Štěpán Rak: Balalaika
for solo guitar.
12 pp., $9.95, Presser Order number 494-02118
To view first line incipits of the main sections click here.
And is here a recording by the composer of the
MP3 format, 1.8MB, 7:40 duration.
Štěpán Rak's Balalaika
original virtuoso guitar solo based on a medley of Russian folk tunes employing some of Rak’s innovative right-hand techniques. Dedicated to Mikhail Gorbachiov. As
recorded by the composer on Nimbus Records NI 5239. Here are some reviews which
appeared in the press shortly after it’s publication in 1994:
“Rak is a guitar ‘name’ these days and one finds in his compositions a
fusion of so many elements . . . that bold, direct ‘Gitano’ style, unchanged for
centuries . . . Guitaristic to the extreme, musical and so individual, powerful
and yet sentimental and he (like so few these days) is not afraid to write a
real melody, a tune to hum or recall and really want to play. He does it time
and again . . . the work is based on a Russian folk song. That ability of Rak’s
to perfectly mimic one sound-style is demonstrated from the first note to last
and we have not just one theme but two or three attached end to end making a
very lowing work . . . if you are looking for a virtuoso piece in a Russian
style, look no further . . . Recommended.” Neil Smith, Classical Guitar.
“ . . . Rak’s works are often difficult technically, but this piece,
based on a Russian folk melody, is approachable. His music is often challenging
to listeners as well, but here Rak has joined the many twentieth-century
composers who appeal to a wider audience through the use of conventional
harmonies and folk tunes . . . Balalaika can be thought of as one big crescendo.
Lasting for eight minutes, it is a test of the guitarist’s skill in creating and
sustaining a sense of drama on the stage . . . ” Michael Curtis, Guitar Review.
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Sunday, December 03, 2006 04:32 PM