The Art of Guitar by Christopher Norton
Christopher Norton is well-known throughout the world for his compositions for piano, particularly the Microjazz series, published by Boosey & Hawkes, and Connections for Piano, published by CN Connections Music. His music is popular with piano students as well as professional performers, because he writes well for the piano, has a subtle blend of jazz, pop and classical influences and has a distinctive style of writing that appeals to a wide range of audiences.
The Art of the Guitar is a set of four linked pieces, written at the request of John Couch, began with the second piece, which contains material that is developed and extended in various ways throughout the entire set. The title of the set suggests that the music could be used to accompany film of an artist at work, with the lighter guitar textures (pizzicato, staccato, soft fleet passages etc.) perhaps representing pencil sketches and line drawings, and the chunky chords and louder passages representing more active use of paint.
The pieces are entitled:
- Outlines (quick, lots of repeated notes)
- Etchings (lyrical, declamatory)
- Sketches (a tango-like variation on the chordal material from Etchings)
- Oil on Canvas (fast and dramatic)
I like the idea of using gestures associated with the classical guitar – rich chords, some with flamenco overtones, jazz chords, fleet passages featuring a variety of delicate textures, and cantabile passages with vibrato.
The Art of the Guitar not only gives an impression of visual art, but also highlights the considerable artistry of the virtuoso classical guitarist.
My thanks to John Couch for commissioning this set of pieces.
Christopher Norton, London, UK