Duo Orfeo, Andres Segovia and electric guitars

When asked about electric guitars, Andrés Segovia, the 20th century’s greatest classical guitarist, famously called them an abomination:“Whoever heard of an electric violin?” he went on to say. “An electric cello? Or for that matter an electric singer?” Although technologies have, of course, rendered much of this speculation obsolete, let us not dismiss Segovia, for his legacy lies at the heart of this project, spun so pellucidly from the very medium he rejected. Such considerations are far from lost on the Duo Orfeo, who, having both studied extensively Phillip de Fremery, a Segovia pupil and a true curator of his legacy, consciously plant their sonic activities in the same fertile soil. Not only are they turning music they love into a vibrant, nascent art, but more importantly they bring a distinctly Segovian touch to the introspection of their tone and depth of melodic line. When Segovia began his lifelong interest in transcription, the guitar was not considered worthy of the role. Here we find ourselves at a similar turning point: the electric guitar as a legitimate mouthpiece for translating preexisting works into a wholly new language. Yet even beyond the technical are those less effable aspects of the music itself, and of the inspiration that keeps those aspects aflame. Where Segovia actualized that inspiration through the magic of his articulation, Duo Orfeo find it also through their articulation of magic. We hear this in the program they have assembled, and in the sensitivity and focus with which they play it. In so doing, they enliven the lesser heard. They are, I daresay, Segovia’s elusive electric singer incarnate.

Tyran Grillo

ecmreviews.com

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