Søffren Degen’s En Sommeraften op. 15 for violoncello and guitar is one of ten pieces for violoncello and guitar by this composer edited by Jens Bang-Rasmussen and now published by Tecla Editions.
Here are some notes on it, by Jens Bang-Rasmussen.
En Sommeraften op. 15 (A summer evening), for violoncello and guitar
Melody is the foundation of Degen’s music. The cello sings beautifully all the way though the piece. Degen truly treats the cello as an elegy.
The guitar part resembles the guitar parts known of N. Paganini.
The piece is in Danish national romantic style. Degen’s use of contrast between major and minor is a mean of expression throughout most of his own compositions. The melodic material is inspired from Danish folk songs. The harmonisation in Degen’s arrangement has a touch of late romantic music in the way he uses chromatic mediant modulations from e-major to c-natural in the end of the piece. I decided to correct some of the very harsh dissonances because Degen rarely use harsh dissonances throughout his work. Every correction made to this score is in the corrections sheet below. One can argue that these dissonances makes sense in a late romantic context, and the guitar has a tradition for using harsh dissonance dating back to baroque guitar. There seems to be small inconsequences in Degen’s writing especially in the guitar part. After spending many hours with Degen’s music, this appears to be a very sophisticated way of orchestrating cello and guitar.