Two Pieces for Voice and Guitar (1967), Epígrafe (text by Guilherme de Almeida) and Queixa da Moça arrependida (text by Ribeiro Couto), C 29, by Ernst Mahle
(2 Peças para Canto e Violão (1967), Epígrafe (texto Guilherme de Almeida) and Queixa da Moça arrependida (texto Ribeiro Couto), C 29)
Settings of poems by Guilherme de Almeida and Ribeiro Couto, these compositions date from earlier in Ernst Mahle's career. They are less tonal than Mahle's later works and contain sections of dissonance contrasted with consonant sounds, peppered with quintuplet and sextuplet rhythms. For example, the guitar part contains leaps of major sevenths and minor ninths, dissonant chords, quartal harmony, and other compositional techniques common for the twentieth century. But in other sections you might find a sequence that uses a traditional tertian harmonic progression such as Dm, Dm(maj7), Dm7, Dm6, Dm7b5, Dm, culminating with a D major chord. The vocal part is quite chromatic, with sections that contain leaps of a major sixth followed by an augmented fourth, even as large as a major seventh, while other parts are mostly stepwise.
While the first piece, Epígrafe, is marked "Lento e rubato" and begins with a two measure guitar introduction of whole note guitar chords, the second piece, Queixa da Moça arrependida, is in "vivo" tempo and starts with a ten measure candeza-like passage for the guitar. There are lots of places for both the vocalist and guitarist to shine. The guitar part is richly textured and relatively difficult. I cannot imagine a guitarist who would not love to play it. The vocal part is challenging, with a good share of challenging leaps, but it is full of emotion and drama.
The entire composition ends with a beautiful florid vocal melody, sung with the single syllable "Ah", that uses an A natural minor scale with a raised fourth scale degree. This hypnotic melismatic vocal part is accompanied by a wonderful chord progression in the guitar part: Am7b5/C, Ab7/Eb (spelled enharmonically, including the vocal part, as a Db9#11, with the b9 in the bass!), Am6/F#, Bm7b5, C6, D7, F9, F#4 (D6?), Am, D/A, A5(no third), A. This is some brilliant writing!
The music is engraved by Mahle himself. The full score is available for free download below in one PDF, which will work as a performance edition for the guitarist. The first piece is only two pages long, while the second one is only three page long - no trouble for the guitarist if there's a brief pause between movements and the music stand can accomodate at least three pages of music. I hope you will download it, give it a run through, and then perform it! If you perform it, please let me know.
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Epígrafe (text by Guilherme de Almeida), page 1
Queixa da Moça arrependida (text by Ribeiro Couto), page 1
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