Gladios presents a broad survey of works by prominent twentieth-century Latin American composers. The melodic lyricism and rhythmic interplay of Latin music is highlighted, with experimental pieces by Piazzolla, Brouwer and Chavez presented alongside late Romantic works by Barrios and Lauro.
The album title derives from a journal promoting pan-American nationalist composers founded by the Mexican composer Carlos Chavez.
‘Quatre Pièces Brèves’-Frank Martin
Quatre Pièces Brèves (1933) represents Martin’s first exploitation of serial technique. The composer created two additional interpretations of this work – one for solo piano and the other for orchestra.
The Prelude is based on concepts stated in the opening measures, leading to a complete representation of the statement in the following passage of rapid figurations. The Air is based on four-part modally inflected harmonies, supporting a musing and evocative melody. The uneasy Plainte juxtaposes an expressive melody over persistently arpeggiated chords. The first section of Comme une Gigue presents a twelve-tone melody placed over a repeated pedal B, leading to a development section that presents ideas from the Prelude and Plainte in augmentation before returning to the initial melody.
‘Nocturnal After John Dowland, Op. 70’-Benjamin Britten
Britten’s ‘Nocturnal After John Dowland’ (1963) is based upon Come Heavy Sleep, a song by the Elizabethan composer John Dowland. Britten represents contrasting states of sleep; Musing, Very Agitated, Restless, Uneasy, March-like, Dreaming, and Gently Rocking – using an inverted theme and variation form.
‘Due Canzoni Lidie’-Nuccio D’Angelo
Based on the Lydian mode, Due Canzoni Lidie (1984) represents a forgotten world of sonority. The listener is encouraged to discover the expressive and vividly evocative nature of ancient modalities. D’Angelo’s imaginative use of guitar techniques allows for the generation of precise polyphonic elements, particularly the first movement, Tranguillo, which features a continuous 7/8 ostinato pattern.
‘Theme and Variations, Op.77’-Lennox Berkeley
Lennox Berkeley’s Theme and Variations, Op.77 (1970) succinctly illustrates contrasting moods and uses the full technical and expressive potential of the guitar.