Recent Releases Tuesday: Albums by Kaiser Schmidt Guitar Duo, Montréal Guitare Trio, and Nazrin Rashidova & Slanislav Hvartchilkov

Jakob Schmidt and Jessica Kaiser

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 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!

To see our previous listings, scroll to the bottom of the page.

                                                                                 —Blair Jackson

Kaiser Schmidt Guitar Duo
Kaiser Schmidt Guitar Duo

The young German duo of Jessica Kaiser and Jakob Schmidt have been performing together for a decade already, but this is their first CD release—and it’s a winner! The nearly hour-long disc contains just four quite diverse multi-part pieces: two from the late 19th century (by Enrique Granados and Gabriel Fauré), and two from the late 20th century (by Astor Piazzolla and Dušan Bogdanovic); all but the Bogdanovic were originally piano pieces. The playing is superb throughout, the strong communication between the players clearly evident. I’m a sucker for the intoxicating Romantic melodicism of Valses Poeticos (played in full here) and Faure’s wonderful six-part Dolly Suite; those sandwich the lively and always appealing Tango Suite. The Bogdanovic Sonata Fantasia (originally dedicated to the Assad Brothers) is more obviously “modern” in its sensibilities, but makes for a bracing conclusion to a fine program. The recording by Hans-Werner Huppertz is excellent, as well.

Valses Poeticos (Granados); Tango Suite (Piazzolla); Dolly Suite (Fauré); Sonata Fantasia (Bogdanović)

So far we’ve only been able to find the CD for sale through the duo’s website; we’ll update when we know more.

Below, the Kaiser Schmidt Guitar Duo play “Berceuse” from Fauré’s Dolly Suite:

Montréal Guitare Trio

The eclectic and always forward-looking Montreal Guitar Trio—Glenn Lévesque, Sébastien Dufour, and Marc Morin—return to their roots in Spanish music in a sense with this wide-ranging album that opens with the fleet-fingered flamenco blast of Mediterranean Sundance/Rio Ancho by Paco de Lucía and Al DiMeola; then dips into the entrancing world of Barrios’ La Catedral; a lilting ballad by Paco; then six works by Manuel de Falla (not all danzas; a couple of lovely ballads in there); and an unexpected finale written by the late, great jazz bassist Charlie Haden—a beautiful piece quite in keeping with all the other composers represented.  It should be noted that on most numbers, Marc Morin plays bass guitar in the Trio. A cool, commendable effort all around.

Mediterranean Sundance/Rio Ancho (Di Meola, de Lucía); La Catedral (Barrios); Canción de amor (de Lucía); from El sombrero de tres picos: Danza del molinero (Falla); from La vida breve: Danza española No. 1 (Falla); from El amor brujo: Danza ritual del fuego (Falla); from Siete canciones populares españoles: Nana, Polo, Asturiana (Falla); Our Spanish Love Song (Haden)

The album can be heard on Spotify and Apple Music, and purchased through Amazon and iTunes.


Here is a short, fun piece on the making of Danzas, featuring music from Manuel de Falla’s Danza del Molinero:

Nazrin Rashidova and Stanislav Hvartchilkov
First Hand Records

Bulgarian guitarist Hvartchilkov and Azerbaijani violinist Rashidova received most of their musical education in London, and both have won numerous competitions in their respective fields and recorded on their own. On this altogether lovely disc they play a nice variety of  centuries-spanning pieces by Mozart (a truly gorgeous adagio), Bach, a Handel-inspired work by 19th and early 20th century Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen, George Bizet, and Edward Elgar. I confess that I am among the few who has not, as a rule, enjoyed the Carmen Suites (I’m not sure why I feel that way), but these violin-guitar transcriptions by the duo really knocked me out! Also quite striking is their  Variations on the Carnival of Venice, in which they supplement their own arrangement of a widely known Neapolitan melody with some new, original material, Fans of violin and guitar should be more than satisfied by the performances by each of the principals through this disc; outstanding!

Passacaglia in G minor for Violin and Viola (Halvorsen); Adagio in E major for Violin and Orchestra, K261 (Mozart); Carmen: Suites 1 and 2, excerpts (Bizet); Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599–644, and Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (Bach); Variations on ‘The Carnival of Venice’ (traditional); Salut d’amour, Op. 12, ‘Liebesgruss’ (Elgar)

The CD can be heard on Spotify and Apple Music, and purchased through Amazon and iTunes.

Below, the duo play the ‘Danse bohème’ from one of Bizet’s Carmen Suites:

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

April 4: James Akers, Duo Amaral, Chris Fossek

April 18: Pepe Romero, Vicente Coves & Extremadura Orchestra; Carlos Walter; David Härenstam (et al.)