Suite pour Guitare Op.41 by Jacques Hétu

Bradford Werner plays Suite pour Guitare Op.41 by Canadian composer Jacques Hétu (1938–2010). I’ve been meaning to record this suite for a long time. The suite was commissioned and premiered by Alvaro Pierri with support of the Canada Council for the Arts. You can find the sheet music via Sheet Music Plus: Hetu Suite Op.41. Below is the first movement but I’ll be posting all the movement throughout the year.

Here’s a nice write up by Keith Anderson via this Ducharme album on Naxos:

Born in Québec in 1938, Jacques Hétu studied piano, harmony and Gregorian chant at the University of Ottawa with Jules Martel before entering the Conservatoire de Montréal in 1956, to study there with Clermont Pépin, Jean Papineau-Couture and Isabelle Delorme. In the summer of 1959 he attended the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, where he studied with Lukas Foss. Awarded the Prix d’Europe in 1961, he travelled to Paris, studying composition there with Henri Dutilleux and analysis with Olivier Messiaen. Returning to Québec in 1963, he served in various academic positions at the Université Laval and the Université de Montréal, followed, from 1979 to 2000, by the Université du Québec à Montréal, where he was head of the music department from 1980-82 and 1986-88. Awarded various honours, he has been prolific as a composer.

His guitar Suite, Op. 41, was written in 1986. In five relatively short movements, it opens with an angular Prélude. This is followed by a gentle Nocturne, with the Ballade undertaking a more dramatic exploration of the material. Rêverie makes use of the characteristic intervals of guitar tuning and the Suite ends with a movement that initially makes a strong contrast, its meditative heart preceded and followed by music of greater rapidity.

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