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The rest of the programme drew out the jazzier, lighter side of the repertoire yet stretching virtuosity and colouristic performance. Two Latin American composers followed, Astor Piazzolla, whose Oblivion and Liber Tango were excellently accented and the melody vibrantly projected with tremolando attacks, and Celso Machado, whose Suite Brasiliana conveyed its folk idioms with vitality, especially the final, progressive samba. One of the most expressive moments in the evening came with Oh The Irish by the Australian composer Robert Schultz, its gentle nostalgic Irish air evocatively arranged with lightness and air. Kaze ('wind') by the Japanese composer Katzumi Nagaoka, based in Italy, resumed the Latin styles with a virtuoso set of jazz dances intended to depict different aspects of the wind, fast slow and wildly powerful. The duo's own arrangement of a Jewish folk klezmer suite concluded the concert with rich character and enthralling sonorities, leading through a variety of Yiddish songs and klezmer dances to beguiling Ladino melodies and a new version of Shemer's Jerusalem City of Gold.

Francesca Ghilione and Alon Sariel during their London tour
Francesca Ghilione and Alon Sariel during their London tour

Throughout it was the magical blend and subtle sounds of the duo medium that impressed the most and cast its spell, the rhythmic precision and matching of tone complemented by nimble delicacy of the guitar's supportive textures and the mandolin's wide spectrum of dynamics and colour. Clearly an ensemble to watch, one awaits the Sariel-Ghilione duo's return to larger venues in the UK with anticipation.

Copyright © 22 February 2007 Malcolm Miller, London UK






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