One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger




Duo Erato - Musings
Pierre PETIT (1922-2000)

1. Toccata pour Deux Guitares [6:13]
César FRANCK (1822-1890)

Prelude, Fugue and Variations Op.18; 2. Prelude (Andantino) [3:42]; 3. Lento [0:47]; Fugue (Allegretto ma non troppo) [2:10]; Variation (Andantino) [4:14]
Johann PADOWETZ (1800-1873)

6. Concert variations on The Carnival of Venice Op. 62 [6:25]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)

7. Evocation from Iberia [5:50]; 8. El Puerto from Iberia [4:23]
Fernando SOR (1776-1839)

L’Encouragement Op.34; 9.Cantabile [4:08]; 10.Theme [0:52]; 11.Variation I [0:42]; 12 Variation II [1:57]; 13 Variation III [1:28]; 14 Valse [3:18]
Ernesto CORDERO (b.1946)

Sonatina Tropical; 15.Mi Guajirita [2:22]; 16.Cancion Azul [2:25]; 17 Salsa en Pinoñes [7:08].
Bernardo PASQUINI (1637-1710)

Sonata in d minor; 18. Allegro [1:20]; 19Adagio [3:06]; 20. Vivace [1:08]
Martha Masters and Risa Carlson, guitars
rec. at Loyola Marymount University.

During the 1970s two musicians established a performing alliance that, on a purely theoretical basis, some may have anticipated would be less than ideal.

With concerted effort it would be difficult to identify two guitarists who are more disparate in their approach to the guitar than Julian Bream and John Williams. Despite this, in a genre that requires seamless affinity and a true "oneness", the duo guitar recordings that they made were surprisingly good. The anticipated criticism was forthcoming but this writer has always respected and enjoyed the fruits of that relationship.

Martha Masters and Risa Carlson are from similar musical backgrounds and both studied under Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. In their approach to playing the guitar each reflects that common training. Duo Erato was formed during their time at the Peabody.

Comparing this new release with the duo recordings of Breams/Williams one may come to at least one conclusion: based purely on solo performance and theoretical compatibility/incompatibility considerations, any prediction regarding the quality of what may be produced as a duo is highly fallible - in essence Bream and Williams did it much better than Masters and Carlson.

The strength of this new disc is the programme.

While musically the disc gets off to rather a shaky start with Toccata pour deux Guitares by Pierre Petit, the Prelude, Fugue and Variation Opus 18 by César Franck that follows has serious merit.

From personal experience English guitarist Carlos Bonell, born of Spanish parents, has expressed acute awareness of the challenge in playing music for which the musician has no cultural connection. He is able quickly to discern if a guitarist playing Spanish music understands nuances of that music.

On the review disc, renditions of music by Isaac Albéniz (7), (8), do not convey the "Spanish spirit" or nuances one has come to expect from Alicia de Larrocha, Andrès Segovia or indeed Englishman Julian Bream. The music from Op. 34 by Sor fares better.

The compositions by Ernesto Cordero and Bernardo Pasquini are less frequently recorded and therefore welcome.

Programme-wise this is an enjoyable recording but the duo guitar playing does not compare with the best available.

Zane Turner

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.