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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Slava and Leonard Grigoryan play:-
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)

Tango Suite [17:56]
1. Deciso [5:41]
2. Andante [5:19]
3. Allegro [6:56]
Eduard GRIGORYAN (b. 1955)

4. Kolobok
Radames GNATTALI (1906-1988)

Retratos [20:16]
5. Pixinguinha (choro) [5:11]
6. Ernesto Nazareth (valsa) [5:50]
7. Anacleto de Medeiros (schottisch) [4:22]
8. Chinquinha Gonzaga (corta-jaca) [4:53]
Andrew YORK (b.1958)

9. Evening Dance
Eduard GRIGORYAN

10. Day dreams [4:18]
Slava and Leonard Grigoryan (guitars)
Recorded 10-16 December 2002 in Avalon Studio, Australia
ABC CLASSICS 472 824-2 [59:24]


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If you like the guitar then you’ll be sure to enjoy this disc from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. These two young brothers of Armenian origin, living in Australia, play beautifully and in complete accord. At times it is hard to tell there are two people playing. I often feel that the guitar is heard to best effect without other instruments surrounding it (Rodrigo’s "Concierto de Aranjuez" being one of the obvious exceptions). This disc is a perfect example of this. The notes coming from the instrument, when well recorded, as here, are so sharply in focus that it is a truly thrilling experience.

The disc begins with "Tango Suite" by Astor Piazzolla, the virtual inventor of the ‘nuevo tango’ of the 1940s and 1950s, whose writing for the bandoneon, that unique take on the concertina, makes such music so exciting. His suite was written for the Duo Assad, another pair of guitar-playing siblings, in 1980, and has no echoes of sentimentality, coming from a composer who wrote that "…the current tango is just a nostalgic and dull imitation of those times…", referring to the way in which the Buenos Aires of the 1950s "…was a place where people wore tango, walked tango, where there was a smell of tango all over the city". Beginning with a powerful and erotic depiction of the heyday of the tango, the suite moves on to a more reflective and serious mood. It ends with an allegro that incorporates a lightness of spirit and a feeling of "all’s well that ends well". Piazzolla’s Suite manages to embody the powerful atmosphere of times past without the bitterness of regret but rather with the pride of celebration.

Next on the menu is Kolobok by the duo’s father Eduard. This tells the cautionary tale of a naughty little round loaf (!) that comes to life and escapes from the window sill where it was left to cool, and after several adventures, having managed to survive encounters with a rabbit, a bear, and a wolf, is eaten by the ever crafty fox. The music has a vibrant melody to depict the little loaf, and often allows the two guitars to conduct a dialogue.

Then comes music from Brazilian Radames Gnattali (his father named each of his 3 children after characters from Verdi operas!), whose "Retratos" is a folk-inspired suite that pays tribute to four indigenous composers. The first part is a "choro" (pronounced "shor-o" and is Portuguese for "to cry") and is dedicated to Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Jr., (1898-1973), a black Brazilian nicknamed Pixinguinha who did much to promote Brazilian music at home and abroad through his concerts and recordings of a genre of music that found its popularity in the café culture of 1920s Rio de Janeiro. The second movement, a waltz, is in homage to Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934), Brazilian composer and arranger, conductor and bandleader, teacher and instrumentalist, and pioneer of "choro". The third section is dedicated to another stalwart of the Brazilian musical scene, Anacleto de Medeiros (1866-1907), a popular dance music composer as well as teacher, bandleader and performer, and is a Bavarian polka-like dance, popular in the 1850s. The final movement of the suite is dedicated to Chinquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935), piano teacher, "choro" performer and prolific composer of dances, songs and music for the theatre, who managed to achieve both fame and financial independence in the early 20th Century, despite the prejudices that dogged women at the time. The music takes the form of a lively country dance and which is especially effective.

The fourth work on this disc is entitled "Evening Dance" and is a delicious musical confection by American guitarist and composer Andrew York, and the disc is rounded off by another of the brothers’ father Eduard’s compositions "Day dreams", a wonderfully wistful character piece.

The whole disc is delightfully infectious and wonderfully played and can’t help but make you smile - a fitting tribute to a couple of extremely talented young guitarists. I’m certain we’ll hear more of them.

Steve Arloff

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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