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The Red Fantasy

Almost a year ago, I attended a concert given by Odair Assad where I heard The Red Fantasy, a new guitar piece by Kevin Callahan.

Both the The Red Fantasy and The Fourth Stream are now available from Doberman Editions (PDF or Print Copy).

Here’s what Kevin had to say about The Red Fantasy (source):

Structurally, it’s a fantasy, as the title predicts, where seemingly unrelated ideas emerge and circulate in a world awash with red wine varietals. The piece gets underway with a slight Spanish flavor, so we open a Tempranillo soon followed by a Syrah built on a driving 5/4 meter with an admixture of jazz, classical and maybe a hint of renaissance. After the Syrah, we reach for a gutsy Barbera invoking rock ‘n roll, and just as the Barbera gives rise to Malbec with its South American rhythms, we settle down with an Amarone – a slow, contemplative waltz, aged and perhaps revealing a complex bouquet, originally attended by a Beaujolais Nouveau, but I jerked the Beaujolais as its lightness was structurally inappropriate to follow the Amarone (obviously!). We then re-savor a couple of the earlier varietals before reckoning with a strong finish. Harmonically, the piece varies quite a bit. I wouldn’t say I was using any particular language and the above descriptions are very informal. When I write, I don’t think so much about style or musical boundaries, but I do draw on theory to enlist the aid of a device or two if I get cornered. There’s definitely a rock ‘n roll element to the Barbera and Odair just nails it! Must be the Scorpio in him, maybe the long hair. With earlier pieces, I’ve worked directly with my editor of choice, Sibelius, and sometimes with a guitar (and or cat) on my lap. Sibelius makes it very quick and easy to produce great results and allows me to work fast. For “The Red Fantasy”, I took a different approach: rather than going directly to the score, I sat in front of my Mac and launched Quicktime Pro to video-capture improvisations and record rough ideas, shapes, colors. Sometimes I used PhotoBooth as it can also record audio-video. Later, I’d transcribe what I played, more or less, and rework the ideas into the composition using Sibelius.

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