Having always loved symphonic music and being a steel string guitarist, both acoustic and electric, as well as a self-taught composer, I realized that I was never going to play as part of a symphony orchestra unless I wrote the music! My goal in composing the Concerto for Electric Guitar was to create a piece that was both engaging and challenging for an electric guitarist and also an enjoyable, melodic piece of music on its own. To the best of my knowledge, there had never been a true concerto for electric guitar prior to its performance in 1999.
The guitar is treated much as a violin or cello would be in a concerto setting. There are no chords or chord melody techniques employed, just a few double stops. The sound of the guitar is slightly overdriven as one would find in a rock or fusion piece. Interestingly, even though the guitar (a Fender Stratocaster) was played through a Marshall amp, the orchestra had difficulty hearing it due to its very directional nature and the fact that the amp was in front of the orchestra. I therefore had to run an extension speaker cabinet at the side of the stage, which probably got on the nerves of the back row first violins!
The concerto follows classical concerto form in three movements. The first starts as a march. The middle movement is slower and is heavily influenced by my studies of Indian music. The scale structure- tonic, flat 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, flat 6th, 7th is based upon Raga Bhairavi, a North Indian morning raga. To contrast, the third movement features a very baroque sounding theme, which also ends the piece as the guitar plays it in three modulated forms. It also has a quasi-cadenza for the guitar featuring fast triplet pulloffs.
Instrumentation for the orchestra is flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, two french horns, trombone, timpani, percussion, and strings.
If you are interested in purchasing the CD recording of the concerto please email Mr. Fine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Fine has been involved in music, as a composer and instrumentalist, for four decades, and has fronted several electric ensembles in Tucson. As a guitarist, Pete was spotlighted in Guitar Player magazine in 1982 and, as a composer, has had several symphonic works performed in Arizona, most notably his Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in 1999 and Universes Eternal, a symphonic suite for orchestra, soprano and tenor soloists, and 12 string guitar, in 2005. He also is well known around Tucson for his performances of the music of Jimi Hendrix. Besides performing and composing in Tucson, he has engineered and produced several CDs for local artists. In 1994 he started seriously studying sitar, having his initial lessons with the esteemed Harihar Rao, friend and musical collaborator of Pt. Ravi Shankar. He later studied several ragas with Anupa Deogaonkar, disciple of the Vilayat Khan style of Indian music. Pete has had the honor of a private performances with Pt. Sharda Sahai, and in concert accompanying Sukwinder Singh, two of the great tabla masters.