In dark times, what can be better than the gift of music?
Bill McIntyre and his partner, Libby Hewson, have commissioned one of the world's leading composers to write a piece of music for Guitar Trek, the Canberra-based quartet with an international reputation.
The couple invited the four guitarists around to dinner and presented the score of the new work to them.
The piece - Cuban Landscape with Son (the Spanish word for sound) - was written by Leo Brouwer at the request of the two music lovers who live in Rivett.
"We asked him to compose something Cuban with a dance rhythm," Bill McIntyre said.
Cuba-based Brouwer is recognised in the world of the classical guitar as the top living composer for the instrument.
"I'm very keen on classical guitar," Mr McIntyre said, "and the preeminent group in Australia is Guitar Trek."
Mr McIntyre searched the web for a contact with the composer and eventually got through to Mr Brouwer's wife, Isabelle Hernandez.
Negotiations took place and $12,500 was agreed - and the score emerged.
"I was totally bowled over," Tim Kain, the senior member of Guitar Trek said when he and the other three were presented with it.
"Leo Brouwer is one of the icons of the guitar world. He's the major living figure of contemporary classical guitar.
"It was a complete surprise and a wonderful thing for Guitar Trek to have such international recognition. It's dedicated to Guitar Trek."
He said the piece was "varied" with Cuban rhythms interspersed with occasional dissonant harmonies.
Guitar Trek has a recording session lined up early next year and the quartet might well record the new work then.
"Everything is so indefinite with Covid, it's very hard to say when we will play it in public," Mr Kain said.
"In this time of Covid, to have that kind of support for the arts is especially welcome.
"When everything is closed down, you can't get out to play and something like that landing on your desk is a real boost. So a huge thanks to Bill and Libby."
The couple are something of an institution within the Canberra guitar community in that before Covid, they organised concerts given by top guitarists from Australia, Europe and North America in their living room. That's all stopped during the pandemic.
Mr Kain recently celebrated his 70th birthday. He is one of Australia's leading players and the builder of Canberra's reputation as the pre-eminent centre for classical guitar music in Australia.
He's made a string of recordings, including one of duets with the doyen of the guitar, John Williams.
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