A Tre are a German
guitar trio formed in 1984 There is
little original repertoire for this
combination of instruments so this recital
consists mainly of arrangements of a
variety of different types of music.
It was inevitable,
I suppose, that they would start with
‘Carmen’. Bizet’s French-inspired Spanishisms
prove surprisingly effective when transferred
to guitar. The trio play an arrangement
based on the 2nd Carmen Suite
(Prelude, Habañera, Entr’acte)
with the addition of the Chanson Bohème.
All three players are technically adept
and deal easily with the tricky arrangement.
The results are most enjoyable and guaranteed
to bring a smile to the face.
The following two items
on the disc also play on the guitar’s
Spanish links. In this case both composers,
Granados and Albeniz, were Spanish and
the sound and style of the guitar is
more intimately linked to the music.
According to the liner
notes, Haydn did write duos and trios
for lute although none have survived.
Here, the trio play an arrangement of
an early string quartet, Opus 2 no.
2. The result is more effective than
I would have thought possible and the
trio play with style. But the guitar’s
ability to hold a sustained line is
vastly different to that of a bowed
instrument. This means that the whole
sound-world and harmonic basis of the
pieces are affected; really all you
can do is forget Haydn and sit back
and enjoy some fine musicianship.
The Hungarian composer
Ferenc Farkas studied in Rome with Respighi
and he has some seventy film scores
to his name. His ‘Citharoedia Strigoniensis’
is an original work for three guitars
using musical themes from 18th
century Esztergom. It is a pleasant
three movement neo-classical work, very
effectively written for this rather
unusual combination of instruments.
With Astor Piazzolla
we are moving away from pure classical
music. Though he studied with Nadia
Boulanger, Piazzolla created his own
synthesis with the traditional Argentinean
tango to produce ‘Tango Nuevo’. Essential
to the sound of Piazzolla’s music is
the bandoneon, a kind of overgrown accordion.
Though, of course, this is missing in
A Tre’s arrangements, the performances,
with their interesting sonic and percussive
effects, are fascinating and entertaining.
The final work on the
disc is an arrangement of a piece by
the Belgian jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
I am never sure about notated arrangements
of jazz pieces, but this little work
is charming and effective.
I can highly recommend
this disc. It is full of attractive
arrangements, entertainingly played.