- Featured: Duo Amaral
- Release Date: 9/9/2011
Duo Amaral was launched in 2008 by husband and wife Jorge Amaral and Mia Pomerantz-Amaral. The increasing reputation of this talented duo is gaining momentum - attracting audiences in the USA and abroad with each recital and master class. They have toured in Italy, Germany, Poland, Panama, Mexico, Israel and the USA, performing, giving workshops, master classes and judging international competitions. Their expanding repertoire includes transcribing arrangements for two guitars, from the Baroque to the Contemporary, always seeking innovative interpretation to explore and share. Mr. And Mrs. Amaral completed their studies at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, where both were awarded Master of Music and Graduate Performance Degrees with Julian Gray and Manuel Barrueco respectively. Duo Amaral has been described by Il Messagero Veneto as "masterful, with poetic virtuosity and intensity of expression". SÚPLICA - Supplication - is a prayer or entreaty, asking humbly and earnestly for a wish or boon, perhaps as an appeal to a higher power or force. As the choice of name for this first collaborative album released by Duo Amaral, it's title not only honors the world-premiere composition by Victor Manuel Amaral Ramírez as it's showcase piece, but evokes the creation of a work of art as an appeal from the artist to some mysterious power and to the unknown audience for which it is created. In a sense, this album is a sort of supplication to the performers, the listeners, to music history and to a personal muse. The breadth of repertoire in this album spans the eighteenth century Baroque to current times. Although at first glance the music may appear to be predominantly Mediterranean, there is an underlying Parisian connection that brings cohesion to the program. The sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) were originally scored for solo keyboard, but fit quite elegantly for guitar duo, as the idiomatic language is often similar. Domenico Scarlatti was born in Naples and died in Madrid, but his work had a profound influence on Frederic Chopin (1810-1849). A passage attributed to Chopin from the liner notes of Anne Queffélec's Scarlatti album declares: 'Those of my dear colleagues who teach the piano are unhappy that I make my own pupils work on Scarlatti. But I am surprised that they are so blinkered. His music contains finger-exercises aplenty and more than a touch of the most elevated spirituality. Sometimes he is even a match for Mozart. If I were not afraid of incurring the disapprobation of numerous fools, I would play Scarlatti at my concerts. I maintain that the day will come when Scarlatti's music will often be played at concerts and that audiences will appreciate and enjoy it.' Such an appreciative endorsement by the sensational adoptive son of Belle Epoque Paris gives Scarlatti bona fides as a significant composer who became one of the historic roots of Parisian-inspired music. Fernando Sor (1778-1839), Spanish guitarist and composer whose exhaustive travels introduced a large portion of the world to his music and elevated the prestige of the guitar as a classical instrument. When Sor retired from touring in 1828 he settled in Paris. That same year he composed the work included in this album, Opus 34 L'Encouragement. This composition is unique because, unlike his other works for two guitars, originally developed as a pedagogical resource, the required virtuosity here is equally tempered across both parts. Tres Danzas del Ballet Estancia from Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) is an arrangement of the original Opus 8 ballet of one act and five scenes inspired by the rural life of his native Argentina. As was Rodrigo, Ginastera is connected to Paris by means of his academic training. His composition instructor was Aaron Copland (1900-1990), who himself was trained by the venerable Parisian pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979). Ginastera's works exhibit colorful Argentinean folk rhythms elevated by modern compositional techniques. His other influences include Stravinski, Bartok and De Falla. The Tonadilla is a colorful three-movement composition with nationalistic roots in Spain. Historically, the Tonadilla is a Spanish colloquial song form intended to be sung and not meant to dance. Though born in Valencia, Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed his training at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. However, his music always reflected the rich and varied culture of his native Spain for inspiration. His direct influences were Ravel, Stravinski, Strauss and 16th Century polyphony. Duo Amaral has woven together this legacy of musical roots for a classical guitar album of fresh and nuanced virtuosity. Dave DeDionisio A note from Jorge Amaral: Saggio is a collection of three independent pieces, composed by my father Victor Manuel Amaral Ramírez that I subsequently transcribed as one work in three movements. Each of these three pieces was not originally composed for guitar duo, but for other instrumentation. The first movement Bagatela, for solo piano, was constructed as a simple sonata form. Súplica was composed for cello and piano in the form of a Chanson. The final movement was originally composed for violin and piano, titled and characterized as a Rondo, but was a much shorter work. I requested from my father that he expand this Rondo into a Fantasia by developing the main themes, using musical dialogues and fugatos. The lyricism of this entire composition was influenced by his lifelong study of Gregorian chant, sacred and secular music as well as French impressionism. Toward the end of the third movement my father introduced the popular Mexican theme "El Tranchete", as a nostalgic reminder of his profound love for popular Mariachi Mexican music.