En la Tierra (Concerto in One Movement for Guitar and Orchestra)


Guitar and Orchestra 1.EH.2.1;;2pc;Cel;Guitar solo;Str

First performance: October 2011, USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble, Donald Crockett, cond., Brian Head, guitar, Los Angeles

Program notes: 

En La Tierra, Concerto in One Movement for Guitar and Orchestra, is the third of four in a series of explorations for guitar which I have composed in the past fifteen years or so.  The Falcon’s Eye (1999-2000), a set of twelve preludes for guitar solo, and Winter Variations (2006), an extended fantasia in one movement, precede En La Tierra (2011).  Most recently, Fanfare Studies (2015) was commissioned as the set piece for the Guitar Foundation of America’s 2015 International Concert Artist Competition.  The Falcon’s Eye and Winter Variations are also recorded on Doberman-Yppan by Brian Head, the dedicatee of Winter Variations and the soloist for En La Tierra.  All four of these pieces explore my relationship to the classical guitar, an instrument I studied seriously as a teenager and played regularly through my twenties.  En La Tierra (“On Earth”), in a single movement of about fourteen minutes, is in several clearly delineated sections.  The syncopated repeated-note section which opens the work also closes it, and in between you will hear a lament or two, a gentle allegretto and a scherzo both playful and aggressive.  Throughout the piece the specific, subtle and varied colors of the guitar are juxtaposed with similar and contrasting colors in the small orchestra of wind sextet, two percussion, celesta and strings.  En La Tierra was completed in late-October, 2011, which meant at our initial rehearsals for the premiere the excellent Thornton Edge musicians were reading very wet ink.  An epigraph on the title page of the score is from Pablo Neruda’s wonderful book of poems, Residencia en la Tierra (“Residence on Earth”):  “Well now, what is it made of, that upsurge of doves that exists between night and time…”      - Donald Crockett