Guitar-as-Chamber-Instrument Week, #4: Guitar-Piano Duo Adentro Plays Mvt. 1 of Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione Sonata’

To celebrate (and amplify) the Special Focus section in the new Spring 2019 issue of Classical Guitar, we’re posting a different video of a guitarist in combination with other instruments all week.

You don’t see that many guitar-and-piano duos, which frankly surprises me, since both instruments are ubiquitous and can sound so lovely in combination. But I suppose the violin-piano duo has reigned supreme for so long, while the guitar was relegated to second-class citizenship! It ain’t fair, I tell ya! Alas, there aren’t a helluva lot of well-known pieces written for guitar-and-piano, and even this one wasn’t technically written for that combo, as Franz Schubert’s 1824 Arpeggione Sonata was meant to promote the rather strange and now essentially defunct instrument in its title—a short-lived instrument that was played with a bow like the considerably larger cello, but had six strings, frets, and was tuned like a guitar. The arpeggione never caught on, but Schubert’s piece is beautiful, so over time it has mainly been played by piano in combination with cello or viola (and there is also the combination of guitar and cello on the fine David Leisner-Zuill Bailey album called Arpeggione).

But this guitar-piano version by the young Duo Adentro—guitarist Maarten Vandenbemden and pianist Saskia Van Herzeele—really works well for me! They met at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and in their relatively short time together have been turning heads with their dynamic musical partnership: They even won the Chamber Music Competition at the 2018 Twents Guitar Festival in the Netherlands (and they’ll be playing at this year’s edition, too, which runs from May 30–June 2). Maarten studied with Antigoni Goni at the conservatoire and has been teaching at Goni’s summer Volterra Project program in Tuscany during the summer. I want to hear more from this duo! —Blair Jackson

Franz Schubert