Duo Amaral, January 21st, 2012

There’s a rule about duet playing that most musicians would likely agree requires control and respect on the part of an accompanying musician.  When one has the melody, the other backs off and gives free reign to whichever player has it within his or her own hands.  Musicians like Mia Pomerantz-Amaral and Jorge Amaral understand this intuitively, instinctively and beautifully.  It takes a lot for accomplished musicians to know when deferring to a partner is best for everyone and everything provided by the composer.  These two poised artists get this concept; and, in so getting it, they create a marvelous auditory pas de deux that joyfully amplifies twice what one six-stringed instrument could only produce by half.

The Duo Amaral seems to agree that four hands are, if not better, certainly more complex than two; and, on January 21st, Marlow Guitar enthusiasts were easily convinced that twice an accomplished musician doubles the listening experience. 

In arrangements distinctively arranged and/or interpreted by the players, new life was breathed into familiar works of Vivaldi, Franck and Handel.  With Vivaldi’s L’estro Armonico Concerto No.9, we were transported to Italy where court dances and sinuous, gondola rides took us to a place most of our passports have not yet marked.  With Franck’s Prelude Fugue & Variation Op.18, we heard the aching tenderness of naïve love awakened by the reality of life’s complex fugal demands.  And, then, with Handel, we came to appreciate just how exceptional and intricate the 18th century was and still is for those whose art remembers it.

After the concert’s usual, and enthusiastically received guitar give-away drawing, the Duo departed from the printed program and offered us Jorge’s recently transcribed piano work by Isaac Albeniz (Espana) and wonderfully original work by his father/composer Victor Manuel Amaral Ramirez.  In Jorge’s father’s piece particularly, there was a refreshing departure from purely circle-of-fifths composing to a 20th/21st century exploration of tonality that was complex, intriguing and masterful in a way knowingly captured by both Amarals especially in the second movement’s harp-like, open passages and high-on-the strings playing balanced so superbly by the two instruments.

Now, without further belaboring my obvious appreciation of these newcomers, I strongly recommend that if you ever yearn for a sound that will engage you and transport you to a place we often do not allow ourselves to go, pick up a copy of Duo Amaral’s “Suplica”, and find yourself again.


-Deborah Drayer
Silver Spring

Author: marlowguitar

Marlow Guitar International (formerly International Conservatory of Music) presents the John E. Marlow Guitar Series: Presenting Guitarists from all over the world! Posts written by Meagan Healy and edited by MGI, unless otherwise indicated.