This guitar duo recital programme avoids the chronological approach and invites us to open up our ears to fortuitous encounters and unsuspected associations between contrasting works, put together for the delight of communion between players and listeners.
Claude Debussy, in his musical free-thinking, opened up new avenues for modern composition; one of the broadest is the emancipation of colour and inflection. Each note in his music gently requires precision from those two elements, which often assume the main role over melody or form. Colour and inflexion: defining elements of the art of guitar playing, making Debussy’s music an obvious target for transcription. This version of Arabesque no 1 creates a haunting near- aeolian-harp mist; while the second’s sources in urban folk music are enhanced (apparently this piece was played by Andrés Segovia in concert early in his career).
In piano repertoire, Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words occupy a special place: they are characterized by a domestic lyricism that coincides with the emergence of a new educated middle class. Every couple of years Mendelssohn published a new collection of half a dozen of these little pieces, which quickly became exceptionally popular. Thanks to them he became what we now call “influencer”, someone who can draw the direction of public taste. Composers-guitarists like Mertz and Regondi sought to emulate his style; in exchange, his Songs sound even more lyrical in transcription for guitar, with contrasting moods of romantic ardour and restlessness.
The Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco saw himself in a continuous line from the first Romanticism into the 20th Century. From this point of departure, he developed an infallible sense of style that goes far beyond the pastiche, fueled by a virtually unparalleled technical proficiency in composition. His prestige today lies in the vast guitar output and his exuberant soundtracks for Hollywood movies. In addition to hundreds of solo works, Castelnuovo wrote, in 1962, The Well-Tempered Guitars. The title, borrowed from Bach, reveals the obvious: there are 24 Preludes and Fugues, in all major and minor keys, written for the great guitar duo of that time, formed by the wife and husband Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya. No 12 in C major not only recalls the hunting style, so dear to the romantics, but it brings a fugue whose subject is derived from the prelude; no 4 in E major combines a study in arpeggios, perhaps inspired by Chopin’s study Op. 25 no 1, with a fugue in Baroque dance form. The prelude in particular presents, in the synchrony demands at a continuous rubato arpeggio, a real challenge to the art of duo playing.
Ernesto Halffter belonged to a family of Spanish musicians, active for several generations to this day. A student of Falla and a member of the group called Generation of 1927, dispersed during the Spanish Civil War, Halffter lived for many years in Portugal. Like many of his generation, he admired the Spanish musical past and the works of Domenico Scarlatti, and regarded them as the source for a national aesthetic in the 20th Century – an attitude shared with his colleagues of ‘27 and with Falla -, which also informs his exquisite Concerto for guitar and orchestra. The two dances of this recording are among his best known works and originated in the Scarlattian ballet Sonatina. Halffter himself produced a piano version of the orchestral score, calling it Suite de las Doncelas, rarely played in its entirety. This version for two guitars somehow restitute their orchestral dimension.
Unlike Halffter, Federico Moreno Torroba remained in Spain throughout the turbulent 20th Century. He became the most popular zarzuela composer of his time; much of his international reputation, however, resides in the guitar works, dozens of them dedicated to Andres Segovia, who rarely gave a concert without including some work by Torroba. In the second half of the century Torroba also developed a friendship with the Romero family, who formed an excellent guitar quartet. He wrote the Estampas suite, in eight movements, for them in 1979; the guitar duo version of six movements we hear here was made by Fernando de Lima. According to the title, each painting evokes a fleeting image of the Spanish soul. Without the pretension of writing deep music, Torroba imbued all his guitar works with a naturally evocative power and a seductive aura. If Tchaikovsky’s larger works could hardly lend themselves to a guitar version, his numerous and little-known piano miniatures, direct heirs of Schumann’s introspection, are invested with even more intimacy, charm and melancholy colour in this version for guitars. The Six Pieces op.19, a commission by the composer’s Russian publisher, contains six small pieces with a predominantly dreamy character and a hint of folklore here and there.
The Duo Siqueira-Lima has already left behind the worldly issues of guitar technique and the problems of synchronicity; those are of no concern for those already in the category of cultural icons, who form new listening habits and impress the imagination of their listeners. Hearing these works, as they follow each other with elegance and intelligence, rigor and seduction, we cannot help but believe the good old times are back.
 Arabesque No 1 * 4’19
 Arabesque No 2 * 3’49
 Songs Without Words op.53 No 2 * 2’38
 Songs Without Words op 30 No 2 * 2’08
From The Well-Tempered Guitars
 Prelude and Fugue in C Major No 12 3’03
 Prelude and Fugue in E Major No 4 4’21
FEDERICO MORENO-TORROBA Estampas *
 Bailando un Fandango Charro 1’47
 Remanso 3’01
 La Siega 1’30
 Fiesta en el Pueblo 1’33
 Amanecer 1’45
 La Boda 2’28 ERNESTO HALFFTER
 Danza de la Pastora * 3’41
 Danza de la Gitana * 4’04
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
From Six Pieces Op. 19
 Rêverie du soir No 1 * 4’09
 Nocturne No 4 * 3’16
* Arrangements by Fernando de Lima
Created by: GuitarCoop
Recorded at: Sala Boa Vista, São Paulo, Brazil
Dates: Fevereiro de 2019
Sound Engineering: Ricardo Marui
Produced by: Henrique Caldas
Digital editing: Henrique Caldas/Duo Siqueira Lima
Mixing: Ricardo Marui
Mastering: Ricardo Marui – Pinus Studio
Booklet notes: Fabio Zanon
Design Gráfico: Eduardo Sardinha
Photos: Luis Gaioto
Publishing: Patricia Millan
Guitars: Sérgio Abreu (Cecilia Siqueira: 2013, Fernando de Lima: 2014)
Strings: Augustine Regals Blue
Microphones: Royer SF-24, DPA 2006
Recording System: Metric Halo LIO-8
Preamplifier: Millenia HV-3D
Cables: Van den Hull D-102
“This album is dedicated to the memory of my beloved father, Julio Siqueira. He was my first guitar teacher and the person to whom I owe my passion for music and the instrument. His light keeps guiding, inspiring, and blessing me. I thank God for his life and the eternal love that unites us.”
Acknowledgments: Raquel Franco, Fabio Zanon, Ricardo Marui, Ricardo Dias, Sergio Abreu, Marcelo Kayath, Henrique Caldas and Thiago Abdalla.