The Australian guitarist Slava Grigoryan has produced
sparkling accounts of some of the best known works of two of the most
popular guitarist/composers of the classical era, Fernando Sor and Mauro
Giuliani. These are joined by a work from the same period, in transcription
from the violin, Paganini’s "24th Caprice". All
of these works have been recorded numerous times before, so it is to
Slava Grigoryan’s credit that he has brought a freshness to pieces in
the guitar’s repertoire that are so familiar.
Sor’s "Variations on a theme of Mozart" is
dispatched with a sense of wit and playfulness often lacking in many
performances. The opening of the "Grand Solo" has a dark brooding
quality that contrasts well with the energetic section that follows.
Slava is joined in what must be Sor’s most popular duet work, the "L’Encouragement",
by his brother Leonard, and the collaboration proves to be most satisfying
with a good deal of sympathetic interplay to their ensemble. As with
the Sor, the two works by Mauro Giuliani are played with authority and
a good sense of style. The virtuoso aspects are executed with precise
It should not be forgotten that Nicolo Paganini was
an accomplished guitarist, but his skill on the guitar was overshadowed
by his legendry prowess on the violin. Slava Grigoryan here plays the
Caprice No.24, originally for the violin, with no hint of the formidable
difficulties that the piece holds.
It sounds as if Slava is using low-tension strings,
which produces a sweet tone and openness to the sound, which is attractive
to the ear and although the microphone placement feels close there is
no harshness to the recorded sound and very little unwanted string noise.
Overall, the presentation of the disc is excellent with informative
inlay notes and photographs of the artist.