Monday, March 20, 2017

Great Guitar Duos

When I was a concert artist, great guitar duos were few. Presti-Lagoya were a very fine one, but after Ida Presti passed away, a duo that was only a duo and not just two virtuosos getting together, was rare. The most famous duo was Julian Bream and John Williams, but while great players, they were not a great duo because they really didn't spend much time rehearsing together.

But times have changed and now there are a whole bunch of amazing guitar duos with spectacular technique, good repertoire and outstanding ensemble. And all they do is play as a duo, so they play a lot from memory, which traditionally chamber ensembles don't do. I just ran across a whole bunch on YouTube, so have a listen. First the Duo Françaix playing a piece that Bream and Williams made popular in the guitar duo arrangement, Oriental, Danza Española by Granados:

Here is the Henderson Kolk Duo with the Prélude to Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel:

And here is Le tic-toc-choc by Couperin in the arrangement by SoloDuo:

Are you going wow yet? How about a guitar quartet that plays Mahler from memory?

One more duo, the Kupinski Guitar Duo with the Ritual Fire Dance by de Falla:

What is remarkable here is that there are a lot of duos and they are all technically accomplished and fine musicians. Guitar duos used to be the realm of amateurs. No more.

No comments: