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Publication Date

Spring 4-30-2015

Year of Release



Kareem McCullough, guitar

This recital is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Arts degree in guitar performance. Mr. McCullough is a student in the studio of Dr. Julio Ribeiro Alves.

Program Notes

Napoléon Coste was a French guitar virtuoso and composer who studied with famous Spanish guitarist and composer Fernando Sor while he resided in Paris. Largely unknown to the music world and until recently somewhat forgotten by the classical guitar community, Coste enjoyed great success as a performer and composer during his time and is best known for playing a seven-stringed guitar, in which a lower string is added. His performance career came to an abrupt end after an injury, however he continued to teach and compose. Coste helped keep the spirit of the guitar alive in Europe as it was slowly losing popularity with the public. Not only did he contribute to the guitar's sound by introducing some of the more Romantic ideas of music that were idiomatic to the 19th century but he also moved away from the Spanish and Italian influences in his music, giving it more of a French sonority. Les Soirées d' Auteuil translates to the "Night at Auteuil." Coste demonstrated both his virtuosity and lyricism in this two-movement work. Auteuil, a district in the western part of Paris, was known for its beauty and wealth. Coste spent a good deal of time there and wrote this work to detail a night in the life of the district. The serenade is a slow lyrical movement that evokes the image of the sweet and calm side of Auteuil as the people go about their days. The scherzo is a lively movement in rondo form. It tells how the town livens up as night approaches and people begin to celebrate.

Joaquin Rodrigo is widely held as one of the most popular Spanish composers of the 20th century. His most famous work, Concierto de Aranjuez not only stands as one of the most popular concertos ever written, but also helped to establish him as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the day. Even though he had lost his eye sight at the age of three, Rodrigo found solace in his music abilities taking up the piano and the violin when he was eight and eventually composition when he was 16. By 1947 he was professor of music history at the Complutense University of Madrid. While he never mastered the instrument himself, Rodrigo is best known for his guitar compositions and for helping to establish the guitar as a universal concert instrument. Invocacíon y Danza was written in 1961 and stands as one of the major works for the guitar today. Written as homage to famed 19th century Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, themes from his music can be heard throughout. The beginning, while a bit chaotic, sets up the mood for an almost menacing dance section that uses the tremolo technique to extend the sustain of the long melodies.

Leo Brouwer remains unparalleled in his contributions to contemporary classical guitar music. Having composed a plethora of solo works, ensemble works and concertos for the instrument, Brouwer extended the classical guitar's repertoire to new heights. Born in Cuba, Brouwer showed promise as both a guitarist and as a composer at a young age. His father encouraged him to peruse this talent and he left to study with Isaac Nicola, a protégé of Emilio Pujol. His performing career was cut short however; after he injured his hand Brouwer was forced to concentrate his efforts solely on composing. His compositional development can be broken into three periods: Cuban folkloric, modernist atonal, and then a move back toward tonality and modality. El Decameron Negro is a programmatic work in which each movement tells one of the tales from the book of Central African love stories written by Leo Frobenius titled "The Black Decameron." The first movement, El Arpa Del Guerrero, tells the story of a warrior exiled for playing his harp to win his the affections of a woman. His village comes under attack and he returns to save them and after he leads his people to victory in a battle he is able to flee with his lover. La Huída de los Amantes por el Valle de los Ecos describes two lovers traversing through a valley of echoes. In the beginning and throughout the piece one can hear a call the lovers yell back and forth to each other. Brouwer uses different techniques, like immediate changes in timbre, to give it an echo effect. Balada de la Doncella Enamorada is in rondo form with. A conversation seems to be going on as two melodic lines can be heard intertwining.

Carlo Domeniconi was born in Cesena Italy in 1947 and by the age of 17 he had already obtained a diploma form the Conservatory of Pesaro. He later went on to study composition in Berlin before working there as an instructor. After a visit to Turkey, Domeniconi became enamored with the people and culture eventually beginning a guitar studies program at the Conservatory of Istanbul. Domeniconi has composed solo works for the guitar and other instruments, chamber works, and 13 concertos for one or two guitars and orchestra. He is best known for incorporating Arab and Turkish musical forms and tonal systems into his music giving it a highly distinctive sound. This can be heard in Variations on an Anatolian Folksong. Anatolia, also referred to as Asia Minor, consist of the majority of the Republic of Turkey. Domeniconi takes the most popular folk song by Aşik Veysel and creates five variations of it. He also emulates the instruments of the region such as the oud with different techniques such as bends and glissandos. The Finale section combines all five variations together before the original theme is repeated at the end of the work.

Fernando Sor stands as a household name for a classical guitarist at any level. While he was born in Spain, he spent a majority of his time in Paris teaching and performing. Mostly known today for his guitar compositions, Sor composed in many other genres including, operas, string quartets, and ballets. Sor helped to contribute to the "golden era" for the guitar in the early 19th century. With a vast array of solo works, duos, and studies, Sor was one of the first to demonstrate the guitar's abilities to play complex and sophisticated music successfully. Grand Solo, while written rather early in his career, is a clear example of his compositional grace and virtuosity as a player as he would have most likely performed this himself. Sor attempts to show the guitar as a "one-man orchestra" in this overture-like work. In the slow instruction, the droning A mimics the timpani while the chordal accompaniment resembles a string section.

Program Notes by Kareem McCullough


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Marshall University Music Department Presents a Graduate Recital, Kareem McCullough, guitar