These Five Composers Are Keeping the Guitar Relevant

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Among many others, of course, but we can't ignore the amazing pieces that these five composers have created featuring the guitar. Today we celebrate those pieces, because, hey, the guitar is awesome.

Danish composer Poul Ruders is a Romantic at heart - his works often sound as epic landscape explorations. His "Six Pages" for guitar, however, for his friend David Starobin, is remarkably intimate. Mr. Starobin makes sure that the guitar repertoire is expanding every year, and even a small sample from the suite will show why Mr. Starobin is so into this music.

Richard Carrick, an able guitarist in addition to his prowesses as composer and conductor, may have surprised the new music world with his layered, largely improvised disc of electric guitar music called Stone Guitars (after the venue in which it was premiered), but the tracks speak for themselves. We suspect a set of three will leave you looking for the whole disc.

Seung-Ah Oh adopts a different, more collaborative approach by pairing the guitar with flute in So-Ri I, an encyclopedic study on sounds that each instrument can make. Dan Lippel and Erin Lesser throw it down flawlessly, of course.

Ray Lustig's set of Figments for two guitars charms as much as it challenges in sets of exquisitely crafted rhythmic and polyphonic games. Enough said.

Brian Ferneyhough also writes for two guitars, but the result is shockingly different. Alternate tunings set the sonic stage for No Time (at all), a series of over one hundred rapid-fire gestures that dazzle and leave the head spinning. Did this piece become his guitar concerto Les Froissements des Ailes de Gabriel? Listen and say for yourself....

Seriously, you guys. Rethinking the guitar has never been such fun, so listen in.