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David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2016

The life story of Antoine de Lhoyer is guesswork interspersed with reference points that suggest he was a professional soldier who also enjoyed a career as a guitarist. He had been born in France in 1768, which makes him contemporaneous with Beethoven, his long life coming to an end after Chopin’s death. Where he was taught the instrument and the rudiments of composition is unknown, but the fact that he moved among royalty suggests a parentage of some standing. Taken at face value the earlier of these two works, the Trio concertante—published in Paris in 1814—was more akin to late Mozart than to music of that period, its four movement structure placing a short Minuet and Trio as the second, with a well ordered Andante and six variations forming the finale. The Second Trio came twelve years later and is much in the same style as the earlier score, both sharing his ability to create attractive melodies. That he could develop ideas is always assured, the opening Moderato showing deft harmonic modulations. He was also skilful in his interplay between the instruments, never settling for the much more convenient  principal voice with accompaniment, which suggests he was probably well acquainted with string quartets of the Eighteenth century. Those two scores represent his total output for guitar trio, to which he added a short quartet, Air varie et dialogue. This Swedish, Norwegian and German trio came together as students at London’s Guildhall School of Music, their careers taking them in very diverse directions. As a group they are very good, left hand shifts seldom heard, while right hand agility maintains a rhythmic exactitude throughout. A disc lovers of the guitar must not miss. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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