Concerto for Guitar and Strings

James Lentini


Concerto for Guitar and Strings is written in a style that imprints the composer’s own musical influences as a guitarist and composer with references to the traditions found in many guitar masterworks. Scored for solo guitar and string orchestra, the Concerto presents melody, harmony, and form in a contemporary voice that embodies a classical spirit. The work is constructed in three movements, utilizing modal and other altered scales for melodic and harmonic content. The Concerto is characterized by a structure that employs changing and asymmetrical meters and rhythmic patterns.


With his earliest musical experiences learning classical music in the school choir while taking guitar lessons on the East Side of Detroit MI, Lentini eventually began playing lead guitar and singing in rock bands at the age of 15. This experience helped to shape his skills as a player, songwriter, and arranger.  When he entered Wayne State University as a classical guitar major in the mid-1970’s, he studied the instrument with Charles Postlewate and Joe Fava. Fava was the author of a popular guitar method book series and served as a member of the live orchestra that played broadcasts on WJR radio. He was also an influential teacher who taught many of the great guitarists in the region, including the legendary jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell. Along with the classical guitar, Lentini studied composition during his days at Wayne State, writing works for ensembles and orchestra. The Concerto is influenced by the composer's experiences during this period, where he was performing in concerts and clubs in a vibrant musical town that embraced a range of musical styles, including classical, jazz, and rock.


The composition date for the completed Concerto is 1996, though sketches for the work were penned when Lentini performed an early version of the piece on a recital that culminated his studies in classical guitar and composition at Wayne State University dating back to 1981. The first movement, “Andante,” begins with the guitar and orchestra together, delivering an opening musical motive that serves as the foundation for the whole movement. The second movement, “Adagio,” opens with a foreboding passage in the low strings that sets the tone for a movement that brings a feeling of deep reflection to the surface. The final movement, “Allegro,” opens energetically with an introduction that leads to statements from the guitar alternating with solos from the violin and cello.  The fast opening leads to a melodic and expressive second section that moves to an inner cadenza from the guitar, finally returning to the opening idea to close the concerto with a flourish.


Special thanks to Oakland University and President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz for supporting this project. This recording is dedicated to the memory of the composer's mother, Mary Lou Lentini, who passed away on January 25,  2019. — James Lentini


Concerto for Guitar and Strings is published by Les Édition Doberman-Yppan (DO 1251):



Full Circle

Rain Worthington


Full Circle is a contemplation of cycles of emotion that continually emerge and recede throughout life. The music is written for a subtle interplay between the soloist and the orchestra, rather than the traditional role of the soloist being in the forefront. My intention is a shifting of perceptions in which the soloist emerges from the orchestra, in much the way that intense feelings rise from the unconscious, giving voice to emotional currents, and then recede back into the subliminal. A metaphorical image that comes to my mind is of a figure becoming discernible as it emerges from a dense mist, then recedes, blending again into the atmosphere, only to reemerge as a presence again. – Rain Worthington



Camerata Music

Jan Järvlepp


Camerata Music (1989) began life as an octet composed for the eight music teachers of the Camerata Music studio, which continues to operate in Ottawa's west end to this very day. Since the teachers were mostly keyboard players, a very odd instrumentation resulted for this piece. It consisted of flute, classical guitar, cello, accordion, harpsichord, four-hands piano, plus the singing teacher, who got roped into playing the synthesizer. In 1991, they gave the premiere of the piece in Ottawa as part of the Open Score concert series with the composer on the cello.


I decided to orchestrate this piece since I had nothing to offer in the way of orchestral works in my new post-academic style of tonal music. Using brash blocks of color, parallelism in the chord changes, and sudden rhythmic contrasts, I made no attempt to hide the pop music influences contained within.


While I was composing this piece, I went on vacation to Cartagena Colombia where I became familiar with the local vallenato style of folk music. Through the open window of my hotel room I could hear the lively rhythms of the musicians playing on the beach. Without copying them, I tried to capture the joy and rhythmic energy of their music using hand clapping and percussion. For this reason, the percussion instruments play a very important role in this piece.


The orchestral version was premiered by the University of Ottawa Orchestra conducted by David Currie in 1990. He went on to conduct it with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra as well. – Jan Järvlepp


(photos) Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Architecture in Olomouc.



Aperture for Flute and String Orchestra

Peter Castine


Special mention “2001 International Competition for Composers Haifa.”


Work on a concerto for flute and string orchestra began in the late summer of 2001. My initial instinct was of a purely musical nature, wanting to investigate the combination of ideas from the two parallel traditions of the Baroque solo concerto and the concerto grosso. So very early on I decided to bring forward a quartet of solo string instrumentalists out of the orchestra, effectively making this a work for flute, string quartet, and orchestra, providing for three-way competition and cooperation between the parties involved: soloist, concertino, and ripieno.


Work on the composition proceeded steadily for some weeks when the world outside came crashing into my music. The events of September 11 were not to be ignored, and composition became almost impossible in the following weeks. I had grown up in and around New York City and many close to me, including my own mother, had worked in the Twin Towers. Although by 2001 all those I knew personally were no longer working there, the horror of the day was nevertheless close to me. And, as much as I was disturbed by the loss of life, I was also deeply troubled by the question of what could drive human beings from one part of the world to perpetrate atrocities of this order on those in another part of the planet. I knew that the root causes were far more deep-seated than the facile fiction stated as “they hate us for our freedoms,” and that there were real grievances against the United States of which many were, and still are, blithely unaware. That these grievances had festered and smoldered and evolved into such blind hatred was deeply troubling.


It was inescapable that these concerns came to be reflected, in some way, in the music that became Aperture. Solo flute and concertino string quartet, initially closely linked, become increasingly at odds with each other, while the ripieno orchestra alternates between supporting and interrupting the main musical discourse. Despite vocal encouragement from concertino and ripieno, the soloist reaches a point where she breaks off with something akin to despair, at which point time comes to a standstill. As much as I then try to pick up the pieces, for quite a while the music remains in shards, fragmented, with soloist and concertino unable to find their way together and the ripieno not at all sure whether it is even interested in taking part in the same music. The three worlds do, in time, fall together, as things must, echoing the beginning but now, in place of a steady, even flow once heard, there are constantly shifting accents. There is a final concerted, and perhaps overly optimistic, effort to bring all the players together, but the end is, in reality, probably nothing but a deceptive cadence.


Aperture is dedicated to the memory of the victims of terrorism and in mourning for souls lost to hatred. – Peter Castine



Left of Winter for Orchestra

Beth Mehocic


In 2014, I was asked as the Composer-in-Residence for the Dance Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to compose this seven-minute work for orchestra, which was originally used for a men’s dance choreographed by UNLV dance faculty member Richard Havey as a prelude to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Left of Winter is a programmatic piece about young men going off to war for the first time. As the troops march into the train station, they wait for their unit to depart. While “at ease,” the young men reminisce about what life was like before the military. There is even a funeral dirge while the men begin to panic at the thought that they might not return, but in the end, they are called back to attention with the trumpet call and they fall back in line and march onto the train. – Beth Mehocic





Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.

223 Lafayette Road

North Hampton NH 03862



press (at)

603.758.1718 x 151