About this Recording
8.553419 - GARCIA: Etudes Esquisses / Celtic Airs

Gerald Garcia (b. 1949)
Etudes Esquisses

Celtic Airs is a reworking and amplification of guitar and flute duets which I made in 1978. The music comes from two main sources -Rune of the Weaver, Cuan ag Eirigh and Heman Dubh are tunes from the Outer Hebrides, which I have visited many times, and the arrangements attempt to conjure up the world of wind and waves which make up most of the Hebridean experience. The remaining pieces are Irish and are influenced by the sound of the Celtic harp and fond memories of musical sessions in pubs in Oxford and Dublin..

The Etudes Esquisses began life as studies for the intermediate guitarist, but as more of them came into being (at the rate of one a day) I realised that this was an opportunity to learn about guitar composition and sonority in a concise context. The title of the collection - Esquisses - can mean sketches, which indicates my original attitude to them. The titles of the original pieces, which were added afterwards are mainly whimsical, being multilingual puns, but they also often indicate the in original inspiration for the composition. For instance: Les Ajoncs d'Or (Golden Gorse) was written in Normandy during a particularly warm spring, when the gorse was in full flower in a river valley called Les Ajoncs d'Or; Le Grand Brasseur (The GreatBrewer) is a homage to the composer Leo Brouwer; I'Hommage d'un Hommage (Homage of a homage) is a reference to Le Tombeau de Debussy, the only guitar composition of Manuel de Falla; Milles Anges (a thousand angel) is a homage to Astor Piazzolla and refers to his penchant for naming tangos after angels as well as to the fact that it is a mixture of keys (melange) and amilonga. Other titles refer to countries e.g. Cafe Venezolano, Terre Noire (South Africa) or other compositions - Apres midi d'un Cafard (Afternoon of a Cockroach), L' Amour Soucoupier (Love the Saucerer). I hope that you might have a diverting time working out the other titles.

When I heard that John Holmquist was interested in performing and recording the Esquisses, I was doubly pleased - first, because he is a dear friend who has known these pieces from the beginning, and second because he is one of the most musical guitarists of our day, who puts his considerable technical skill at the service of a sensitive and penetrating musical imagination. Any composer would feel safe in his interpretive hands, and I would say that this recording is about as close as you can get to the original conception of these pieces. As listener, you complete the trinity of musical experience started by the composer and performer - enjoy!

@ 1997 Gerald Garcia

Etudes Esquisses is published by ABG Publications, 16 Parker Street, Oxford UK and Mel Bay Publications, #4 Industrial Drive, Pacific MO 63069-0066 USA.

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