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Aíres Látinos
Antonio LAURO (1917-1986) Vals Venezolano no. 3 [3:21]
Eduardo FALÚ (b. 1923) La Cuartelera [2:48]
Domingo PRAT (1886-1944) Chacarera [1:43]
Remo PIGNONI (1915-1988) Pa’ la Dorita (gato) [1:52]; Por el Sur (huella) [2:55]
Gerónimo BIANQUI PIÑERO (b. 1905) Del Tiempo E’Naupa (milonga urbana) [3:28]
Ariel RAMÍREZ (b. 1921) La Peregrinación (huella) [2:31]
LAURO: Vals Venezolano no. 2 [1:43]
Arahualpa YUPANQUI (1908-1992) La Pobrecita (zamba) [3:33]
Anonymous: Viva Jujuy (Argentine folksong) [2:31]
Jõao TEIXEIRA GUIMARAES (1883-1947) Sons de Carrilhões (Sounds of Bells) [2:23]
Jorge CARDOSO (b. 1949) Pablo de los Regresos (huella) [2:01]; Milonga [3:59]; Gato [1:35]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Otoño Porteño (tango) [4:07]; Invierno Porteño (tango) [3:21]; Primavera Porteña (tango) [4:48]
Manuel Maria PONCE (1882-1948) Scherzino Mexicano [3:18]
Pawel Nawara (guitar)
Tomasz Kaszubowski (guitar)
rec. Hard Record Studio, Warsaw, 5 December 2003; 17 January, 14 May, 4 June, 6 November 2004. DDD
CD ACCORD ACD 139-2 [54:23]

 

Aíre Latíno (without the plural) is also the name of a recent recording of solo guitar works, performed by David Russell. I was a bit worried when I saw the present disc. Russell is one of the finest living guitarists, so he has perhaps "earned the right" to put out a collection of Latin American bon-bons. But an unknown Polish duo? I was afraid they were taking the road of so many other debut guitar albums, trotting out the same waltzes and choros that got them through numerous competitions and concert encores.

No worries. While we do have a few pieces here by heavyweights such as Lauro and Piazzolla, we also have a preponderance of unknown repertoire, much of it Argentinean but a few other countries are also represented. And the Polish guys play the Latin American music superbly. The uniquely cross-cultural nature of this enterprise is evidenced in a small way by the unique combination of languages in which the liner notes are printed: Polish, English, and Spanish. The English translation is not perfect, but not imperfect enough to detract from comprehension.

A few notes on the composers represented here. First, the familiar names. Venezuelan Antonio Lauro, and particularly his waltzes, are staples of the solo guitar repertoire. From the sounds of these arrangements, there is plenty to keep two guitarists busy. Ariel Ramírez is known as a choral composer, and the piece here, Pilgrimage, is an arrangement of one of the songs from his Navidad Nuestra (Our Christmas). Astor Piazzolla is, of course, the renowned figure who brought the tango to the world of classical music.

The less familiar: Eduardo Falú is an Argentinean composer and singer who finds his inspiration here in the zamba, which (not the tango, it turns out) is the national dance, a courtship dance in which couples circle each other waving white handkerchiefs. Domingo Prat was a Spanish émigré to Argentina after having studied with Tárrega back home. Pignoni composed his three-dance sequence for the piano. He is also Argentinean; beyond that there doesn’t seem to be much information available in English, which is unfortunate, because his music is ingratiating. The milonga is a Uruguayan type of song adapted by Argentineans, in this case Gerónimo Bianqui Piñero. He’s also a difficult person to find information about - one begins to wish that the liner notes provided a little more insight on the composers, though they do a good job of introducing the pieces. Atahualpa Yupanqui was a folklore researcher who turned his research into material for writing art-song; La Pobrecita is a guitar arrangement by Bianqui Piñero of one of Yupanqui’s songs.

Brazilian composer Jõao Teixeira Guimaraes, nicknamed Pernambuco - which is both a region in Brazil and a type of wood used for violin bows - was active in musical life in Recife and São Paulo early in the twentieth century. Sounds of Bells is written in the style of the choro, which Villa-Lobos would make famous. Jorge Cardoso is a prolific Argentinean composer for guitar, who has a web page at http://monsite.wanadoo.fr/jorgecardoso/ (some of which is in English).

Each piece, influenced by both the rhythm of dance and the lyricism of song, is worth repeated listening. The "Duet Gitarowy" or "guitar duo" of Pawel Nawara and Tomasz Kaszubowski approach perfection in this recording. Their expression of color, dynamic contrast, and rhythmic movement is spot-on. They are assisted by a recording that captures them clearly and warmly. Bravos all around — I look forward to hearing more guitar recordings from Poland!

Brian Burtt

 


 



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