Recent Releases Tuesday: CDs by ChromaDuo, Thibaut Garcia, Marcelo de la Puebla, Yiannis Giagourtas, and Carsten Pedersen

ChromaDuo's Tracy Anne Smith and Rob MacDonald

Here’s our bi-weekly listing of some of the CDs that have come into the Classical Guitar office recently.

If you have a CD you’d like to submit to us, here’s our address:

Classical Guitar
501 Canal Blvd. suite J
Richmond, CA 94804-3505

Some of these will be reviewed in the magazine, some not. But we want to at least mention them all. You can listen to a lot of these on various of streaming services, but we always encourage you to support the artists by actually buying anything you like!

—Blair Jackson

To see our previous 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

Homenaje a Gustavo Becerra
Marcelo de la Puebla

This adventurous disc has been out a while but definitely deserves a mention. Gustavo Becerra Schmidt (1925–2010) was a leading Chilean composer, though he spent much of life and career in exile in Germany (following the early ’70s coup in Chile that toppled Salvador Allende). This is unapologetically modern music, all of it written after 1990 except for the 2nd Sonata for Solo Guitar, which dates back to 1956 and is the most conventional piece on the disc. The other multi-part pieces include a spellbinding, at times abstract guitar-and-percussion ensemble number, one for soprano and guitar, and one for piano and guitar. There’s nothing ordinary about any of this! Marcelo de la Puebla’s playing is stimulating and full of energy and intrigue.

Concierto para Guitarra y Grupo de Percusión; Cuarta Sonata para Guitarra; Tres Canciones; Segunda Sonata Para Guitarra; Divertimento para Guitarra y Piano


 The entire Homenaje a Gustavo Becerra album can be heard, in pieces, on YouTube. It is also available on AppleMusic and Spotify.

Ravel, Debussy: Music for Two Guitars

Aside from the opening number, which was arranged by Stephen Goss, the other pieces on this wonderful CD of French impressionist works by Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) and Claude Debussy (1962–1918) were arranged for two guitars by Tracy Anne Smith and Rob MacDonald, aka Canada’s ChromaDuo. As Graham Wade puts it in his notes for the CD, the composers’ works “are sensuous and immediate, using vivid titles and an inventive vocabulary to create a world of imagination and spontaneity.”  A revelation, and a superior achievement all the way around.

Alborada del gracioso (Ravel); Children’s Corner (Debussy); Clair de lune (Debussy); Valses nobles et sentimentales (Ravel); La plus que lente (Debussy); Deux arabesques (Debussy)

The CD can be purchased through Amazon, sampled and bought through iTunes, or listened to and bought through Naxos.

Below is a fun/cool conceptual video (sans actual depiction of the duo or a guitar) of ChromaDuo’s version of the first movement of Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, titled “Modéré très franc,” written for solo piano in 1911.

Fantasia: Guitar Music by Barrios Mangore, Emilio Pujol and Sergio Assad
Carsten Pedersen

Top Danish guitarist Pedersen tackles three of “the best composer/guitarists of their time. Because of their comprehensive and intimate knowledge of the guitar, they compose in a “perfect” way for their instrument—knowing exactly what is possible and what sounds good and musical.” Amen to that! Pedersen acquits himself admirably on this pleasing and cohesive selection of well-known and more obscure pieces by Barrios (1885–1944)and Pujol (1886–1980), with a nod to modernity at the end in the single piece by Assad (b.1952). Lovely.

Leyenda de Espana; Habanera; Una limosna por el amor de Dios; Vals de primavera; Mabelita (all by Barrios); Seguidilla; Estudio “Romantico”; Estudio “Scarlatti”; Barcarolle; Festivola (all by Pujol); La Catedral; Dinora; Medallon antiguo; Estilo Uruguayo; Gavota al Astilo Antiguo (all by Barrios); Fantasia Carioca (Assad)

We couldn’t find any online musical samples or U.S. sales outlets, but it can be purchased through this Danish outlet. 

Thibaut Garcia
(Warner Classics)

Young French guitarist’s debut is striking and assured, with his versions of the Manjon Aire Vasco, Piazzolla’s Estaciones Porteñas, and the Falla Siete canciones particularly strong. Definitely a guitarist to watch. Thibaut Garcia is featured in the Winter 2016 issue of Classical Guitar.

Asturias (Albéniz); “Sevilla” from Suite No. 1 Op. 47 (Albéniz); Aire vasco (Manjón); Siete canciones populares españiolas (Falla); Invocación y danza (Rodrigo); Estaciones Porteñas (Piazzolla); Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Tárrega)

Guitar Echoes
Yiannis Giagourtas

Giagourtas, a Greek guitarist based mainly in the Netherlands, has made a warm, beautiful-sounding debut disc of pieces by Spanish, Greek, Italian, and French composers, many of the works popular concert numbers undoubtedly familiar to many of you. “This selection lit my passion for music,” he writes. “I hope these 12 beautiful pieces will touch your soul as they have touched mine.”

Granada; Rumores de la Caleta (both by Albéniz); Romanza (Paganini); Fandango; Passacaglia; Zapateado (all by Rodrigo); A day in May; You have set my star (both by Theodorakis); Introduction et Caprice Op. 23 (Regondi); Capricho Arabe (Tárrega); Danza Española No. 5 (Granados); Gnossienne No. 1 (Satie)

Samples and purchase available through CD Baby; also available from Amazon and iTunes.

Below, he performs Rodrigo’s Zapateado at St. Joseph’s church in his hometown, Alexandroupolis, Greece