Different Duos Sunday #5: Modern Sounds from Armin Abdihodžić (guitar) and Eric Bleicher (percussion)
As you might expect, there is not an enormous repertoire for the chamber combo of classical guitar and percussion. Still, the duo of Bosnia and Herzogovina–born guitarist Armin Abdihodžić (who now lives and works primarily in Alaska, of all places) and American percussionist Eric Bleicher (an alumnus of the University of Alaksa in Anchorage, where the guitarist teaches, in addition to a summer guitar program in his native land) have managed to fill a compelling recent CD, Mundus Canis, with pieces for that configuration by seven different modern composers, including such well-known names as Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, and George Crumb. A few of these pieces have previously been recorded by the likes of David Tanenbaum, John Schneider, and David Starobin, though there is also one world premiere on the album, Taï Chi, written by Sebastian Vachez (b. 1973) for guitar and marimba, which is presented here and includes a lot of interesting aspects in the guitar part, including slide, harmonics., and more. Mundus Canis a fascinating and often challenging album, though the recording is a bit “dry” for my taste—a little more “air” and ambience would have bound the guitar and percussion parts together even more, as in the live performances of them on YouTube. (You can find all of those, plus the individual album tracks here on YouTube.)
And because most of the pieces feature more conventional percussion than marimba, here’s another performance from the duo, Günter Braun’s intriguing Serie, which includes some fine Spanish guitar amidst its more inscrutable contemporary sonorities.