Rhapsody for two guitars

Alexandra Christodimou and Yannis Petridis
Works by Gershwin, Rodrigo, Giorginakis, Piazzolla and Bach
Lyra 0666

This CD's title is due to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", a work that I have never heard before either for one or two guitars. The two Greek guitarists made the transcription themselves and it really works! Speaking of a work that I already know in it's original form (on this occasion it is orchestra), I always try to imagine how this would sound on the guitar before listening to it. To be honest, concerning "Rhapsody in Blue" I was very skeptical. Still, the transcription played on the CD sounds thorough and complete. There is barely the impression of forced or unrestrained sound. The two musicians are very much involved and display a cheerful spirit in their work,which is obvious when listening to them.
Rodrigo's "Tonadilla" and Piazzolla's "Tango Suite", both included in this CD, are ,of course, common ground for guitar duos. They have very often been heard so comparison is hard to be avoided. The first interpreters are usually the ones who draw the "Art" and the "way" several works should be performed. For example, Julian Bream in Britten's "Nocturnal" and the Assads in Piazzolla's "Tango Suite".
Now, Alexandra Christodimou and Yannis Petridis do not perform "Tango Suite" like the Assads. They do not even try, and they are doing very well indeed. It is not that the CD's version does not remind us at all of the Brazilian brother's version. It is not that it could not have been used as an example. No, this version is colored in such a personal way that any experienced listener would instantly perceive every attempt of imitation. The two Greeks approach to Piazzolla's work is a little more distant and they seem to have less fun in performing it.
The distance observed in Piazzolla vanishes in the last piece, Bach's "Italian Concerto". Here, old "cliches" are filled with fresh breath, in this way impulsively flirting with tone, isn't that delightful? In any skepticism regarding style and expression, the guitar is justified. At this point, it must be said that interesting aspects related to style are worth consideration.
Christodimou and Petridis can make it! This is not to wonder, since the "legendary" guitar duo Evangelos and Liza and Gordon Crosskey in England have been their teachers.

Peter Puffgen, Gitarre & Laute (4/1999)