Alan Hovhaness: Guitar Concerto No.1 Op. 325, David Leisner (guitar)

Alan Hovhaness – Guitar Concerto No. 1, Op. 325
David Leisner (guitar), Gerard Schwarz & Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

“The Guitar Concerto is in three movements. The first starts with the whole orchestra and is followed by a senza misura; this guitar solo was written in percussionistic jhala style. The composer explains: “Jhala is the sound of cups filled with various levels of water and struck by sticks. It is a Sanskrit word from the instruments called jhala taranga, which means “waves of water”. The second movement is a romantic movement and is constructed of continuous, haunting melodies played by not only the guitar, but by different solo instruments which lead into the guitar cadenza. In the third movement the guitar plays a 53 measure melody accompanied by the orchestra, then the solo cadenza comes in. Hovhaness originally wrote three cadenzas and one optional one.
This virtuoso and most romantic guitar concerto was written at the height of Hovhaness’s composing powers. He called it “long giant melody”. I call it “Hovhaness’s love-song”.
Hinako Fujihara Hovhaness


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