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Angelo Gilardino - A Quiet Song

Cristiano Porqueddu

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Che bravo Francesco, ispirato e fantasioso come questa splendida composizione!


Per coloro che fossero interessati ad approfondire la conoscenza del brano, copio e incollo il testo della prefazione pubblicata insieme alla musica (spero che l'inglese non sia di ostacolo):




A note from the composer


The story of this piece goes back to 1970. Entrusted by Edizioni Musicali Bèrben with the leadership of the collection of 20th century guitar music which would become famous in the following decades, I invited composers from many countries to write new guitar works for the series. Among them, I asked the British composer Richard Arnell – the author of Six Pieces for Guitar which I liked - to compose another piece. He agreed, announcing that he would write a set of variations upon the popular British ballad, Barbara Allen. He also gave me an opus number for this forthcoming composition. Unfortunately, such a project did not reach a conclusion, I cannot now recall the reason why. In the meantime, I consulted the source of the song he had indicated to me and – in spite of my small affection for popular music – I appreciated the nice melody. Barbara Allen was then buried in my memory under 33 years of silence, but in 2004, in the course of a Usenet discussion about guitar music, I recalled the song, and – now being a full time composer on my own – I decided that I would return to the old, unfulfilled project and that I would write a solo guitar piece based upon that melody. I also received a lot of useful information about the many variants of the song.


Again, I had to leave this project aside for some months, due to more urgent pressures. At the end of 2004, a fellow musician and an Internet correspondent – whom I have yet to meet in person -, David Norton from Salt Lake City, asked me to write a piece in memory of a common friend, the esteemed British composer John W. Duarte, who passed away on December 23, 2004. I immediately agreed with David’s request – it would be nice to devote to our mutual friend’s memory a new piece of music – and I was thinking about how to build it up, when David suggested that I consider Duarte’s affection for popular music, and his frequent use of songs and dances, which he elaborated in many of his works.


Just a short step divided my acceptance of David’s suggestion and my waiting project of completing Barbara Allen. I took such a step with no hesitation and I wrote this piece with the purpose of recalling a distinguished musician, a fine person, his culture and background, and our good friendship. Of course, I would never attempt to imitate John Duarte’s style – I never considered taking such an unhealthy approach, but I thought instead, as is usual in the many homages I have composed, of a world in which the recalled artist was a symbol.


It is a duty and a pleasure to recall here, thankfully, those who have encouraged my project: David Norton, David Kilpatrick, William David Jennings and all those who sent me the various versions of Barbara Allen. A special thanks also to Richard Yates.


Angelo Gilardino


Vercelli, Italy, January 2005.

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