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Twelve Études

'...the summation of an entire guitar epoch.' (Fabio Zanon)

My Twelve Études for guitar were composed over a period of about ten years and were completed in 2008. I was keen to build upon the iconic Douze Études  composed for guitar by Villa-Lobos between 1924 and 1929. But I was also influenced by the piano études of Liszt, Debussy and Ligeti. My Études explore, through what I describe as 'hidden pedagogy', the challenges that 20th- and 21st-century music presents to the modern guitarist technically and interpretatively. Rather than comply with a given compositional 'method', I take the fretboard as a starting point, and the Études thus draw upon a variety of guitar influences ranging from the classical, jazz, hispanic, contemporary and rock genres. This disparate array of influences are held in structural unity as every Étude is built upon two motifs: the perfect 5th and a three-note chromatic fragment. The set of twelve works are divided into four books of three études. 


Below is a video of the full score of the Twelve Études in a recording by Benjamin Dwyer (released on Gamelan Records in 2008). The second video features the renowned Greek guitarist Smaro Gregoriadou performing Book I (Études 1, 2 & 3). The third clip features Dwyer performing Étude No 6 African Print.

Tombeau sur la mort the Claude Debussy


This work was commissioned by Térèse Fahy and the Ireland's Tombeau to Debussy festival in 2018. The work was premiered at the National Concert Hall in Dublin and subsequently performed in Paris at the Centre Culturel Irlandais. The work is based on the third of Debussy's Douze Études, 'pour les quartes'. It is dedicated to Térèse Fahy.

Song for Her (Canción para Ella)

John Buckley - Guitar Sonata No. 1

(second movement)

Buckley's Guitar Sonata No. 1 was commissioned by Benjamin Dwyer and premiered at the New York Guitar Circle in 1989. It is featured on the CD Irish Guitar Works (Cortijo Records, 2012)

Voces Críticos

Movements two and three of Voces Críticos performed by Pavlos Kanellakis, Unitarian Church, Dublin.

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