Peter Graneis Plays Passacaille by Tansman

Peter Graneis plays Pièce en forme de Passacaille by Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986). This comes via Siccas Guitars and their great YouTube channel. I’ve featured Graneis a few times before and appreciate his musical energy and careful attention to motifs and articulations throughout the compositions he performs. Tansman is great and we are lucky to have the handful of guitar works from the renown Polish composer. There’s a nice write up on this piece by Frédéric Zigante via this Naxos:

Pièce en forme de passacaille, written in 1953, is a broadranging composition which was recently discovered after almost 50 years of oblivion in the archives of the Segovia Foundation. It is based on an ostinato and ten variations, which is then re-proposed six more times in an instrumentally complex fugato. This masterful composition is a perfect synthesis of the solemnity of the Baroque style and the subtly flexible harmony—alternately mobile and static—of Tansman’s music. Starting with the exposition of the bass ostinato, the composition uses a bass D sharp which obliges the performer to tune the sixth string in D, even though the piece is in E minor: the scordatura, which is, in itself, customary, seemed tonally unorthodox to Segovia and he therefore decided not to perform it. Above and beyond the appearances, this is one of Tansman’s few guitar compositions in which he paid evident attention to the piece’s effective performability: its sound is clear and spontaneous and few adjustments are needed for its correct execution. The Passacaille also represents one of Tansman’s few concessions to a typical effect of the guitar, the tremolo, which is used here as a dramatic, expressive resource and not, as is usually the case, as a purely ornamental effect.

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