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Rebay: Complete Music For Violin & Guitar

Rebay: Complete Music For Violin & Guitar

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It was Jakob Ortner, one of the composer’s colleagues at the academy in Vienna, who piqued Rebay’s interest in the guitar. The enthusiasm and skill Ortner and his pupils displayed convinced Rebay that the guitar could handle any harmonic construction thrown at it, far beyond the clichéd writing for the instrument of the late 19th century. The 12 Deutsche Tänze von Beethoven (1939, from the WoO8 cycle) and the Tema con Variazioni aus Op.12 No.1 von L. van Beethoven (1952) display a great passion for the German composer; Rebay also arranged Beethoven’s Sonatas Op.79 and Op.90 for ensembles including a guitar. Rebay often opted for a simple style to make his arrangements accessible to a wide range of performers. This is true of certain (unfortunately undated) transcriptions for violin and guitar: a gavotte in D minor by Jean-Baptiste Lully; a minuet in F major by George Frideric Handel; the Andante from the Italian Concerto BWV971 and the prelude in E major from the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach. This probably indicates a revision of the violin part, and shows the esteem the composer enjoyed on the Viennese music scene. Rebay returned to the violin and guitar pairing on multiple occasions for a favourite genre of his: the theme and variations. The writing here is more demanding and stands out for the equal weighting given to the two instruments and the use of keys unrelated to the theme for the individual variations, producing a concertato effect with numerous subtle expressive twists. All the cycles of variations on this recording are based on folk themes, with the exception of those based on “Heidenröslein” (1953, from the Lied of the same name by Franz Schubert) and “Und der Hans schleicht umher” (undated), which some scholars, contrary to Rebay’s title, attribute to Franz von Woyna. Finally, Rebay wrote two sonatas for violin and guitar, both in 1942, in which he put his innovative concept of the guitar as a fully versatile harmonic instrument through its paces. They follow a similar expressive journey: a sombre yet assertive first movement leads to vibrant, lyrical playing in the theme and variations, before the tone gradually lightens over the course of the final two movements. Now that the guitar’s status is fully established, Rebay’s refined and dignified voice has made itself heard, thanks to the music’s solid craftsmanship but above all its sincerity. Its rediscovery dispels many clichés and reassures us that humble yet beautiful music is not necessarily destined to be unjustly forgotten.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 3
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421961767
    • Item Number: BRI96176