The Chelva Suite
for guitar

Composition Date: 2017
Duration: 00:22:45
Genre: Strings (plectral), Solo, Guitar / Lute, Solo


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Guitar
Click here to download full work (8.84 Mb - Not printable)

Programme Note:
The Chelva Suite was written during a month long residency in a village of 1500 people. I lived in a lovely medieval apartment overlooking pastures, gardens and a mountain. The town was small enough to walk everywhere. My apartment, provided at a nominal rent by sound artists Peter Bosch and Simone Simons, had very thick walls and lots of natural light. I brought my guitar, some pencils and manuscript paper.

Gift of Light was started while I played guitar during a brief power outage. On the deck I watched the sun turn from orange, to red and crimson as it set. Throughout the piece a melody is melody poised over an accompaniment that features tiny dissonances. It closes with a section in the upper register that pays homage to the Saudade movement from Le Catédral by Augustin Barrios.

Chiara's Window was finished in Toronto using some of the ideas from Gift of Light. Before returning to Toronto I spent a few days in Lisbon staying with jazz singer Chiara Pellegrini. Moments after arriving I found a lyric sheet to one of my favourite bossa nova tunes on her table and we ran through it a few times. We continued to enjoy playing together and this little Bossa Nova is a way of thanking her for the joyous music making.

I walked the flora filled path beside the river Chelva several times. There were numerous ruins along its bank, including remnants from medieval dwellings, a broken canal and a building from the early 20th century. The static opening of Ruins By The River reflects the sense of timelessness I felt seeing the first few buildings. Another section features a simple treble accompaniment while the melody on the bass strings invokes a prayer. A final section moves into more active figures, like the river bestowing its gifts.

Walking down to the river there were a number of terraced gardens and farm plots. Each was held in place by a retaining wall from the Moorish settlement, around a thousand years old. Walking by them I mused on the voices that had rebounded from those stones. Ancient Walls is in G Dorian, with four simple melodic sections separated by short, rhapsodic interludes.

Ventana El Poniente was the first piece I wrote in Chelva, and it seemed befitting that it would be in G Phrygian, since so many Spanish songs use that mode. The opening and most of the piece is a vigorous moto perpetuo, but it ends with a series of soft sweet chords. Before the work’s first public performance, during the Arrabal Cultural festival in Chelva, I asked the audience to suggest potential names. One woman suggested the wind that comes across the land in the region - El Poniente. With a poetic flourish she added the word ventana or window, capturing my outsider's perspective.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 4111 B385che
  • Genre:
  • Strings (plectral), Solo, Guitar / Lute, Solo
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • September 12, 2017
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • Score
    19 Pages
    Height: 11 inches
    Width: 8.5 inches
  • Additional Information:
  • I. Gift Of Light
    II. Chiara's Window
    III. Ruins By The River
    IV. Ancient Walls
    V. Ventana El Poinente
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The Chelva Suite for guitar by William Beauvais (Score)
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The Chelva Suite for guitar: Score
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The Chelva Suite for guitar
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