About this Recording
8.573439 - Guitar Duo Recital: Amadeus Guitar Duo - HANDEL, G.F. / MERTZ, J.K. / GANGI, M. / BURKHART, F. / TELEMANN, G.P. (Through the Centuries)

Georg Frideric Handel (1685–1759): Suite in G minor, HWV 432
Johann-Kaspar Mertz MERTZ (1806–1856): Nänien Trauerlieder
Mario Gangi (1923–2010): Suite spagnola (1948)
Franz Burkhart (1902–1978): Toccata (1946)
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767): Partita polonaise (excerpts)
Carlo Domeniconi (b. 1947): Fantasia d’oriente e d’occidente, Op. 50a


Georg Frideric Handel’s Suite in G Minor, HWV 432 was published in London in 1733 as a part of the collection Suites de Pièces pour le Clavecin, and first became popular in the guitar world as a result of the magnificent arrangement for solo guitar by the Scottish guitarist David Russell. The transcription for two guitars conveys the original polyphony even more clearly to the listener. This Suite, originally composed for harpsichord, begins with an Overture filled with trills and intricate ornaments, and with majestic dotted rhythms in the second half. The Allegro showcases tumbling semiquavers, whilst the striking Sarabande presents a wistful melody before the Passacaglia’s theme and virtuosic variations bring this wonderful suite to its conclusion.

Johann Kaspar Mertz was a composer and guitarist born in Pressburg (present day Bratislava). Unlike his contemporaries Dionisio Aguado and Fernando Sor, who followed the examples of Mozart and Haydn, Mertz composed more in the style of Chopin and Mendelssohn. The pieces recorded here belong to the Nänien Trauerliedern (Funeral Laments). They were originally composed for two guitars and showcase a wide variety of sonorities. A guitarist himself, Mertz played both the eight and ten string guitars, which provided a bigger range, particularly beneficial in the lower registers of his compositions.

Mario Gangi was born in Rome in 1923, studied at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, and worked as a composer, professor and guitarist throughout his life in Rome. In addition to his notable Études for guitar solo are his two works for guitar duo, Suite spagnola and Suite italiano. Typical Spanish idioms written in an imitative style underline the three movements. Long, unison runs, brisk arpeggios in the malagueña style, fierce rasgueados and catchy, often melancholic melodies are reminiscent of Spanish cities and the Andalusian landscape.

Unfortunately little is known about the Austrian composer Franz Burkhart. His friendship with the prominent Viennese guitar teacher Karl Scheit (1909–1993) resulted in several works for guitar solo and duo. The work recorded here is the Toccata written for two guitars in 1946, a piece with three parts composed in ABA form. A sombre, somewhat dissonant middle movement separates the outer sections of the Toccata, which melds rapid semiquavers and intricate rhythms. The final moments of the Toccata are quite abrupt, recalling the solemnity of the middle section.

Born in 1681 in Magdeburg, Georg Philip Telemann is considered by some to be the most prolific composer of all time, having composed more than 3,600 works. Telemann wrote about 1,000 orchestral suites (of which only about 130 remain), several symphonies, concertos for nearly every orchestral instrument, numerous operas, chamber music in all combinations, exceptional organ music and twelve partitas for two lutes, of which the Partita polonaise is recorded here in excerpts. An essential feature of Telemann’s compositions are the singing melodies, clear harmonic structures and the musical realisation of a particular mood.

Carlo Domeniconi wrote the Fantasia d’oriente e d’occidente, Op. 50a in 1990 for the world famous guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad, but they never performed the work. Domeniconi is one of this century’s most respected composers for guitar, and is particularly renowned for his guitar solo Koyunbaba. His works have been played throughout the world by stellar guitarists including John Williams, Aniello Desiderio, David Russell and Hubert Käppel and his extensive output includes thirteen concertos for guitar and orchestra, numerous works for guitar solo, duo and quartet as well as several chamber music and orchestral works. The Fantasia d’oriente e d’occidente was premièred by the Amadeus Guitar Duo in 1995. This one-movement work plays with the idea of musical encounters between two cultures and is certainly one of the most technically difficult pieces for two guitars. Long, highly virtuosic, demanding runs, lightning arpeggios, complex rhythms and bold harmonic shifts require the interpreters to have a high degree of technique and a deep understanding of complex musical correlations.

Thomas-Friedrich Kirchhoff
(Translation: Rachel Schiff)

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