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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concerto in C RV 425 *†
Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837)
Andante con variazioni from Concerto for Mandolin in G major *†
Mauro GIULIANI (1781-1829)
Grand duo concertant *†
Benedetto PERSICHINI (c1880/90 - ?)
Polcha variata
Raffaele CALACE (1863-1934)
Amor si culla (Love is a Fool) †
Petite Bolero *†
Julio SAGRERAS (b. 1933)
El Colibri (The Hummingbird) *
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Choros No. 1 *
Prélude No. 1 *
Antonio LAURO (1917 - 1986)
Four Venezuelan Waltzes *
Agustin BARRIOS (1885-1944)
Choro de Saudade (A Lament) *
Las Abejas (The Bees) *
Miguel LLOBET ((1878-1938)
El Noi de las Mare (The Mother's On) *
El Testament d'Amelia *
El Mestre *
Mis Dolencias (My Sorrows -folk tune) *†
Celedonio ROMERO (b. 1918)
Soleares (from Suite Andaluza) *
Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949)
Soleares (from Homenaje a Tárrega) *
Craig Ogden * (guitar) Alison Stephens (mandolin)
Rec St. Hilda's College, Oxford, 15-17 July 1999
CHANDOS CHAN 9780 [71:55]
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It is hardly surprising that Louis de Bernières was both a guitar and mandolin player, albeit for love. He started off with the guitar progressing from ragtime to Bach, to Spanish music. His love of the mandolin grew whilst working on Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

This selection presents music from the late 16th to the late 20th centuries - from Vivaldi to Antonio Lauro excitingly and sensitively played by Ogden and Stephens. Craig Ogden (guitar) brings a colourful flourish to the Spanish pieces with which he especially empathises. Interestingly, Alison Stephens' father was a mandolinist too and, like Captain Corelli, played his way through World War II!

The Vivaldi Concerto in C sits well on both instruments, and has considerable classical beauty. The Andante of Hummel is gentle and soft; each instrument beautifully complementing the other. The Villa-Lobos pieces are very evocative seemingly depicting sultry Brazilian nights with their languorous chords and sensual melodies. Antonio Lauro's Four Venezuelan Waltzes are short but not especially memorable it must be said. Miguel Llobet's three short pieces on this album are more interesting: 'A Mother's Son'speaks adoringly; 'Amelia's Testament' is equally tender - so too is 'The Master'. Turina's 'Soleares' evokes warm evening sunshine and peasants dancing and drinking until the early hours.

There are four premier recordings: Benedetto Persichini's vibrant and distinctive Polcha variata'; Raffaela Calace's 'Love is a Fool' suggestive of an argument between a dominant man and his pleading lover - a little gem that is wistful, coy and whimsical; Angy Palumbo's 'Petite Bolero' with its exciting vibrant rhythms; and the Anon piece, 'Mis Dolencias' (My Sorrows) sounding just the opposite - joyful - perhaps the sorrows have past?

The music associated with Louis de Bernières' novels is colourful and quite varied - exciting, moody, sensual and evocative. But it seems to create a sense of yearning for something elusive. If you've enjoyed the novels then this compilation will be a heightened pleasure; if not, just sit back and enjoy being soothed.

Grace Barber

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