Alfonso Montes: Nueve Preludios Azules — Performance Notes


Alfonso Montes was born in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela in 1955. He studied for six years in London with the British composer John William Duarte, during which time he obtained his Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) diploma for guitar performance. He was a close friend of the Venezuelan guitarist composer Antonio Lauro, who played a very important role in his music education. Many of his pieces are played and recorded by guitar stars like John Williams, Irina Kircher, The Amadeus guitar duo and Los Angeles guitar quartet, among others.Montes is also a composer of symphonic music, receiving many commissions for works from orchestras including the Berliner Symphoniker, the Orchestra of St John’s, the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra as well as the world-famous Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Together with his wife, the virtuoso German guitarist-composer Irina Kircher, he travels the world playing concerts as Duo Montes-Kircher.

Performance notes

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“My Nueve preludios azules (Nine blue preludes) are pieces about love, sensuality, poetry.” — Alfonso Montes, Stuttgart, Spring 2019.

I Azul desde el chinchorro (blue from the hammock)

A vision of the blue sky while rocking on a chinchorro (hammock).
This piece should be played smoothly with rhythmic precision.

II Mañanita azul (blue morning)

This piece is about the very early-morning, hazy blue light. Clear dynamic contrast is very important.

III Azul entre nubes (blue between clouds)

The image of clouds moving... a blue background.
Absolute differentiation of the simple and compound time signatures is required.

IV Entre azules (between blues)

In the sea, surrounded by different tonalities of blue.
This piece should be played like a popular song, fluently, pausing at cadence points and then regaining the tempo to continue.

V Azulejo (bluebird)

Azulejo is a beautiful blue bird, fragile.
Enjoy the gentle rhythmic patter that the bass produces with the melody suspended above it.

VI Azul oscuro (dark blue)

The dark blue in winter, Christmas.
Clarity of slurs (on both single and double notes) is needed.

VII Tu azul (your blue)

This is a love song.
Keep a legato line in the melody, and give enough space for the resonances to prevail.

VIII Azulcielo (sky blue)

Being overwhelmed by a wonderful spotless blue sky.
Play this piece with rhythm and energy.

IX Stay

A sad love song.
Leave the fingers in position to sustain the full chords, and play the accompaniment softly enough to allow the melody to ‘shine’.

Performance notes by Alfonso Montes

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