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David Belcher, guitar, Half Recital:

Johann Kaspar Mertz, Gebeth, Bardenklnge, Op. 13


Luigi Legnani, Caprices nos. 22, 7, 36 Caprices, Op. 20
Heitor Villa-Lobos, Modinha, Serstas, no. 5 (arr. Belcher)
Leo Brouwer, El Decamern Negro
Johann Sebastian Bach, Prlude, Allemande, Gigue, Cello Suite no. 6, BWV 1012
(arr. Belcher)
The first half of the recital will be an eclectic blend of genres, juxtaposing nineteenthcentury character pieces with the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Leo Brouwers Cuba, and the
Afro-Brazilian rhythms of Villa-Lobos with the contrapuntal cello music of J. S. Bachs
sixth cello suite. The program includes two of Belchers own transcriptions, Modinha,
by Villa-Lobos, originally written for piano and voice, and three movements from the
Unaccompanied Sixth Cello Suite by Bach. Both transcriptions attempt to remain faithful
to the originals while bringing the guitars special voice and colors to bear on this
timeless music.
The program begins with a short character piece, Gebeth (prayer), from the
Bardenklnge (Bardic Sounds, op. 13) by the Austro-Hungarian composer Johann Kaspar
Mertz (18061856). Romantic character pieces or songs without words (Lieder ohne
worte) were made popular by Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Schubert, each of whom
composed solo piano music as imaginative accompaniments to wordless stories, poems,
and ideas. Mertz built on that same tradition, but now on the guitar.
Luigi Legnanis 36 Caprices combine elements of virtuoso technical flourish with grand
operatic vocal linesIve selected two contrasting examples, the somber no. 22 in C#
minor, and the whimsical (capricious, even!) no. 7 in A Major.
Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos composed his fourteen Serstas (serenades)
mostly in the 1920s. This Modinha (a traditional Afro-Brazilian love song) was written
in 1926 originally for piano and voice, and its lyrics come from the great poet Manuel
Bandeira (Manduca Pi). The lyrics of this sad song read: In the solitude of my grey
days, / I die, my love, of your great disaffection. / And though indeed you do despise
me, / Yet will I love you all the time / Although to you, so far removed / Ne'er comes the
sad song of the troubadour / Joyful I wish you be! / Yet if some day / That happiness gets
changed into pain / Then would you hear from the past my plaintive tones / Telling again
the gentle, dismal words, / Of my true love! My arrangement for solo guitar is indebted
to the transcription of Isaas Svio.
Next follows Leo Brouwers El Decamern Negro, written in 1981 for Sharon Isbin,
which is a sonata-form suite of three ballads that follow themes from German sociologist
Leo Frobeniuss book of the same title. Each of the three movements has a narrative
shape following stories of African origin about a warrior who flees with his lover after he
is exiled from his tribe only later to return in battle to heroically save his people from
their enemies.

To conclude are selections from Johann Sebastian Bachs sixth cello suite, which is rather
peculiar among the others. While each of the first five were composed for what we know
today as the traditional (four-stringed) violoncello, the sixth and final suite was composed
for a five-string instrument with a high e-string. Scholars continue to debate the precise
identity of the instrument, but the range of this mystery instrument makes the sixth suite a
rather suitable fit on the guitarthus I have transcribed and play the suite in its original
key of D Major. I have selected three movements, the joyous Prelude, the more tranquil
Allemande, and the gallant Gigue.