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The magic lute : the minstrel's tale

by Marian Budos (2010)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by John Couch from the CD Ask me tomorrow

Ask me tomorrow


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Ask me tomorrow / John Couch, Duo Downunder, New Zealand Guitar Duo.

Library shelf no. CD 2706 [Available for loan]

magic lute


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The magic lute : the minstrel's tale, for classical guitar / Marian Budos.

Library shelf no. 787.87/BUD 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

I wrote this piece for my friend, guitarist John Couch. I wanted to write something for him that would reflect his life journey from the time he left New Zealand, as a hopeful young Masters student, to the present day.

John and I had a coffee at my place one morning and we got to talking about our experiences since arriving in Australia. We were quite surprised by how much we had in common. Perhaps there are many common obstacles and challenges that all people trying to settle down into new places face? This was the inspiration for John's piece.

The four movements depict, as I see it, John's journey through a quasi-allegorical tale about a medieval minstrel who travels places playing his lute. He eventually achieves all he sets out to, and even gets to marry his loved one.

I was also inspired by the beautiful music and intriguing life of the great lutenist and composer John Dowland; I had been enjoying the beautiful CD of Sting and Edin Karamazov with their unique interpretation of John Dowland's music while writing this piece. The music of Barrios that I listened to during this same period inevitably made its mark on the piece too, particularly in the second movement. And then there is the obvious reference to Mozart, which I thought would make a cheeky title (the fact that John has a lute at home also contributed to the idea).

This is also an attempt to congratulate John and Wendy again on their marriage, this time with a little present - 'The Magic Lute'. Long may your marriage prosper!

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: Classical guitar.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1. Beyond the seas (In search of fame and fortune) -- 2. Gold and riches (Winning the hearts and favours of kings and queens) -- 3. For the heart of a lady (Shall my lute play and my heart burn) -- 4. A castle shall I build for her (To protect and love her).

Commission note: Commissioned by John Couch.

First performance: by John Couch at Greenwood Classical Guitar Society concert (Greenwood Centre (UK)) on 8 Oct 2011

The composer cites the following influences on this work:

tonal contemporary, influnced by the music of John Dowland and A.M. Barrios

Performances of this work

28 Nov 2015: at Ask Me Tomorrow CD launch (Belconnen Arts Centre). Featuring John Couch.

6 Jul 2013: at Christchurch Guitar Society Concert (Hohepa (Christchurch NZ)). Featuring John Couch.

23 May 2013: at 8th Colima International Guitar Festival (Teatro Hidalgo, La Universidad De Colima (Mexico)). Featuring John Couch.

17 May 13: Adam Concert Room, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Featuring John Couch.

15 May 13: Dr John Gallagher Concert Chamber, Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato, New Zealand. Featuring John Couch.

11 May 13: Torbay, Auckland, New Zealand. Featuring John Couch.

18 Jan 2012: at New Plymouth Classical Guitar Summer School, New Zealand (St Andrew's Church (New Plymouth, NZ)). Featuring John Couch.

22 Oct 2011: at The 29th 'Cithara Aediculae' International Guitar Festival (The Synagogue of the city of Nitra). Featuring John Couch.

8 Oct 2011: at Greenwood Classical Guitar Society concert (Greenwood Centre (UK)). Featuring John Couch.

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