Robin Macatangay Jazz Solo
Jazz solo from Music for Everyone concert (1984) with the Robert Luse Guitar Ensemble.
Photo montage by Robert and Bruno Luse
Homage to Stephen Foster
By the use of smooth transitions and careful attention to overall form, Luse has sought to weave divergent elements into a coherent and stimulating tribute to one of America’s most enduring composers.
The work opens with an optimistic Allegro, somewhat in the manner of a Burlesque.
The central variations, on Foster’s “Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair” are followed by portions of the spiritual “Now Let Me Fly” (requiring participation from the players and audience) and the Tennessee Waltz. The work concludes with an Allegro Molto.
Michael Haydn Sinfonia in G
Less well known than his brother Joseph, Michael Haydn was predominantly a church music composer. Originally for string orchestra, the work is played here in transcription for alto, prime, bass and contrabass guitars.
Childhood’s End: The Composite Rendition
“Childhood’s End,” as premièred as a single movement work in 1980 (Leonard Tan, soloist) and later as a work in three movements in 1984 (Robert Luse, soloist) in the annual Music for Everyone Series concerts.
The present composite rendition is very much a catch up child, a child of the desperate realization, decades after the fact, that something worth preserving came to pass, back there in the 8o’s. Even if only for the archival record, some tangible trace of Childhood’s End should remain. And so the current project was born. Occupying the last three years, the present recording now consists of a patchwork of overdubs, based on a sole surviving, badly degraded 1980 studio recording (Leonard Tan, soloist). The initial impetus to overdub came from the impotent projection of the alto guitars in the original recording. 1980’s technology was somehow not up to job of capturing cutting edge alto power. Although some of the flimsy alto bits were salvaged (achieving in the process a new status: “archival content”) the alto’s chief function, to cut through massed effects, needed serious resuscitation. Over one hundred overdubs were eventually installed. I was pleased and no little amazed. Due in no small part to the acumen of the recording engineer – the composite rendition was coming to life! This emboldened us to next turn our attention to the depressing dinginess of the primes, special victims; it would seem, of the degraded recording. The present rendition is also topped up by the addition of a new cadenza to the first movement, played by none other than the composer.
I hope that, somewhere, sometime, the present rendition may inspire another (acoustically normalized!) performance of this work. In such an event, let the score (rather than the present recording) be regarded as the sole authentic source.
Guitar on the Move!
Written for the ensemble, Hawksworth’s suite expands popular idioms to encompass a wide variety of moods that are further enhanced by Patrick Chan’s sensitive arrangements.