Music
Garth Baxter is noted as a modern traditionalist composer. This is a style that combines the traditions of form and clear melodic writing with the use of contemporary approaches to harmonies and other elements. He has composed works for various performance mediums, ranging from intimate solo and small group settings to larger ensembles such as orchestra and concert band. His compositions have been performed around the world.

Guitar Compositions

* Click a song title to view (or hide) a description.

Grandmother, Think Not I Forget  YouTube

3 and a half minutes, Intermediate. Les Productions D'OZ. Contact publisher for price. CD $5.

Words by Garth Baxter and Katherine Baxter freely adapted from a poem by Willa Cather.

This song is a touching tribute to the composer's wife's grandmother.

This song evokes tremendous response from audiences. The song speaks to all who have lost a loved one.

From the Heart: Three American Women

A CYCLE OF NINE SONGS IN THREE MINI-VOLUMES BROKEN DOWN BY POETS.

17-20 minutes, Difficulty varies Columbia Music Contact publisher for price.

This song cycle was the topic of a doctoral dissertation by Evelyn Fair (Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, 2006).

Volume One

Three From Sara

Words by Sara Teasdale

  1. There Will Come Soft Rains

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate.

    This is a song of protest against war.

    This is a lyrical poem with a simple folk-like setting.

  2. The Inn of Earth

    Two minutes, Upper intermediate for voice, intermediate for guitar.

    This is a song of concern for the world - particularly in reference to third world countries.

    Jazzy setting that helps portray the coldness of the world.

  3. February Twilight

    One and a half minutes, Upper beginning.

    This is a simple, romantic lyrical song of escape.

Volume Two

Two Remembrances

Words by Susan Laura Lugo

  1. Gone With the Wind

    3 minutes, Intermediate for vocalist, upper beginning for guitar.

    This is a reflective song of remembrance of a daughter who died.

    Through-composed except that the two parts end with the same refrain.

  2. August YouTube

    2 minutes, Intermediate.

    A bluesy song that quickly transforms the listener to a sweltering afternoon sitting on the porch with no breeze in sight, just trying to keep cool.

Volume Three

Willa

Words by Willa Cather

  1. The Tavern

    3 minutes, Intermediate.

    This is a highly emotional song depicting a feeling of being without any true friends or lovers.

    Song in four stanzas with each stanza set to similar music.

  2. The Hawthorn Tree

    2 minutes, Lower intermediate.

    A sweet love song.

    Modified strophic setting of two verses.

  3. L'envoi

    2 and a half minutes, Intermdiate.

    A lyrical song of being alone.

    There are a number of lines in the poem that begin the same and therefore the music is the same for those lines. The song has a short introduction and a short codetta. Each of these ends the same way.

  4. Spanish Johnny YouTube

    Three minutes, Intermediate for voice, lower advanced for guitar.

    This song is about a criminal in the old west.

    Through-composed, although each stanza ends with the same music for the vocalist that is followed by the same guitar part. There is some traditional Spanish style music to reflect the poetry. The guitar part has some tremolo sections that capture the image of a mandolin (which is referred to in the poem).

    This song has been praised as a classic and is always the hit of the recital.

In Memoriam

SATB, piano and hammer dulcimer or SATB, piano and guitar. (Also available in SATB and piano.)

5 minutes, medium difficulty. Alymar Publications, $15.

Moving song using the poem (1916) by Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh which was written in memory of Private David Sutherland and the other members of his troop, who were killed in battle. Lt. Mackintosh, himself, was killed in battle 6 months later.

The melodic material is modal and folk-like. The song is written in an 'ABABA' form.

Two Songs of Reflection

Voice and Guitar or Voice and Piano.

6 minutes, Difficulty varies. Les Productions D'OZ.

  1. The Cradle Song

    Words by William Blake.

    3 minutes, Lower advanced.

    An interesting text that begins as a lullaby of a mother to a baby and then midway becomes a song about the baby Jesus.

    The music is set in a binary form to reflect the poetry. Each section has two verses with each being set to similar music.

    Tonal but highly chromatic with many leaps for the vocalist in the A section. The B section is almost folk-like in simplicity.

  2. What Death Can Touch

    Words by Chaim Stern.

    3 minutes, Lower intermediate.

    Highly touching words about losing a loved one.

    Through-composed but with many similar phrases.

Three Madrigals

Voice and Guitar or Voice and Piano.

6 minutes, Difficulty varies. Alymar.

  1. There is a Lady Sweet and Kind

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate for voice, upper intermediate for guitarist.

    The song captures the mood of light romantic innocence with just a hint of melancholy. This, as well as the other two songs from this set, is written in the style of a renaissance lute song.

    It is written in AA'BA"B' form.

  2. The Silver Swan

    3 minutes, Difficult for voice, upper intermediate for guitarist.

    A new setting of the famous song by Orlando Gibbons (?)

    Set in ternary form with a coda.

  3. Love Me Not for Comely Grace

    2 minutes, Intermediate for voice, upper intermediate for guitarist.

    Light hearted love song.

    Through composed but similar motives in each verse.

The Four Songs from Twelfth Night YouTube

Words by William Shakespeare.

8 minutes, Difficulty varies. Les Productions D'Oz.

Each of the songs are written in a low key so that they can be easily raised to whatever key is necessary for the vocalist through the use of a capo for the guitarist.

  1. O Mistress Mine

    Light hearted love song. Folk-like, up-tempo.

    Guitar can capo up to allow the singer to sing in a higher key.

    Difficulty: Easy.

  2. Come Away, Come Away Death

    Two and a half minutes, Upper beginning for voice, lower intermediate for guitarist.

    Tongue in cheek sad song of a pathetic soul in love.

    Two verses in strophic form. Introduction, ending and an interlude are all the same music for the guitar.

  3. I Am Gone Sir

    1 minute, Upper beginning level.

    Humorous song sung by the jester.

    Through-composed but ends with same music as it begins with.

  4. When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy

    Fun, folk-like ending to the play. Guitar part can either play chords or a more interesting written accompaniment.

    Guitar can capo up to allow the singer to sing in a higher key.

    Difficulty: Easy.

Your Face is Beautiful

2 minutes, Lower intermediate. Alymar $5.

Words by Sara Teasdale

This is a lyrical song of great love.

Written in ABA' form.

Two Songs from La Casa de Bernarda Alba (A Play by Federico Garcia Lorca)

Easy to lower intermediate level. Alymar Publications $10, CD $5.

These songs were commissioned by the McDaniel College theatre department.

  1. Little Lamb

    Female voice a cappella or with guitar accompaniment.

    Somewhat emotional song sung by a slightly bewildered older woman.

    Difficulty: moderately easy. The guitar part mixes rasqueado strumming and single note accompaniment.

  2. Here Come the Reapers

    Men's chorus and guitar.

    This short song reflects the spirit of the workers in the field and their relationships with the women of the village.

    Folk-like in nature with simple strumming accompaniment for the guitar (after a short written out introduction).

Dos Canciones de la Casa de Bernarda Alba (Una Obra de Federico Garcia Lorca)

De facil a intermedio nivel. Alymar Publications. $10, CD $5.

  1. Ovejita

    Voz femenina a cappella o con el acompanamiento de la guitarra.

    Cancion algo emocional cantada por una mujer vieja un poco desconcertada

    Dificultad: moderado facil. La parte de la guitarra mezcla rasqueado y el solo acompanamiento de la nota.

  2. Ya Salen Los Segadores

    Coro de hombres y guitarra.

    Esta cancion corta refleja el espiritu de los trabajadores en el campo y sus relaciones con las mujeres de la aldea.

    Folklorico en naturaleza con el acompanamiento simple de rasguear para la guitarra (despues de una corta introduccion escrita).

Rusticola YouTube

Four and a half minutes, Moderately difficult. Les Productions D'OZ.

A fun piece in ternary form. The A section is jazzy while the B section is lyrical.

Twelfth Night, Guitar Music for YouTube

Words by William Shakespeare.

8 minutes, Difficulty varies. Les Productions D'Oz.

Each of the songs are written in a low key so that they can be easily raised to whatever key is necessary for the vocalist through the use of a capo for the guitarist.

  1. Packington's Pound

    This setting uses the traditional tune credited to Francis Cutting and adds a variation by Garth Baxter.

  2. Mrs. Winter's Jump

    The tune by John Dowland is followed by two variations by Garth Baxter.

  3. Mistress Mine Well May You Fare

    A rather elaborate setting of the song of the same name by Thomas Morely.

  4. When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy

    A fun medley of melodies used for the song that ends the play.

Edgefield YouTube

8 minutes, upper intermediate. Les Productions D'OZ. Contact publisher for price. CD $5.

This is a tonal piece in ternary form. The lyrical A section is very loosely based on the hymn tune by the same name. The B section is episodic and dramatic. It is chromatic and restless. The return to the A is very similar to the original one except for a reference to a theme from the B section and a short codetta.

The Gray and Pearl Guitar Duo as well as the Castelliano-Andriacio Duo have praised this piece.

To Aegir

In "To Aegir", Baxter melds together the worlds of the atonal and tonal. By combining aspects of 12 tone music with more traditional tonal languages, he creates a world that is sometimes lyrical and romantic, sometimes sharply angular and tense, but always driving forward, full of color and emotional expression. The music commands its own definition of what it considers consonant and dissonant. It is a successful example of how old and new musical languages and styles can co-exist within the framework of a single piece of music.
-Kevin Shannon of the Atlantic Guitar Quartet

5-6 minutes, intermediate. Les Productions D'OZ. Contact publisher for price.

Atonal piece with some tonal and bitonal sections. It has some similarities to Alban Berg's works in that it is romantic and lyrical in the traditional sense but uses a more contemporary approach to tonality and harmonies.

This work has been performed by dozens of college guitar ensembles.

Shenendoah: A Fantasy

10 minutes, intermediate except for 1st guitar which is slightly more difficult Guitar Chamber Music Press.

Dedicated to Glenn Caluda and Shenandoah Conservatory of Music.

The work is in arch form (ABCBA) with the middle section being the folk song Shenandoah. There are also references to the folk song in the introduction and the coda. The different sections are contrasting. The A section is lyrical and chromatic (but tonal). The B section is up-tempo and highly chromatic. The C section is lyrical and very traditional in approach to harmonies. After a rather straight statement of the folk song the rest of this section develops the theme a little. The final B section ends with a lengthy transition to the final A. The transition is based on the A theme and contains some heavy counterpoint which finally dissolves into the return of the lyrical A theme.

Many colleges have also performed this piece.

A Touch O'Carolan YouTube

6 minutes, intermediate. ALRY, CD $5.

A medley of four tunes of various styles, by the Eighteenth Century Irish harpist Turlough Carolan, freely arranged for flute and guitar.

The tunes are:

  • Blind Mary

  • Carolan's Concerto

  • Sheebeg and Sheemore

  • Carolan's Draught

A fun piece of traditional Irish "folk music" with just a hint of Baroque influence. The songs were arranged from the original melodies, which were written without any harmonies. Mr. Baxter added the harmonies, counterpoint and ornamentation while trying to keep as close as possible to the original melodies. The melodies are spread between the two instruments.

This work has received high praise from Flutar, one of the premier flute and guitar duos in the world.

Moszkowski - Three Spanish Dances

Arranged for Flute and Guitar.

9 Minutes, intermediate to upper intermediate. Mel Bay Publications availible in 2006.

Three light, melodic dances from the Opus 12 dances for piano by the German composer (1854-1924).

Tchaikovsky - June

Arranged for Flute and Guitar.

4 minutes Intermediate ALRY Publications.

This is an arrangement June from The Seasons (sometimes called The Months) for Piano by Tchaikovsky.

La Nostalgie YouTube

3 and one-half minutes, lower intermediate level. ALRY Publications. (Check with the publisher for the price.) CD $5.

La Nostalgie is a simple tune based on two Jewish folk songs (Tumbalalyka and Dundai). Although the original folk songs are generally played rather fast, the mood portrayed here is one of sadness and nostalgia. To achieve that mood, La Nostalgie should not be played too quickly. This is a light piece that is perfect for student performers, but there is enough depth here to interest professionals as well.

Five Renaissance Pieces for solo guitar

Une Belle Fleur for flute and guitar

Written for the Friedman-Wysong Duo.

5 minutes, upper intermediate level

Romantic piece featuring two main melodies. The flute and guitar are equal partners.

Afternoon on a Hill for voice and guitar (dedicated to Audrey Desjardins and Gabriel Jean)

1+ minute. Easy.

Arranged from the voice and piano cycle Three Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

When Lights Begin to Show (Flute, Clarinet and Guitar) YouTube

5 minutes

Written for the marriage of Amit and Rajni.