Review: Duo Amaral’s Key West – Latin American Music for Two Guitars

From the Fall 2017 issue of Classical Guitar | BY CHRIS DUMIGAN

Mexican guitarist Jorge Amaral and Israel-born Mia Pomerantz-Amaral formed Duo Amaral in 2008 and this is their third recording. They immediately grab your attention with “Pinote,” the lightning-fast first movement from Sérgio Assad’s Tres Cenas Brasilieras, which they go on to play in its entirety. Indeed, this is the sort of music that most duos would like to play, but often haven’t got the necessary technique. This is not a problem with Duo Amaral!

Jose Manuel Lezcano’s Key West follows, written for the Duo and a premiere recording. Also set in three movements, it begins with “Seven Mile Bridge,” a fast-paced opener, followed by the warm and relaxed “Bolero Del Atardecer,” with its meltingly beautiful harmonies, and finishes with “Duval Street Stomp,” a rhythmic and exciting closer. The musical style is always melodic but also interestingly rhythmic throughout.

Guido Santorsola’s Suite All’Antica in four movements follows. A lovely, chordal “Preludio” is followed by a tiptoeing “Tempo Di Minuetto.” “Piccola Arietta” follows and is haunting in its melodic beauty, while the “Finale” is relentlessly fast and full of gorgeous close- harmony work.


Radames Gnattali’s famous Suite Retratos is a wonderful piece that is in the repertoire of many of the best duos. It is harmonically rich, with complex voices weaving in and out; fabulous music beautifully performed.

The final work is Egberto Gismonti’s Aqua e Vinho, an apt ending to a truly great CD of effortlessly beautiful playing and timeless interpretations.

Enjoy this footage of Duo Amaral performing Aqua e Vinho October 15, 2017 at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland.