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Press: Souvenirs of Spain & Italy

Souvenirs of Spain & Italy

The Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet and multiple Grammy-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin join forces for an uncommon album of music for strings and guitar from the Baroque to the mid-20th century. Souvenirs of Spain & Italy is the first joint recording by these renowned artists and marks Isbin’s Cedille Records debut.

The program spotlights Italian-born composers influenced by Spanish idioms. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet, Op. 143, is a seldom-heard gem demanding virtuosity from every player. Written for guitarist Andrés Segovia, it’s “an urbane work, rich in vibrant themes and dialogues among individual lines,” critic Allan Kozinn writes in the liner notes. Isbin and the Pacifica play Emilio Pujol’s guitar arrangement of Antonio Vivaldi’s lute Concerto in D Major, RV 93. Isbin’s guitar work in the dreamlike, meditative Largo movement features her own Baroque ornamentation. Luigi Boccherini’s Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet in D Major, G. 448, melds the emerging classical style of late 18th-century Vienna with hints of Spanish flamenco. Spanish composer Joaquín Turina’s string quartet movement, La Oración del Torero, Op. 34, evokes the fervor of a matador’s private prayer before entering the bullring.

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