About this Recording
8.573442 - Guitar Duo Recital: Amadeus Guitar Duo - CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M. / CARULLI, F. / MONTES, A. / GARCIA, G. (Images from the South)

Amadeus Guitar Duo – Images from the South


Alfonso Montes’ composition Surama, dedicated to the Amadeus Guitar Duo, served as the inspiration for this CD, which is filled with music redolent of the sunny climes of South America, Italy and Spain.

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence, Italy in 1895 and emigrated in 1939 to Beverley Hills, California. After this move he composed numerous guitar works and also a lot of music for film. His Sonatina canonica is core guitar duo repertoire and was composed in 1961. Like many of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s compositions, it is heavily indebted to Baroque music. The work was written for the legendary Presti-Lagoya guitar duo and is canonic in structure. The outer movements are vivacious and upbeat, whilst the central movement is melancholic in nature.

The Fuga elegiaca, Op. 211 dates from 1968 and was Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s last composition before his death later that year. Once again, the piece has Baroque compositional form, this time with an introductory Prelude leading into a closing Fugue.

Ferdinando Carulli was himself one of the foremost guitarists of the Classical era. He was initially a cellist and music theorist, but then self-taught the guitar and attained an exceptional level of mastery. Up until 1818 he performed as a soloist almost exclusively in Italy, but later moved to Paris where he composed almost 400 works. The Serenade in A major, Op. 96 was originally written for two guitars and is a superb example of the typical popular salon music from the early nineteenth century.

The Venezuelan composer and guitarist Alfonso Montes was born in 1955 and his music is a fusion of Latin American elements and European tenets. Montes was a student of Antonio Lauro and John W. Duarte and attended seminars given by Alirio Díaz and Leo Brouwer, as well as working with artists such as Pace de Lucia and John Williams. For the last twenty years he has performed with Irina Kircher as the Montes-Kircher Duo. His catalogue comprises three guitar concertos, solo and chamber works, orchestral music, film music and teaching literature. Surama was commissioned by the Amadeus Guitar Duo, and the title is a play on words: Surama-Amasur—the Amadeus Guitar Duo goes South. The work is a beautiful and expressive suite for two guitars, which incorporates various rhythms of South America.

In 1997 the guitarist and composer Gerald Garcia wrote a concerto for two guitars and guitar ensemble for the 6th International Guitar Symposium at Iserlohn. He later arranged this work for guitar duo and orchestra specifically for the Amadeus Guitar Duo, and this version was recorded on Hänssler Records 98.441. The concerto is based on musical themes especially suited to the guitar collected by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, and is dedicated to Manual de Falla. The arrangement on this CD is for guitar duo only and is entitled Lorca Fantasy.

The nine Bachianas Brasileiras for various instruments by Heitor Villa-Lobos were inspired by the music of J.S. Bach. The Prelude recorded here from No. 4 was originally written for piano and is the only work on this recording which has been transcribed. Villa-Lobos wrote many of his original guitar compositions for the legendary Andrés Segovia, and his music thrills with typical guitar idioms despite the composer having been self-taught.

Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto Madrigal has long been a keystone of the guitar repertoire, and appears in its entirety on Naxos 8.551325. The three movements on this recording have been arranged for two guitars: the powerful Fanfare, the Fandango willed with Spanish pride and the melancholic Arietta.

Jaime Mirtenbaum Zenamon was born in Bolivia, lived for many years in Berlin, Germany, and now lives in Curitiba, Brazil. While in Berlin, Zenamon was one of the co-founders of the publishing house Edition Margaux and was an active composer, writing many works for guitar. A guitarist himself, Zenamon has a natural understanding for his instrument and the technical challenges it can pose, and his music is easily identified by its catchy melodies, pulsating rhythms and virtuoso treatments. Zenamon has written many works for the Amadeus Guitar Duo (including a concerto for two guitars and orchestra entitled Carisma) and of these Casablanca is the most popular. The work was inspired by the famous film starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Mini fans are used to mimic the ceiling fans in Rick’s café and create an unusual and iridescent sound world while the famous ‘Play it again, Sam’ melody is used to nostalgic effect.

The final track on this disc is the famous Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega. The work was originally written for solo guitar but a transcription was made for guitar duo in 1917 by Julio S. Sagreras

Thomas Kirchhoff
Translation by Rachel Schiff

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