T. Mulleman

Drei Tentos (10')/Tento (3'30")

for guitar solo, 2018/rev. 2020

Commissioned by and dedicated to Maarten Vandenbemden on the occasion of the 'Celebrating Julian Bream turning 85' festival, an initiative of Antigoni Goni in collaboration with the Julian Bream Foundation.

Premiere: Maarten Vandenbemden, Royal Conservatory Brussels, 31 Mar 2019 alongside the Belgian premiere of Richard Rodney Bennett's Concerto for guitar and orchestra.

Excerpt program notes:

"Julian Bream frequently encouraged composers to write new pieces and thus enriched the guitar repertoire vastly. Hans Werner Henze was one of many composers who wrote for him, a close collaboration that resulted e.g. in Henze’s Royal Winter Music. However, Henze had already written for this particular instrument: his wonderful Drei Tentos were premiered by Julian Bream himself. This work was originally part of his larger Kammermusik 1958, a cycle dedicated to Benjamin Britten who composed his iconic Nocturnal for Bream too.

The brand new Drei Tentos presented by Tim Mulleman echo the spirit of this eponymous work by Henze. Mulleman plays with its structural and harmonic elements and - much like Henze with Bream - worked closely together with guitarist Maarten Vandenbemden during his creative process.

The three movements that result each give a different perspective on the work's germinal material. Motives and harmonic cells are presented in the first tiento, a rhetorical prelude with two contrasting parts. The second movement displays them in a more perturbed light, with quick gestures and sharp chords. The many fast glissandi that at first gave the piece an almost oriental touch slowly gain the upper hand and drive the movement to a discombobulated close. The last tiento starts out steadily with percussive ‘tambora’ chords, but this stability is short-lived as textures and playing techniques gradually evolve. Peace returns when the serene spirit of the first tiento reappears to bring the work to its conclusion."