For the next few weeks, we’re breaking our usual bi-weekly Tuesday format of alternating glimpses at new CDs with new sheet music releases, simply because we have so many new CDs coming in we need to catch up a bit! So, here are some of the CDs that have come into the Classical Guitar office recently. We’ll have three more next week.
If you have a CD you’d like to submit to us, here’s our address:
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Some of these will be reviewed in the magazine, some not. But we want to at least mention them here. You can listen to some of these on various of streaming services, but we always encourage you to support the artists by actually buying anything you like! Obviously we cannot research and report every outlet or online business where these albums are sold, so check your favorite places that sell CDs and downloads!
To see our previous listings, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Ghosting Brasil Guitar Duo
CAG (Concert Artists Guild)
This superb CD opens with a pair of wonderful Baroque keyboard pieces by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764), arranged for two guitars by BGD member João Luiz. The duo’s timing is absolutely impeccable; everything is as clean and confidently rendered as can be. From there, the rest of the album is by modern, living composers (with the exception of Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose rather dark “Prelude” for Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4. appears). Gerard Drozd, who has written for the duo in the past, contributes a new piece for them, the seven-part Suite Op. 142, which is, the composer says, “a kind of music that can describe different moods, places, human characters, etc. There is no need to describe each movement separately. I leave it to listeners of the CD and believe in their inner or innate sensitivity and imagination.” Suffice it to say that the suite travels a multitude of expressive musical byways to create an impressive whole I can easily imagine other duos trying out for themselves.
Some of the Rameau/Baroque vibe returns in BGD member Douglas Lora’s Valsa; that’s followed quickly by Luiz’s Djavan’s Portrait, based on a theme by contemporary Brazilian songwriter/guitarist Djavan Caetano Viana, whom Luiz cites as an early influence: “I wanted to create a kind of lounge samba, with influences of rock, jazz, and Bartok.” Mission accomplished! The title track by David Leisner (again, written for the duo, in 2014) is another fascinating piece that goes many rewarding places, from its slow, minimalist beginning of harmonic pings, to more accelerated passages, and a quiet ending that drops off in a return to harmonics. Then, Marco Pereira’s Bate-Coxa is a perfect uptempo Brazilian romp to bring the disc to its conclusion.
Pièces de Clavecin: Les Cyclopes, Gavette avec 6 Doubles (Rameau, arr. Luiz); Suite Op. 142 (Drozd); Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4,“Preludio” (Villa-Lobos, arr. Luiz); Posludio (Lora); Valsa (Lora); Djavan’s Portrait (Luiz); 7 Anéis (Gismonti, arr. Luiz); Ghosting (Leisner); Bate-Coxa (Pereira)
The album can be previewed and purchased through CDBaby and iTunes, and streamed on Spotify and Apple Music
Below, the duo plays a version of Douglas Lora’s Posludio a few years ago. That’s him on the right.
Fernando Sor: Les Deux Amis (Selected Works for Two Guitars) Maria Camitz & Leif Hesselberg
When this album arrived, I wondered whether the “deux amis” (“two friends”) of the title were the two fine guitarists who play on the album—Maria Camitz of Sweden and Leif Hesselberg of Denmark. But no, it turns out to be the title of one of the Sor pieces within, and the “deux amis” are Fernando Sor (1779–1839) and Dionisio Aguado (1784–1849), who were indeed friends, but also competitors when it came to promoting each’s guitar “method.” And speaking of pedagogy, the first few tracks on this duo album are pieces Sor wrote to be played by a guitar teacher and a student, so there is certain simplicity to their construction. Still, they are all pretty pieces, and there are, not surprisingly, many dance numbers—waltzes, mazurkas and such. Things get a bit more complex musically by the time we get to the title track, Les Deux Amis, which Sor wrote for Aguado. As Màrten Falk writes in his notes on the CD, the three-part piece “is demanding concert material for two virtuosos, and definitely not meant for amateurs.” The concluding Souvenir de Russie is the last piece Sor wrote and it borrows from two popular Russian folk songs, though it still clearly fits within the classical idiom of the early 19th century. A fine album!
L’Encouragement, Op. 34; Divertissement, Op. 38; Six Valses Composée Pour l’Orcehstre Par differés Auteurs arrangées pour deux Guitares, Op. 39 (Nos. 6, 4, 1); Les Duex Amis, Op. 41; Le premier pas vers moi, Op. 53; Divertissement, Op. 62; Souvenir de Russie, Op. 63
The album can be sampled and purchased digitally through Amazon, iTunes or various European outlets; streamed on Spotify or Apple Music, and heard in it entirety, one movement at a time, on YouTube.
Watch Camitz & Hesselberg play three waltzes from Sor’s Op. 39:
Czech Music for Flute and Guitar Duo Bohemico (Anna Cuchal, flute; Pavel Cuchal, guitar)
I’ve never heard as much Czech music as I have this year! Several months ago, it was two volumes of Contemporary Czech Guitar by Joself Mazan (released in 2015 and 2016) that came my way, and now this flute-and-guitar workout by Duo Bohemico featuring three more modern composers who are new to me—Jan Novák, Jaroslav Pelikán, and Robert Paul Delanoff; each contributes a substantial work. There are many contrasting moods and tempos spread across the three works, and both instruments are afforded many opportunities to shine in both solo and support roles. Pleasant melodies abound on what is all in all a very appealing outing. Pelikán’s Variations Agua e Vinho departs considerably from Egberto Gismonti’s popular ballad and is a premiere recording. So is Delanoff’s Suite Populaire, which is full of interesting twists and turns but never gets too far away from rapturous melodies, mostly driven by flights of flute.
Choreae Vernales (Novák); Variations/Variace Agua e Vinho (Pelikán); Suite Populaire: Ein Wanderlied, Dalyan’s Schönheit; Eiene Tafelmusik (Delanoff)
A couple of tracks can be heard on the duo’s website. At the moment, the only outlet for sales we could find is this one in the Czech Republic; perhaps other will appear soon. (Let us know if you find a place for either streaming or buying that is easily accessible! email@example.com)
The Cuchals perform the third movement of Delanoff’s Suite Populaire:
Previous New CD Listings:
October 4: Jacob Cordover, Oleg Timofeyev and John Schneiderman, Arkaïtz Chambonnet, Matthew Fish, Gidi Ifergan
October 18: Norbert Kraft and Jeffrey McFadden, Steve Cowan, Katrin Endrikat, Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro, Yenne Lee, Emanuele Segre
November 1: Virginia Luque and Bojidara Kouzmanova, Jon Gjylaci, Fabiano Borges, Alfonso Baschiera, Miscelanea Guitar Quartet, J.P. McShane
November 15: Antigoni Goni, Adam Levin, Radoŝ Malidžan, Black Cedar, Lou Marinoff, Antonio Malinconico
November 22: Marcelo de la Puebla, ChromaDuo, Carsten Pedersen, Thibaut Garcia, Yiannis Giagourtas
December 13: Zsófia Boros, Andrea Bissoli, Philippe Sly & John Charles Britton, Carlos Dorado, Steven Joseph
December 27: João Carlos Victor, Frank Wallace, Simon Thacker & Justyna Jablonska
January 10: Alberto La Rocca, Jeffrey McFadden & Michael Kolk, Stefan Koim
January 24: Fabio Zanon, Marcelo Kayath, David Norton & Cindy Spell, Jeff Gosselin
February 7: Canadian Guitar Quartet, Mats Bergström, John Sargent, Dimitris Kotronakis
February 21: James Akers & Gary Branch, Karol Samuelčík, Josef Mazan, John Lehman-Haupt
March 7: Meng Su, Raphaella Smits, Michaela Hrabankova & Gabriel Bianco, Mark Westling
March 21: Sabrina Vlaskalic, Ozan Saritepe, Simon Cheong