Sunset for guitar (sheet music, PDF)

$5.43 ($4.34 excl. Tax/VAT)

Printable sheet music (4 pages, PDF) of Sunset for guitar by Frederik Magle.

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DURATION: ca. 3’30”

Sunset is, at its core, a simple piece, but one with a long and somewhat storied development. A kind of song without words, its first iteration came in 1998 as a work for piano or guitar with strings, though Magle had completed the theme some three years earlier. An arrangement for solo piano came ten years later, with final smaller tweaks coming in 2023. This subsequent version for guitar (arranged with assistance and advice from Bozena Wetchacz and Carsten Pedersen) was completed in 2024.

A simple piece it may be, but each component that Magle includes within it is tuned to its finest. The main melody, which progresses in long, sweeping arcs over the rest of the texture, is melancholy and tender without ever drifting into the territory of kitsch or melodramatic; the undulating couplets underneath providing a gently lilting rhythmic propulsion to the work, enlivening the texture while still leaving it skeletal and fragile. The work’s harmonies are tonal but decidedly Romantic and often rely on extensions and inversions, with the resulting mood being simultaneously emotive and

While Sunset begins unassumingly enough, a wistful air permeating the sound, it starts to stir – the bassline intensifies and the texture fills out more. A secondary countermelody engages the principal theme in a mournful counterpoint. From there it develops further, but the harmonies start to jar – the sun may be going down, but there seems to be, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, a certain sense of rage against the dying of the light. We come to the work’s climax, a reiteration of the first theme with fuller-bodied chords and expressive melodic variation – but it is in vain. The struggle conceded, we lose our grounding, and a final haunting rendition of the theme at the highest reaches of the composition leads us away. The sun has set, and we are left
staring into the stars.

notes: Acorus Calamus


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