Lyric Pieces, Op. 54

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Written originally for piano by Edvard Grieg, this complex piece has been arranged for two guitars by Chris Dumigan.

Reviewed in Classical Guitar magazine:

These six pieces are from the fifth book of a total of 66 short pieces by Grieg for piano. The set comprises Shepherd’s Boy, Norwegian Peasant’s March, March of the Dwarfs, Notturno, Scherzo, and Bell Ringing. All but one of the pieces have been moved to a new and more guitar-friendly key, the Scherzo sitting nicely in the original keys of Em and E. While the purist might argue that the original keys are an integral part of a faithful transcription, there is no doubt that the guitar has a character that comes to the fore when music is tailored to the instrument’s strengths, not its weaknesses. So we find that long, sustained notes are refreshed before they fade away; octave jumps are abandoned, or harmonics are used; keys are chosen thoughtfully; and the texture is thinned out a little. That is not to say that anything is lost, and indeed some of the passages are still quite challenging, and there is just the right amount of fingering to help players through the score.

The technical complexity of the arrangements varies a little through the set and requires a good duet partnership to manage both the mechanical issues and the synchronization, especially when there are two contrasting rhythms in the two parts. The end result, though, is a suite of pieces with a texture that is fresh and light compared to the piano original, and the typesetting ensures no awkward page turns. —Derek Hasted

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