I composed the Twenty Miniatures for Guitar in the summer and fall of 2009, as a result of winning a grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Many of my prior works for guitar were commissioned by virtuoso performers and ensembles. Consequently, I wanted to write some music that many guitarists could enjoy playing, including serious students, amateurs, and professionals. I found it invigorating to try to write short, accessible pieces that have musical depth and focus, and include some technical challenges while maintaining a level of playability that does not exclude all but professional guitarists.
The compositional style of the Miniatures reflects my jazz influences, interest in harmonic development, and admiration for implied counterpoint. I have tried to stay quite focused with regards to textural and rhythmic settings, relying on those to provide continuity while (hopefully!) allowing melodic and harmonic development to provide variety. There are bits of milonga, jazz waltz, folk music, even a touch of celtic influence. Programatically, the set opens with a group of five pieces that are musically and technically the most accessible of the twenty, and concludes with a theme and four variations, which explore differing moods on the same melody.
My edition is purposely somewhat sparse in its musical indications and fingerings. As an educator, I feel that fingering in guitar music is extremely important, but can also be personal. While I have indicated many of the fingerings I use, I invite guitarists to explore other options. Similarly, I feel that interpretation, dynamics, tempi, and phrasing should be guided not only by the composer but also by the performer. I am often delighted when I hear a performance of my music that includes new expressive ideas. The indicated tempi are suggestions, not specific requirements. I also prefer to write note durations, particularly in the bass, that are easy to read and reflective of musical intent. It is frequently impossible to sustain bass notes for their full duration, and I advise performers of my music to assuage any frustration they might feel about this reality of guitar music by remembering that one of the charms of our instrument is its organic, less-than-perfect consistency. - Matthew Dunne
"This is a set of pieces absolutely worth obtaining and playing." - David Norton, Soundboard Magazine
"Without exception all are extremely well-written by a highly skilled composer who understands well the intricacies, nuances and characteristics of the guitar. Within these diminutive, well-devised works one can hear influences of jazz, folk, South America and other styles but however disguised these influences sometimes are the composer's personal stamp shines through;here is a very clever writer.
Although not indicated as such, these could very easily be designated as guitar studies and would provide excellent material for the intermediate student, they certainly cover a lot of ground both technically and also from an interpretative perspective.
With none of the items outstaying their welcome, these pieces are some of the best and most worthy contemporary solo guitar works that I've come across in quite a while." - Steve Marsh, Classical Guitar Magazine