Sunday, May 31, 2009

Set Organization Progress (Addendum)

I had meant to show the final A major suite in the previous post on this topic, but I simply forgot.

To review, my set for dinner and bar crowds, art openings, parties, and corporate events, is organized around the circle of thirds from A minor to A major: A minor, C, E minor, G, B minor, D, F-sharp minor, and A.

The pattern for the suites is two originals, and then alternating covers and originals, with a crowd pleaser at the end - for a total of nine pieces per suite - and each suite is about 25-30 minutes in duration. So, I play four suites, take a 30 minute dinner break, and then play another four suites to make a four hour gig (D major and F-sharp minor are still short at this point, running about fifteen minutes each).

As I mentioned previously, the first four suites have crystalized, with just a bit of uncertainty in the G major one. Because there is so much great guitar music in A minor and A major, it's just natural that the final suite has come into focus as well.

It looks like this now:

64] Figuration Prelude No. 8 - Hucbald
65] E-Axis Study in A major - Hucbald
66] Guardame Las Vacas - Luis de Narvaez
67] Six Variations in A minor - Hucbald
68] Etude VI - Leo Brouwer
69] Irreducible Fugue No. 3 - Hucbald
70] Yankee Doodle Dixie - Chet Atkins
71] Irreducible Fugue No. 4 - Hucbald
72] Desert Song - Eric Johnson
73] Heavy Nylon - Hucbald
74] Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

I have eleven pieces here just in case I run short and have some time to fill up. This is a very good idea, because it's a million times more impressive if you never repeat yourself over the course of a four hour engagement: Folks think you could just go on and on. So, if I'm on time, I play Stairway to Heaven, which is my finale/encore piece, last (In place of Desert Song). If the crowd is a good one - drunk, jazzed... and tipping - I'll play the whole set through Heavy Nylon (Which is a PITA to get just right) to Stairway.

You'll notice I put some A minor pieces in here: There are just a gazillion cool pieces for the guitar in A minor - I actually have extras - and a lesser number of compelling A major works, so I did that on purpose, not out of any necessity. I have an awesome - and extremely difficult - arrangement of Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze in A major, which I may learn at some point, but I have all eleven of these memorized, so that's the path of least resistance right now.



I could have updated the previous post, but I wanted to post another pic of this stunningly awesome redhead.

2 Comments:

Blogger Claudia said...

It's so well organised. And 11 pieces memorised! I'm impressed. It's true that people think you can offer a programm for 3-4 hours, and never repeat yourself. I used to envy the musicians who could improvise.

Fazil Say(a Turkish pianist) takes a Paganini(or Mozart)theme and just invent, on the spot, brilliant variations. I'm not sure it's the right thing to do. But he's never short of "new" pieces to play.

Wish I could be listening to you with the crowd, 'drunk, jazzed and tipping'.

Praise from my son for your gorgeous ladies. You never make a mistake....:)

All the best from Canada.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

Back in the real classical era, performers almost always improvised their cadenzas, but in the romantic era, composers started writing them out, and so improvisation eventually became a lost art.

I saw a classical pianist - I'm sorry I can't remember his name - playing with a symphony orchestra, and he improvised his cadenzas. He did the Mozart No. 21 - my favorite - and his improv was quite good.

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven (In his younger years), Liszt and Paganini were all great improvisers. I never was interested in improvising much, except in blues and rock idioms, as I always wanted to slow the process down and make the solo "perfect." Typical modern composer. LOL!

Tell your son thanks for the props, Claudia. ;^)

You do know I'm a Newfie, right? Born in St. John's.

12:31 AM  

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