Joaquín Rodrigo’s sprawling and demanding two-guitar piece Tonadilla was first performed in 1959 in Lille, France, by the finest guitar duo of that era, the incomparable French couple Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya. John Williams & Julian Bream and the Assad Brothers are among the other notable duos to play it subsequently. Those are a tough standards to live up to, but Germany’s Artis Guitar Duo (married couple Julia and Christian Zielinski, both 30) are one of the most dynamic guitar pairs in Europe today, and they handle the challenging Rodrigo work very nicely here.
The duo each put out albums in 2016—Julia’s is called Solo; Christian’s is Versus—but they mostly play together; their most recent duo album, Portrait, came out in 2013. In March they will be performing in China, and July will see them as one of the main acts at the 32nd Guitar Festival Mikulov in the beautiful Czech Republic region of Moravia.