Jonathan Barlow is a composer and arranger with works represented by publishing houses in France, England, and the United States. His music has also been published in Soundboard: the Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America. His editions receive global retail distribution and a growing number of distinguished libraries carry his scores including Yale, Juilliard, Cornell, McGill University (Canada), and the Royal College of Music (London). The San Francisco Conservatory of Music Library blog praised Jonathan for his ability to “capture the integrity” of the original music in his arrangements. His work has also been called “fabulous” by Guitarnotes, ”superb” by Steve Marsh of Classical Guitar Magazine, and “tasteful, impeccably written and exceptionally enjoyable” by Rovi Music. His compositions and arrangements have been performed for various concerts in the U.S.A. and South America. He was a winner in the 6th Annual Colorado Composers Concert Competition and his entry was premiered by the Playground Ensemble at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He was a Finalist in the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and a three-time winner of the ASCAP Plus Award which provides funding in recognition of “creative contributions to American music.”
Rêverie Revamp, guitar duo ($12.95)
—-Buy from publisher: LACG Editions
—-Borrow from library: Worldcat
This edition is not an arrangement of Debussy’s Rêverie so much as it is a “recomposition” in a jazz style. Both guitars are given equal opportunities to play the melody and the accompaniment which have been completely reworked with an expanded harmonic palette and improvisatory ornamentation. Every aspect of the work is recast: rhythms, harmonies, textures, and the eighth notes are swung. At first glance it may be difficult to recognize this score as Rêverie but despite the author’s deferential modifications, the spirit of the original work is preserved. The parts are written to sit well on the guitars and fingering solutions are provided. This edition is an expression of love for Rêverie and is meant as a novel exploration of the original material.
When On is an energetic guitar solo that draws influence from jazz. Swung eighth-notes, syncopated rhythms, and jazz harmonies help establish a groove. The jazz feel is challenged by an irregular single line that lengthens with almost every interjection and ushers in the major sections of the form including a contrasting middle section (the composer playfully imagines trading solos with Toru Takemitsu). The pitch content throughout the work emphasizes 4th and 2nd intervals. Several moments feature walking bass or emulate chord melody playing from the jazz guitar tradition.
Finalist in the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards
International retail distribution by Di-Arezzo in Paris
The term idioglossia is used to describe invented languages and often refers to speech patterns developed by twins. Barlow’s piece is inspired by this phenomenon. The musical ideas repeat, lengthen, self-reference, and develop freely representing the composer’s perception of idioglossia from his observations of recorded examples and live exposure. This three movement concert piece includes fast passage work, interesting textures, and beautiful melodies. Although challenging, it is composed to sit well on the instrument and fingerings are included to aid the performer. Alternation between dissonant pitch clusters and lydian material is common throughout. Indeed, a general dissonant-consonant-dissonant structure is represented in each movement and across the piece as a whole.
1st movement “Uproot” winner in the Colorado Composers Competition
International retail distribution by Di-Arezzo in Paris
Louis Waltz is composed in a light and listenable style. The flowing melody has several phrases that repeat multiple times throughout and the middle section contrasts with a spacious theme in a hypermeter. The placid and repetitive tune is complimented by a varied accompaniment with syncopated rhythms, counter melodies, and jazz inspired harmony. This piece was originally conceived as a lead sheet. The melodic and harmonic structures are directly inspired by jazz standards. After several years of improvising from the lead sheet, the composer scored Louis Waltz for this edition, capturing in notation some of the spontaneous moments from various live performances. A successful performance of this piece would embody the freedom and flare of an improvised approach.
Lascia ch’io pianga (Rinaldo HWV 7)
G. Handel. arr. for voice and guitar
—-Buy retail: Theodore Front Musical Literature
—-Buy from publisher: Classical Vocal Reprints
—-Borrow from library: Worldcat
Handel’s opera, Rinaldo, was the first Italian opera written for the English stage. The story takes place in Jerusalem at the end of the 11th century, at the time of the first Crusades. At the end of the first act, the knight Rinaldo sits with his lover, Almirena in the garden. All of a sudden the evil sorceress appears and abducts Almirena. At the start of the second act, Almirena sits in her captor’s palace garden mourning her predicament. Having been taken away from the love of her life with no hope of ever escaping, Almirena can only pray for mercy. This arrangement of Lascia ch’io pianga is set in the original key.
Music lovers tend to overlook Strauss’s Lieder; they can be eclipsed by his popular tone poems and operas. Singers are passionate about Strauss’s songs because they provide such wonderful vocal opportunities, and because they demonstrate such sensitivity to their poetic texts. Drei Lieder, Op. 29 is a charming work set to poetry by Otto Julius Bierbaum (1865-1910), a contemporary of Strauss who was the editor of a progressive journal devoted to art and literature.
“Tastefully and impeccably written arrangements, exceptionally enjoyable.” Mike Brownell, All Music Guide
Jean Sibelius’s Hymne is a beautiful piece originally written for unaccompanied male choir. This transcription retains the Tenor I part and the remaining voices are played by the guitar. This highlights the beautiful vertical sonorities in a unique way and encourages a new level of personal expression in the vocal part.
Antonio Vivaldi composed Violin Concerto No. 7 in D Minor, RV 242, as the seventh of twelve violin concertos originally published under the title Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Trial Between Harmony and Invention), Op. 8. The first four of this collection are Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons) which are among Vivialdi’s best-loved works. Although less performed than The Four Seasons, the concerto presented in this edition is a consummate example of Baroque concerto with finely crafted melodic content, lovely sequences, and energizing rhythmic figures.
Selected as “Book of the Week” by the Spanish Guitar Centre of Nottingham, UK
“A superb arrangement of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto No. 7 in D minor brilliantly arranged for two guitars by American guitarist Jonathan Barlow.” Steve Marsh, Classical Guitar Magazine
“A fabulous new arrangement for two guitars by Jonathan Barlow” Guitarnotes
Robert Schumann is one of the foremost early Romantic composers. His contribution to the Lied repertoire is celebrated not only for the sheer volume of songs in his output, but also for the range of expression he achieves through subtle musical settings and a keen literary sensibility. The goal of this edition is to provide vocalists and guitarists with an accurate transcription of Dichterliebe, an exceptional work rarely performed with the guitar. Every effort was made to retain all the original keys, voicings and interpretative markings from Schumann’s score, in order to facilitate the development of a faithful and informed performance.
“One of the best we’ve heard in years.” Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Franz Schubert wrote over 600 songs during his short life. In 1814 he set “Gretchen am Spinnrade” on the poetry of Goethe. This early masterpiece heralded an astounding time of productivity that resulted in the composition of 144 songs in that same year. The songs assembled for this edition are on texts by Johann Gaudenz Freiherr von Salis-Seewis, an author that Schubert discovered shortly after this initial prolific period. New English translations of Salis-Seewis’s poems have been commissioned for this edition and are included for the reader’s reference.
“Lieder singing with two guitar accompaniment may be a first.” American Record Guide
“Vocalists and guitarists, here is your opportunity to explore a unique German Lied edition. Jonathan Barlow has arranged Four Songs by Schubert for voice and guitar, which captures the integrity of Schubert’s work with the added intimacy of the the piano’s gentler sister, the guitar.” San Francisco Conservatory of Music Library blog.
Violin Concerto in D Minor
A. Vivaldi, Arr. for 2 Guitars ($10.00)
—-Buy from publisher: Guitar Foundation of America
Soundboard: The Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America is one of the leading classical guitar journals in the world. Soundboard is the official quarterly magazine of the Guitar Foundation of America. In each issue, you’ll find scholarly articles, interviews with some of the guitar’s foremost personalities, CD and book reviews, publications, guitar community news, and much more. Jonathan contributed to this issue with his guitar duo arrangement of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto No. 7 in D Minor. Editor-In-Chief Richard M. Long wrote the introduction to the piece and a short biography about Jonathan.
Libraries carrying Barlow’s scores
Yale University | Juilliard | Cornell University| Royal College of Music, London | Library of Congress | San Francisco Conservatory of Music | Johns Hopkins | McGill University, Canada | Cleveland Institute of Music | University of Iowa | University of Colorado at Boulder | Oberlin College | University of Cincinnati | University of Denver