EXPLORATIONS V - ATLANTA AUDIO SOCIETY - SUMMER 2004
Duo guitarists Harris Becker and Pasquale Bianculli have long performed under the name "Guitar x2," bringing an attractive repertoire to audiences throughout the NYC area. In Catgut Flambo, recorded in 1998 by MSR founder Gregory Squires at SUNY Purchase, they bring it all together in an irresistible recital ranging from the Baroque to contemporary Brazilian jazz. The stylish, elegant playing of these artists is bound to win friends for this music wherever there are listeners who relish the rare and beautiful.
The Baroque and early 19th century repertoire are represented by the gaiety of Partita in D Major by Georg Philipp Telemann and L'Encouragement by Fernando Sor. Two transcriptions from the piano music of Enrique Granados (1867-1916), the "Intermedio" from Goyescas and Spanish Dance No. 2, subtitled Oriental and inspired by the Moorish tradition, reveal the music of Spain at its most sublime.
The latter half of the recital is devoted to music of, and inspired by, the rich culture of modern day Brazil, as revealed in works by three natives of São Paulo - Sergio Assad, Celso Machado, and Paulo Bellinati - and an Americano, Howard Rovics, whose Impressões do Brasil (Impressions of Brazil), written for Guitar x2, receives its recording premiere. You've got to like the sheer rhythmic drive of Assad's "Pinote" from Tres Cenas Brasileiras (Three Brazilian Scenes), while Bellinati's "Jongo" is enjoyable for its jazz harmonics and the improvised percussive drumming that it calls forth from these performers.
The three Machado selections range from colorful and infectiously rhythmic pieces with the titles Bolinhas de Queijo (little balls of cheese) and Xarango do Vòvó (my grandfather's jalopy) to Imagens do Nordeste which captures the beauty, mystery and sense of danger of the Amazon region. Rovics' moody Impressions of Brazil, based on authentic themes from Brazilian popular music, is an attractive suite that pays tribute to a land whose musical culture possesses seemingly endless vitality.