This new edition from Schott’s contains thirty pieces for guitar duet. The standard of difficulty is between grades three and five. Despite having such an extensive content the book is stapled rather than tightly bound and will open out easily on a music stand. There is merely one score and no parts but since it costs under £10 it would be no hardship for each player to have his own copy. The layout is of course excellent and there are no awkward page turns. What little left hand fingering there is will be quite useful to the student.
Amongst the pieces are some well known gems. In the renaissance section we have Pilkington’s attractive Echo for Two Lutes and two pieces by Francesco da Milano. The book misses out any baroque repertoire and moves on to some typical classical duets by Sor, Kuffner de l’Hoyer and others. There is a piece by Carulli called le Nid et la Rose which comes from an odd collection of 12 very short “Romances” by him all of which carry curiously strange titles. This collection is also available from Schotts ( GA 68 ). The next section contains three pieces from the 19th century by Tarrega and Pettoletti – nice enough, but rather unexciting.
The final section has modern music that keeps to the same moderate level of difficulty. I was intrigued to try out the two pieces by the French composer Olivier Mayran de Chamisso and his music did not disappoint. The first is called “Lande Celtique” and is very rhythmic. The second is called “Promenade en Barque”
and this is in the style of a barcarole. Both pieces are excellent additions to the repertoire for this level.
When I have played duets as often as not I have used parts. This usually obviates the need for rushed page turns in longer pieces. These, however, are short duets and so reading from the score provides an opportunity to exchange parts. Since both the upper and lower lines are of the same technical level this swapping of parts is good experience for the student. I can certainly recommend this book to any teacher.