Clas­si­cal

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Vin­cent Plush

Songs With­out Words Slava and Leonard Grig­o­ryan ABC Clas­sics This is beau­ti­ful mu­sic, beau­ti­fully played by the Grig­o­ryan broth­ers. On this al­bum, their eighth, this peer­less duo be­comes a trio. They are joined by their fa­ther, Ed­ward, who is cred­ited with many of the ar­range­ments. He is also co­pro­ducer. Most of the 17 tracks will be well known in var­i­ous ver­sions for voice or solo in­stru­ment and pi­ano or string ac­com­pa­ni­ment. It takes some time and per­se­ver­ance to erase that fa­mil­iar­ity from au­ral mem­ory.

By its very na­ture, the gui­tar does not have the sus­tain­ing power of, say, the pi­ano or string quar­tet. Nor does it have the true legato line of a singer or solo string or wind in­stru­ment. Such quib­bles are soon dis­missed by the sym­bi­otic artistry of the broth­ers and their fa­ther-men­tor.

The ar­range­ments and per­for­mances are fresh and win­ning, like­wise the close-mic clar­ity of the stu­dio engi­neer­ing. The pieces that seem the best fit for the gui­tar’s idio­syn­cratic sonor­ity and touch are those that have their ori­gins in Latin cul­ture, the ex­quis­ite Mexican song Estrel­lita by Manuel Ponce and the en­gag­ing voice­less Seven Span­ish Folk Songs by Manuel de Falla. Both are core works that de­fine gui­tar mu­sic, whereas other songs with­out words by Dvo­rak, Faure, Rach­mani­nov, Tchaikovsky and El­gar are im­ported from less fa­mil­iar id­ioms and cultures. This al­bum is likely to at­tract gui­tar en­thu­si­asts to clas­si­cal mu­sic; a pity, then, that there are no pro­gram notes to guide new lis­ten­ers.

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