Mauro Giuliani is best known for his
guitar concertos Op. 30 and 70. Like
contemporary Fernando Sor, Giuliani
also wrote numerous works for guitar
in combination with voice and other
instruments. Aside from their etudes
for guitar, much of what Giuliani and
Sor wrote is infrequently, if at all,
recorded. The quality of Giuliani’s
works for guitar and flute (which he
also played) is well demonstrated in
the splendid recording "Italian
Serenade" with James Galway and
Kazuhito Yamashita (RCA CD 5679-2-RC)
which regrettably is probably now out
This new release from
Jecklin-Disco features the guitar in
an accompaniment role, predominantly
with female voice, but also in combination
with flute and pianoforte.
It is a recording of
which Andrès Segovia would probably
have disapproved because he spent his
life trying to elevate the guitar from
the accompaniment role to which it had
been relegated, especially by the flamencos.
While Segovia’s objective was praiseworthy
it placed the instrument and its players
in rather an insular environment that
ultimately was to be deleterious to
both. This writer is unaware of any
recording made by Segovia in which the
guitar was featured in any other context
than solo or with orchestra. The same
could be said for few other (if any)
famous masters of their instrument.
One must of course also consider that
the guitar is really the only truly
polyphonic stringed instrument, a factor
that complemented this "splendid
On the review disc
there is an overall slavish adherence
to the "period" approach and
each component is in strong compliance.
Highlights of the disc
are the most enjoyable songs and the
way in which they are interpreted by
the soprano Rosa-Maria Meister. She
grew up in the canton of Berne and in
1980 was awarded first prize in the
National Music competition in Geneva.
Ms. Meister’s special interest in early
music motivated her to study early bel
canto technique and she now has built
up a repertoire ranging from the 11th
to the 20th century.
In the late 1980s.guitarist
Laurindo Almeida, soprano Salli Terri
and flautist Martin Ruderman released
a recording "Duets with the Spanish
Guitar" (EMI CDM 7.63256 2). A
second volume also featured a clarinet
and an additional singer. Played on
modern instruments and employing modern
repertory, these recordings established
an important standard for the guitar
in an accompaniment role.
When one reflects on
the guitar/flute combinations of Almeida/Ruderman
and Galway/Yamashita, (period performance
aside), musically the guitar/flute duets
on the review disc are little lacklustre.
Having said that, overall
this is a most enjoyable and worthwhile
recording. Giuliani is not alone in
having his music neglected, but much
of what appears on this disc deserves
exposure and the efforts of all involved
are to be accoladed.
Those who invest in
this rather beautiful and unique recording
will not be disappointed.