Janette Beckman
guitar duo | Worldwide
 
Recordings
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Music for Two Guitars, Vol. 1
Released: November 18, 2008

With a catalogue of more than 200 works with opus numbers, and many others without, few composers have written such a wide variety of immediately appealing music, as rewarding for performers and listeners alike, as Castelnuovo-Tedesco. His Sonatina Canonica, Op. 196 is a staple for many guitar duos, its warm tonal language enlivened by ingenious counterpoint. Fired by profound admiration for the music of J. S. Bach, his Les Guitares Bien Tempérées, Op. 199 comprises 24 preludes and fugues in all major and minor keys, the first dozen of which are performed here by the award-winning young Brasil Guitar Duo.

Sonatina canonica, Op. 196
1. I. Mosso, grazioso e leggero 00:03:13
2. II. Tempo di Siciliane 00:04:03
3. III. Fandango en Rondeau 00:02:34

Les guitares bien temperees (The Well-Tempered Guitars): Preludes and Fugues, Op. 199: Nos. 1-12
4. Prelude No. 1 in G minor 00:01:56
5. Fugue No. 1 in G minor 00:02:48
6. Prelude No. 2 in D major 00:02:20
7. Fugue No. 2 in D major 00:01:37
8. Prelude No. 3 in A minor 00:02:18
9. Fugue No. 3 in A minor 00:03:03
10. Prelude No. 4 in E major 00:02:24
11. Fugue No. 4 in E major 00:01:55
12. Prelude No. 5 in B minor 00:02:33
13. Fugue No. 5 in B minor 00:02:19
14. Prelude No. 6 in F sharp major 00:01:23
15. Fugue No. 6 in F sharp major 00:02:06
16. Prelude No. 7 in C sharp minor 00:01:40
17. Fugue No. 7 in C sharp minor 00:03:31
18. Prelude No. 8 in A flat major 00:02:24
19. Fugue No. 8 in A flat major 00:02:42
20. Prelude No. 9 in E flat minor 00:03:02
21. Fugue No. 9 in E flat minor 00:02:30
22. Prelude No. 10 in B flat major 00:01:57
23. Fugue No. 10 in B flat major 00:02:02
24. Prelude No. 11 in F minor 00:03:20
25. Fugue No. 11 in F minor 00:03:19
26. Prelude No. 12 in C major 00:01:11
27. Fugue No. 12 in C major 00:01:57


This is wonderful music. It's obviously inspired by Bach, though it is not neobaroque. Like Bach, he has a delightful capacity to imbue the academic form of the fugue with an intense lyricism. Some of the preludes (also like Bach) are not melodies but rhythms and textures, exploring the nature of the key without needing a tune. Others have the most haunting melodies, which then inspire the subject of the following fugue. And each pair is distinct-there is never a sense of formula, only invention and imagination. The other work, described by the composer as "a small work without pretensions" is the Sonatina Canonica. As the title implies, each movement is filled with canonic imitation, mostly at the
unison or octave. Only the composer's melodic gifts save that structure from predictability. It's actually rather hard to bring off unless the duo is especially sensitive and fleet.

The Brazil Guitar Duo is all this and more. It would be hard to imagine a better performance, unless one could hear the dedicatees, Ida Presti and Alexander Lagoya (Presti died in 1967, before the work was published). This is one of the few guitar duos I've seen where the players were not either related or married, but that doesn't keep them from absolute unanimity in playing. Their sounds are distinct-they make no attempt to sound like the same player. They both have a gorgeous tone, rock-solid rhythm, beautiful phrasing, and no identifiable technical flaws. This is great playing. This is wonderful music played at the highest interpretive level-one can only hope Volume 2 is soon to appear.
- Kenneth Keaton, American Record Guide

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