Pas de Deux

by Anthony Ritchie, for guitar duet, Opus 51a

This is a substantial work in five sections which explores the many different textures and colours available from the combination of two guitars.

Recording available at Naxos

The score will be available from Hatchet Music in 2021.

Programme Note

Pas de Deux is an essentially abstract work for two guitars, but was conceived as a sequence of imaginery dances, involving two characters. The titles of the five sections give clues as to the mood of each dance, but beyond that the listener must rely on their own imagination and personal experiences to interpret the sounds.

There are elements of 'minimalist' influence in this work, with plenty of quite simple modal ideas being subtly varied in the course of repetitions. This is especially so in the second section, which develops an idea first presented in the choral work 'As Long as Time' (No.3: "I lie, I watch the ceiling"). The third section is more Bartokian in style, while the fourth builds up to a cartharsis through repeated chord patterns. In the short 'Epilogue' ideas from the beginning recur, but transformed into a more peaceful setting.

Pas de Deux was commissioned and first performed by Matthew Marshall and Tony Donaldson.