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Francisco TÁRREGA (1852-1909)
Recuerdos de La Alhambra (arr. Julio Sagreras) [4:36]
Johannes MÖLLER (1981-)
When Buds are Breaking [13:49]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Tango Suite [16:39]
Cody Daniel BROOKSHIRE (b. 1987)
Prism [12:30]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Miller's Dance: El sombrero de tres picos (arr. Russ)
Pehr NORDGREN (1944-2008)
Portrait of Country Fiddlers: Tuumsikelija [5:18] and Pelimannin clämänkappale [4:51] both arr. Woodruff
Athens Guitar Duo: Dusty Woodruff and Matthew Anderson
rec. St Bartholomews Church, Brighton, England, May 2015
High-Definition 24 bit 192 kHz Stereo
Also available on CD CC6037-2

This is volume 2 of the music that the Athens Guitar Duo took on an extensive international tour. The first disc was called Magellan's Playlist to reflect this voyage of discovery. This present disc takes its title, Memories, from the first item above. Like the previous issue the pieces each come from a different country: Spain (twice), Sweden, Argentina, USA and Finland. Most of the music was not written for two guitars, but is played here in arrangements, but it all sounds thoroughly at home on these instruments. I noted before that, "there can be no doubt as to the commitment of the Athens Duo to this music. There is a crispness, a colouration and a sense of involvement which is most attractive." I find this has been quoted in the accompanying booklet so it is fortunate that this recording exhibits just the same musical qualities. I also said that I wished "they had recorded some Bach arrangements to stretch the listener." They have not done so and this disc therefore, whilst different to Volume 1 and equally attractive, is all-too-easy to listen to. Even the modernist Nordgren is represented by movements from one of his very easiest pieces, so in no sense does the programme represent a challenge for the listener. The only piece during which, it seemed to me, the Athens Duo sounded challenged, is the de Falla dance which I found too slow, lacking in the wildness found in an orchestral performance. This is not just any old dance, it is the dance of man who is probably drunk and definitely of doubtful morality - as is the entire story. Of course, this piece is also the only one I had heard before in any form and could therefore compare. Though short it is a splendid piece and I can quite see why Woodruff and Anderson wanted to include it.

The booklet is a mixture of interesting information and optimistic commentary presumably quoted from composers. I am at a loss to understand, for example, how the Bullrun Toccata by Brookshire can possibly describe "the systematic hacking and decryption that is happening to our personal communication."

So an enjoyable disc of beautifully recorded and very high calibre 'easy listening'. I hope these two highly skilled musicians, using two superb-looking instruments, will soon give us some tougher nuts to crack.

Dave Billinge



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