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Disc review: Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondanassis, ‘Together’

Classical

Together

Jason Vieaux, guitar

Yolanda Kondonassis, harp

[Azica]

3.5 stars

Harp virtuoso Yolanda Kondonassis, who is coming to the Buffalo Philharmonic Saturday and Sunday to play Mozart, does some off-roading here teamed with Jason Vieaux, the Depew-born guitarist who is now the head of guitar studies at the Cleveland Conservatory. Together, they play the introspective Sonata for Harp and Guitar of Alan Hovhaness, subtitled “Spirit of Trees.” The harmonies of the Hovhaness can be lovely. So can the melodies, which have an arabesque feel. And the instruments go together better than you might imagine. The harp’s soft arpeggios gain depth from the guitar. And Hovhaness has them playing in precise counterpoint. It’s sleepy, but a pleasure to hear.

Two world premieres were commissioned by Kondonassis and Vieaux. Keith Fitch’s “Knock on Wood” is a waste of time but Gary Schocker’s “Hypnotized” lives up to its name with its quiet rhythms. Schocker makes good use of the two instruments’ subtleties. This exploration of exotica begins with Spanish-tinged music by Maximo Diego Pujol and Xavier Montsalvatge: Pujol’s “Suite magica,” parts of which might ring a bell, and Montsalvatge’s “Fantasia.”

– Mary Kunz Goldman

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