and Summer of 2009. 

Suite #4 in E major for guitar solo

  • This includes the Program Notes as a separate PDF, the Mp3 audio files for each movement and the PDF musical score file.