Strings in sync: Textures of Two Guitars

Still of Classical guitarists Steven Peacock and Gerry Van Wart, for their show 'Textures for twp guitars.' (Submitted: Music UNB)

On Jan. 31, classical guitarists Steven Peacock and Gerry Van Wart presented Textures for Two Guitars. This pay-what-you-can concert celebrated the possibilities of classical technique on guitar.

Fredericton community stepped into the world of classical musical technique, melding with a diverse array of melodies and styles, creating a captivating experience at the Memorial Hall.

“The concert offers a range of delightful pieces to warm the heart and chase those winter blues away.”

Peacock said they were working on the pieces part of the repertoire during the pandemic and they also went through several editing stages to arrange the pieces for two guitars.

The music pieces possessed original music and “folk arrangements.” But it also explores different melodies among Irish, French and Argentinian styles of music.

“We trade melody and harmony, that’s why we name the program Textures for Two Guitars,” he said. “We were able to explore many sounds available to the guitar.”

Fredericton guitarists Peacock and Van Wart have played together for almost 40 years, exchanging ideas on the musical pieces they work on. 

“It develops into what we think is a nice way for the music to go.”

While they are rehearsing they find something about a piece that they hadn’t thought of before. Peacock said a couple weeks ago, they were rehearsing, they decided to adjust the tempo on a certain piece and in a moment of revelation, it all made sense.

“I think any rehearsal does have a moment or two where there’s a kind of a neat new thing that the musicians realize.”

Peacock said when you play a guitar the articulation is very precise, pulling the string quickly and releasing.

One of the challenges they faced was achieving precision with two guitars in perfect synchrony. Moreover, he said sometimes with improvisation, it can later take you to reflect on what you could’ve played. Even though he recognizes improvisation advantages, Peacock prefers to work on the pieces ahead of time.

“We don’t have to miss any moments,” he said. “We’d think that if we’re really in control of the repertoire, that it sounds like it’s being improvised. It sounds fresh and spontaneous.”

Peacock said he enjoys different types of music and he has the opportunity to play in a way that he can embrace some aspects of other styles.

For Peacock, “Milonga” by Jorge Cardoso, has a style where it is possible for the audience to feel hypnotized by the music.

He expects the audience to take from the performance “a mix of style, tempos, textures, approaches and technique.”

“I guess curiosity and appeal,” he said about what draws him to choose a different style from baroque to a more contemporary one.

For him, all music pieces they performed have different “connotations and connections.” However, The Sally Gardens was his favorite because it was the most technically challenging piece.

“We’re using our nails, we play multiple voices and we have a lot of fun.”