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Mandolin Grading: intermediate plus
1. El Noy de la Mare – Catalan Folk Song 2. The Queens Command – Orlando Gibbons 3. Canarios – Gaspar Sanz
This book contains 3 attractive contrasting pieces drawing on different musical influences: El Noy de la Mare is a beautifully haunting Catalan Folk Song; Queen’s Command is stately Elizabethan piece by the English composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625); and Canarios is a rhythmic dance by the Spanish composer Gaspar Sanz (1640-c.1710). The three mandolin parts are fairly well balanced, each being of more or less similar technical standards, suitable for Higher Intermediate players. Each part contains some tunes, counter-melodies and accompaniments. In this way each player learns all the different skills required to become a good ensemble player. This book follows on from Mandolin Trios Book 1 and generally presents more challenges to the players, both technically and also as an ensemble.
Performance notes: All three of these pieces make good concert pieces when care is taken in learning them accurately and carefully, both individually and as an ensemble.
It is the arranger’s intention that tremolo is only used where clearly marked (three lines across stem). Where positions are marked it is often as much for tonal purposes as for technical facility. A higher position often results in a sweeter and richer tone.
El Noy de la Mare is presented here in the slightly unusual key of E major and contains some fairly fast runs in both M1 and M2. It is quite a challenging piece and care should be taken to keep the tempo steady.
The Queen’s Command is in many ways the easiest piece in the book but, again, care should be taken to keep the tempo steady. The biggest challenge in this piece is keeping the ensemble playing tight. It is quite difficult to ensure players move together on the recurring dotted rhythm. (e.g. M1 and M3 in bar 1, and M1 and M2 in bar 2.)
Canarios is very well known as a solo guitar piece. It is a lively piece and features an attractive rhythmic idea of alternating between quavers grouped in two groups of three (as is normal for 6/8) and quavers grouped in three groups of two (more common in 3/4). Try to become accustomed to these rhythms before starting work on the piece. Many players will find the main challenge of this piece is the fairly fast chord changes in M1 and M3.
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