Fantasia in C Minor by Mozart for 2 Guitars
What's truly fascinating about larger works from the classical era that can be played on guitar are how much they actually do reflect other instrumental pieces from the same time. Multiple movements in sonata form with numerous key changes, development sections that have fluid and flexible rhythmic changes, abrupt halts, sudden swings of mood and direction that are expansive and remarkably fun to play. And that because of their rich complexity have little or nothing in common with the monotonous regularity and predictability of popular music from any era. One such piece that I have had my eye on for several years is the Fantasia in C minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Since I first heard it I have wanted to know if it was in fact playable on guitar. Certainly numerous piano and orchestral works from the classical era have been transcribed for one or two guitars, even some operatic overtures and symphonies, so this solo piano piece should work. So why aren't there more Mozart transcriptions?
This particular fantasia by Mozart might be said to foreshadow more romantic pieces with their delicious harmonic and rhythmic ambiguity. It is in fact the ambiguity in harmony and rhythm that allows Mozart to expand his ideas into this 12 plus minutes of mysterious and passionate music. In addition to the lilting classical melodies there are fast chromatic developments bristling with suspenseful harmonic progressions that end with long leaping arpeggios of stacked minor thirds. It is in fact the diminished seventh chords, built on these leaping minor thirds that allow for all this drama, mystery and expansion. Musically ambiguous harmonies and rhythms are just what's needed to branch from one beautifully defined classical area to another and there is certainly a no more ambiguous chord then the diminished seventh. It is the pivotal harmony of the romantics. Used more than often by the likes of Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner, Berlioz, and Bach to name but a few. To end the cadenza in the second movement and lead into the third Mozart uses the ultimate in ambiguity, a chromatic scale. He zooms up four octaves from what would be our drop D to beyond the guitar's range. We limited this to two octaves in the recording, but an additional octave is possible for excessive chromatists.