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Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, May 2017

…the performances won’t ever replace the colors and sparkle of the orchestral originals, but they can, and do, duplicate the delight.

Compare the overture arrangements to the two sets of Variaziones Concertantes. The themes aren’t terribly distinguished, though what Giuliani makes of them is really delightful. Likewise, the three polonaises won’t ever replace Chopin’s, but McFadden and Kolk perform them with a beautiful and stately energy. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2016

Though born in Italy in 1781, it was in Vienna that Mauro Giuliani established himself as the greatest guitarist of his day and also as a highly prolific composer. Almost all of his works included the guitar in various guises, including a sizeable output for two guitars, this being the first of an on-going series. The problem that overshadowed much of his music was the need to produce memorable thematic material, and maybe he just wrote too much, his attractive melodies spread so thinly over many works. He was most persuasive when borrowing themes, or in guitar arrangements of works originally written for other instruments. Both of these ingredients come together in the Tre Polonesi concertanti, though he was unlucky in his choice of Polish folk dances, their repetitious nature soon wearing thin. It could have all been very different, for when he was inspired, as in the Variazioni concertanti, a late work published after his death, it puts to the test the technical credentials of the performers, the finale in a fast and jolly mood that bristles with virtuosity. It was much more successful than the Gran variazioni concertanti where the charming mazurka theme was not the ideal tempo on which to create variations. So what of his arrangement of Rossini overtures? Well I guess two hugely talented friends would have a most enjoyable wet Sunday afternoon playing through them, but their popularity will surely rest with guitar aficionados, inventive though they might be. Jeffrey McFadden, and his one-time student, Michael Kolk, are a fabulous partnership, right hands impeccable in their unity of purpose, their combined brilliance making light of Giuliani’s challenges. Fabulous sound from Naxos’s Canadian recording team. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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