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  • chrisdumigan

Claudio Maccari and Paolo Pugliese : Fernando Sor and Napoleon Coste :Complete Works: CD

SOR: L’Encouragement Op34; Divertissement Op38; Six Waltzes composees pour l’Orchestre pas differents Auteurs Op39; Les Deux Amis Op 41 : Six Waltzes Op44 bis : Divertissement Militaire Op49 ; Le Premier Pas Vers Moi Op53 ; Fantasia Op54; Trois Duos Op55 ; Trois Petits Divertissements Op61 ; Divertissement Op62; Souvenir de Russie Op63. COSTE: Grand Duo; Scherzo et Pastorale Op10; Duetto.

Claudio Maccari and Paolo Pugliese; Brilliant Classics 2CD set.

Here on two CDs are the complete works for 2 guitars by two of the nineteenth century’s greatest exponents of the classical guitar, Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839), and Napoleon Coste( (1805 – 1883), who became Sor’s pupil around 1830. Both composers wrote a huge amount of music for guitar, but Coste only (to our current knowledge ) wrote 3 works for 2 guitars, while Sor wrote no less than 12 , albeit, towards the latter part of his life, as when he was a younger man and living in Spain he is known only to have written solos there.

His first duet, L’Encouragement Op34, published in 1828 is one of his most well – known duos, and has often been played by all manner of players , but the fact that this recording is played on instruments from Sor’s time ( in fact no less than 6 different instruments are used) gives this a certain aura when you listen to it, although there are times when the sound gets a little boxy , which again I took to be the result of the original 19th century instruments’ sound. Interestingly the duo take the opening movement a fair amount faster than I have heard before, and it really works at this tempo. I noticed in the second movement a few embellishments to the written page on the repeats, which work really well, but it is worth mentioning in case anyone is bothered by any deviations from the original score. It is also worth noting that the 3rd Variation goes at a considerable speed, and takes absolutely no prisoners, and the players dispatch it wonderfully well. The pieces are recorded in published order, so following Opus 38, and the 6 Valses Op39, comes Les Deux Amis Op41, another of his most well – known works .Again the playing is phenomenal, and really shows you just how extraordinary these two players are.

The first CD closes at the Fantaisie Op 54 bis, and so the second CD begins with one of the least taxing duets, the Trois Duos Op55, and then follows the two Divertissements Op61, and 62 much more modest in size, and obviously aimed at the less advanced players. However Sor’s duet oeuvre closes with the Souvenir de Russie Op63, a wonderful work with a closing Allegretto that comes to a quiet conclusion after plenty of fireworks along the way.

The 2nd CD finishes with Coste’s three duos, beginning with the four movement Grand Duo, with a style that, whilst obviously coming from Sor’s soon develops into a much more harmonically advanced style that is a substantial 13½ minutes and which is a real find, if you haven’t previously come across this great composer’s duet works. The Finale of this work is a real show – stopper should any advanced duo want something to get the crowds cheering at the end of a concert.

The Scherzo et Pastorale is sub- titled Valses Brilliantes and has a lovely opening melody that will stay with you, but again is a superb work that deserves more recognition.

The final work, the one movement Duetto , is another lovely work and a fitting close to what is a really useful and substantial complete duet works of two of the guitar’s finest composers by two marvelous players. If there is a slightly down – side to the recording it is the moments where the sound is a little boxy, but the playing is so phenomenal; that any interested listeners will, I am sure, put up with it, for the sake of the musicianship of Maccari and Pugliese.

Chris Dumigan

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