Disc Man

Tango: Music for Mandolin and Guitar Daniel Ahlert and Birgit Schwab (Antes)

While one might expect a CD of six mandolin and guitar duos to sound like a cross between a serenade and a travelogue, the actual results make for absorbing listening. The young German team of Ahlert and Schwab is the most active duo of its kind and has commissioned any number of composers to write especially for them. Two of the pieces on this disc are commissions: Hans Boll's short, energetic "Prelude," and Thomas Schmidt-Kowalski's lovely, tonal Romeo und Julia Fantasie G-Dur, op. 82. Bay Area expatriate composer Beth Anderson, who studied at Mills and UC Davis before moving to New York where she serves on the faculty of the Greenwich House Music School, contributes a special arrangement of her lovely "September Swale," with its delightful mixture of oriental tonalities and Kentuckian flashbacks. The famed Egberto Gismonti's Forrobodo offers the exciting rhythms and color one expects from him, while Robert Lombardo's "Sudden Departures," especially arranged for the duo, proves the most harmonically adventuresome and mysterious (if slightly melodramatic) work on the disc. The title work, Jaime Mirtenbaum Zenamon's Chilli con Tango, op. 89, no. 2, offers a surfeit of melodic energy, albeit less tame than the notion of dancing hot peppers suggests. With several of the composers contributing their own liner notes, this well-recorded, definitive import comes warmly recommended.

JASON SERINUS

 
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