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Second 5 stars Fanfare review!

June 5, 2023

Ken Meltzer

ALL CLASSIC  Scandinavian Gtr Duo  OUR RECORDINGS 8.226917 (51:15)
HANDEL Grande Chaconne in G, HWV435. SOR L‘Encouragement, op. 34. GRANADOS Valses poeticos (arr. Scandinavian Gtr Duo). FAURÉ Dolly Suite, op. 56 (arr. Scandinavian Gtr Duo)
All Classic presents Per Pålsson and Jesper Sivebæk, collectively the Scandinavian Guitar Duo (SGD), in a recital that includes one work originally composed for two guitars, and transcriptions of three pieces composed for other instruments. The two-guitar work is Fernando Sor’s L’Encouragement. Handel composed his Grande Chaconne in G for harpsichord. In the liner notes SGD refers to a transcription for two guitars by “the French guitar duo Presti-Lagoya.” SGD transposes the work to D, “to better suit the register of the original and flow of the voicing.” Enrique Granados’s 10 Valses poeticos, and Fauré’s Dolly Suite, originally scored for, respectively, piano solo and piano duet, are heard in arrangements by SGD. Pålsson and Sivebæk have been performing together since their days as students at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, in Esbjerg, Denmark. Their bio credits a 1993 first prize award in Denmark Radio’s Chamber Music Competition as the moment when “their career as Scandinavian Guitar Duo took flight.” In addition to their performing careers, Pålsson and Sivebæk are professors at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music.
The performances on All Classic display SGD’s remarkable artistic unity, forged by over three decades of collaboration. Quite often, the SGD conveys the impression of a single virtuoso performing the music. Such is their synchronicity of tonal quality, dynamics, articulation, and phrasing. And that unanimity is at the service of exquisite musicality. In the Handel and Sor, two theme and variations works, SGD masterfully explores the individuality of each episode, all the while maintaining an overall proportion and flow. The Granados and Fauré exude charm, and again, the SGD fully mines the character of each movement. The plasticity of phrasing and broad range of colors and dynamics are both impressive and gratifying. The recorded sound provides a beautiful, lifelike acoustic for these remarkable performances. A first-rate recital. Recommended with the utmost pleasure. Ken Meltzer. Five stars: An enchanting recital by the Scandinavian Guitar Duo

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