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en garde!
Keigo FUJII (b.1956)
Sonata for Mandolin and Guitar [15:47]
Stephen Funk PEARSON (b.1952)
Mountain Moor (1995) [8:31]
Jaime M. ZENAMON (b.1953)
Reflexões No.6 [9:32]
Alfonso Carlos MIGUEL (b.1956)
Back to Sirius [11:36]
Maximo Diego PUJOL (b.1957)
Café para dos [5:22]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Oblivion [3:43]
Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997)
Divertissement (1982) [8:26]
Stefan Trekel (mandolin)
Michael Tröster (guitar)
rec. June 2006, ev. Kirche, Niestetal-Sanderhausen

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This unusual and interesting disc contains a selection of music in various styles, given unity through the pairing of guitar and mandolin as played by the duo Trekel-Tröster. While by no means limited to these functions, the instrumentation allows the guitar to perform a full, richly rhythmic accompanying role, while the more penetrating voice of the mandolin can carry the melody line. The sound is attractive, especially in the more than capable hands of this duo.
Keigo Fujii is a stalwart of the Japanese guitar scene, and has long been a lecturer at Osaka University of Music in composition. His Sonata has a rich variety of timbre and a high standard of inventive composition in a conventional, quite romantic tradition. Fujii has many years of experience in Japanese mandolin playing, and explores the instrument to the full. Classical music listeners will probably only know the instrument from exotic solos in orchestral works by Mahler and Respighi, but it is immediately clear that the mandolin is capable of far more than single lines. This impression is continued in Mountain Moor by Stephen Funk Pearson, in which the two instruments are allowed to blend, the mandolin sometimes playing below the guitar and creating some fascinating colours. Pearson’s folk and jazz background appears in some groovy rhythmic passages, and rich progressions, but the overall impression is of ‘tone-painting’ which gives the players the space for expressive performing.
Jaime Mirtenbaum Zenamon is very much a citizen of the world, having been born in Bolivia to European parents, and studying and performing all over the place. The guitar is his own instrument, and as one might expect his Reflexões No.6 is exceptionally well written for both instruments. The work is filled with impressions from a variety of musical cultures, and has a lyrical charm capable of transporting the listener to climes both warm and verdantly luxuriant.
Back to Sirius by Alfonso Carlos Miguel is a rarity in contemporary music these days, with a specific programme which tells the tale of a spaceship’s journey to Sirius, covering events such as meteorite fields and the atmosphere of the darkness of space filled with stars. If one was not aware of this narrative the music comes across as nicely composed, fairly straightforward and sometimes even almost naïve in its writing. Music for the film: ‘Star-Trek’s Mediterranean Vacation.’
Two representatives of the Argentinian ‘tango nuevo’ follow. Maximo Diego Pujol’s Café para dos has all of the nostalgia-inducing romanticism with which Astor Piazzolla is associated, right down to the occasional descending bass line. Piazzolla’s own Oblivion is a jewel of his art, quietly evoking emotions of longing and lost passion.
Jean Françaix’s Divertissement was originally written for two guitars, and has all of the neo-classical lightness, transparency and wit which characterises most of his earlier work. The rousing Rondeaux of this piece concludes the disc with suitable élan.
This CD is well worth seeking out. The mandolin appears here as a many-sided instrument, from the typical ‘mandola tremolo’ which is the only way of extending the duration of notes, through virtuoso passagework and meltingly gentle lyricism and sonorities which mould themselves into the sound of the guitar as a harpsichord can blend with and enhance the warmth of bowed strings. With a varied and imaginative selection of attractive repertoire and superbly brilliant and musical playing, this disc is something of a ‘sleeper’ which you owe yourself to awaken.
Dominy Clements

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