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Stein – Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland : Paris Recital : CD

PETIT: Toccata; Tarentelle: RODRIGO: Tonadilla JOLIVET: Serenade pour deux guitares : CASTELNUOVO – TEDESCO : Prelude et Fugue No4 en Mi Majeur; Sonatina Canonica Op196:

Stein – Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland

Simax Classics PSC 1361

Stein-Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland on this recording are playing music written for the legendary Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya duo, and here they interpret music considered to be some of the most outstanding for guitar that was composed in Paris, after the Second World War and was the golden age of the guitar. Indeed all the works on the album are written within the span of six years by composers who have their own wonderfully individual styles.

The opening Toccata by Pierre Petit is only one of a small handful of pieces written by him (A second piece is the final track here) but it immediately strikes the listener with its forceful and unconventional nature and the cleverness of its musical writing and is a superb opener to this set, and definitely only for the very talented players to attempt!

Rodrigo’s justly famous three movement Tonadilla is another piece that immediately sounds like its composer, with its use of wrong note clashes so prevalent in much of his music. My first knowledge of this piece came with the wonderful Abreu Brothers recording from decades ago and yet this new version is every bit as exciting and involving and the players really capture the three contrasting movements beautifully.

The Serenade by Jolivet was written in 1956, and is four very different movements , beginning with the mysterious , slightly unnerving Praeludio e Canzona, the fast and restless Allegro Trepidante, the emotive Andante , and finishing with the rhythmic Con Allegria, all written in a much more advanced style than the previous works. This was incidentally only one of three works he wrote for the guitar, the other two being solos.

Mario Castelnuovo – Tedesco’s 24 Preludes and Fugues for two guitars are one of the most important sets ever written for the guitar, whatever the century. They are all sublime, wonderful pieces so different each from the other, and full of beautiful music, with lots of unexpected moments. No4 has a fabulous melody with some surprising harmony work along the way. The Fugue that follows is lively and is based on a motive that one can trace back to the Prelude, and the way the motto theme keeps returning often on both guitars in tandem is effortlessly done and great fun to hear. I can only hope that interested listeners who like this one pair will go on the lookout for the rest of them, because complete sets do exist, and are well worth the effort trying to find! Then we move on to the same composer’s Sonatina Canonica, again relying on the music in each of the three movements having a canon them that keeps returning crossing over itself throughout .Lots of fun, and lovely to hear, and the players do a great job.

The final track is the second Pierre Petit piece, the Tarentelle, that by its very title tells you that it is a true fast dance, only relaxing in the middle section, and just shows firstly what a wonderful piece it is, how superb the players are, and what a lovely finish to what is a constant joy this CD is absolutely full of wonderful top - class pieces that, if you don’t know, you really ought to!

Chris Dumigan

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