Link to Biberian Concerto.
Gilbert dropped by last month – always an occasion for food, musical discussion and philosophy.
He was insistent, though, that we had time together – alone. Normally my reaction would be “uh oh – what new scheme has he hatched”, but I knew it was different this time.
In fact, it was very different and wholly unexpected. Thirty years ago, after I had premiered Gilbert’s groundbreaking work “Monogram” in the Wigmore Hall, I had the mad idea of having a version with guitar and orchestra, or maybe just orchestra. The density of the sounds and cogent structure seemed to lend itself to a larger medium of expression. In fact, Gilbert did produce his Concerto for me to look at. It looked frighteningly difficult, but it was unfinished, and we said no more about it.
Until last month, that is, when Gilbert produced this, the final(?) version of his concerto incorporating references to “Monogram” and to our monograms plus various other bits of musical reference and word play. The score was accompanied by a touching letter, written on exquisite handmade paper.
I was stunned. I think we never fully realise the effect that our actions have on others and conversely, we often take the help and support of others for granted. This lesson was brought home to me that day! I was extremely touched and proud to receive the letter and it is reproduced below.Here is a link to a computer rendition of the score.
The score is dense and difficult in a world dominated by simple, pretty sounds and Biberian takes no prisoners – I think I am slightly relieved not have to give a first performance of it! It is a concerto unlike any other in contemporary guitar writing, full with musical and literary reference.
Please have a listen with open ears. Soundclouds will envelope you. It is amazing the guitar should have such a piece in its repertoire and it may be some time before it is fully appreciated, but you can say heard it here first.