I’m excited to share a new video series featuring the famous composer Frank Martin‘s only solo classical work – Quatre pièces brèves. The movents are as follows: Prelude, Air, Plainte, Comme une Gigue.
For those of you who haven’t heard of this piece yet, the story goes that Frank Martin wrote Quatre Pièces Brèves out of enthusiasm for Segovia’s playing. The year this piece was written (1933) both Segovia and Martin lived in Geneva. Martin, a renowned composer by then, sent Segovia a handwritten draft of the score but Segovia never bothered to even respond. Constequently Martin arranged the work for piano solo and later for orchestra while still keeping the original guitar version in the back of his head. In 1938 a revised version of Quatre Pièces Brèves was performed by Swiss guitarist Herman Leeb, which motivated Segovia to ask for a second copy of the score, but Martin declined. In 1955 the score, edited by Karl Scheit, was finally published by Universal Edition. Today both the Leeb manuscript as well as the score edited by Scheit are made available by Universal Edition who states both Leeb and Scheit as the editors. These two versions are very different and this led many guitarists to believe that Scheit was responsive for all the changes. However, this was not the case, as the version of Azpiazu (another guitarist who arranged the piece and played it in 1951) is almost identical to the published score from 1955. If you’d like to know more of the story, read this article by Han Jonkers.
Anyway, in the videos below you’ll listen to the 1955 Scheit version. The videos were shot in my studio a few weeks ago with my Canon 600D, while audio was recorded using two modded Oktava Mk-12 microphones and Metric Halo ULN-2 audio interface, at 88.2 kHz, 24bit. The audio was later synced in Final Cut Pro X, where I auditioned all the clips, exported the audio to Reaper with the help of an app called Vordio Lite. I edited audio in Reaper and exported the final track back to Final Cut Pro X, where it was synced once again with the video clips. I’ll explain the workflow soon on my blog so stay tuned.
Dear Uros – I have just started studying the Quatre Pieces Breves after a 40 year break! It is one of the true masterpieces for guitar. I was beginning a search for the manuscript and found your wonderful blog. Your playing is very fine and I particularly appreciate the information about history and recording technique. Bravo – keep it up!
I’ve been trying to crack the video/audio world – keeping it very simple, but it’s tough to be satisfied. I’m curious how you do your multiple views? One camera, various takes put together?
If you care to browse any of my guitar music, please let me know what interests you and I am happy to send you some samples.
Very Best Wishes, Frank Wallace