After having served as one of the performing artists to participate in the grand opening of the Seventh Avenue Center for the Arts and Spirituality at the beginning of this month, guitarist Giacomo Fiore will return to the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church to give a full recital in the Seventh Avenue Performances series. As he has done in the past, Fiore has prepared a program whose first half is acoustic, while the second half requires electric guitar and additional technology. Furthermore, the acoustic portion will present two world premieres, preceded by a selection to honor the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten.
The first world premiere is by Agustín Castilla-Ávila, a Spanish guitarist who holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from Arizona State University and currently serves as an artistic advisor of the Microtonal Music Society in Austria. His new composition is entitled “Il Velo di Iside” (the veil of Isis). This is a microtonal piece requiring scordatura tuning to pitches that depart from the standard equal-tempered frequencies.
The second world premiere is a five-minute opera by Garry Eister entitled “The Boy and the Chocolate.” The composer will join Fiore in the performance of this piece. This promises to outdo Samuel Barber’s “A Hand of Bridge,” described on its Wikipedia page as “possibly the shortest opera that is regularly performed,” since Barber’s opera tends to run at about a leisurely ten minutes.
The Britten selection has become recognized as one of the most transformative pieces in the guitar repertoire. This is his Opus 70 “Nocturnal After John Dowland,” dedicated to Julian Bream and first performed at the 1964 Aldeburgh Festival. (It was also included on Fiore’s second recording, Colors: Modern Music for Guitar.) It is particularly unique in that the theme of the variations form only appears at the conclusion, following a series of variations that tend to focus on specific fragments of that theme, rather than its entirety.
Each of the three electric guitar pieces will involve additional electronic circuitry. Eve Beglarian’s 2002 “Until it Blazes” requires the cumulative textures provided by dual delay. On the other hand, Anthony Porter’s 2011 “hair of the thing that bit you” is based on looped samples controlled by the guitarist through a pedal. Finally, Fiore will revisit Larry Polansky’s 2004 “freeHorn,” which he performed last August at The Emerald Tablet. This requires real-time synthesis of tones from the natural harmonic series; and Fiore performs against those “pure” pitches with his strings tuned in just intonation.
This concert will be given in the sanctuary of the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, located at 1329 Seventh Avenue, between Irving and Judah Streets, half a block from the Seventh Avenue stop for the N Judah streetcar. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 23. General admission is $20 with a discount rate of $15 for seniors and students. Tickets may be purchased online in advance through an event page on the Brown Paper Tickets Web site.