Not to be confused with the Baroque-era figured bass pioneer of the same name, Heinrich Albert was an established violinist and orchestral musician who, just before the turn of the century, picked up guitar playing as a hobby. The guitar became Albert's life pursuit; from 1900 to 1943 he played concerts throughout Europe and published numerous compositions for the instrument, including five volumes of teaching material. Albert's guitar duets, composed during World War I, are exceptionally rare works. Original music for guitar duet is uncommon enough in itself prior to the mid-twentieth century, but Albert's duets are as different from the glittery and facile duet music of Sor and Giuliani as one can imagine -- they are more like late Romantic orchestral suites re-voiced in terms of the guitar, and pay homage to Albert's background as an orchestral musician. So impressed were guitarists Joachim Schrader and Jan Erler with Heinrich Albert's eight duets that they named their own ensemble, the Heinrich-Albert-Duo, after them. MDG Scene's Heinrich Albert: 8 Duos for Guitars is the Heinrich-Albert-Duo's debut recording and features the pieces that form the center of the group's repertoire.
MDG's recording is a little quiet at times and one wishes it captured more of the dynamic range, but it represents the Heinrich-Albert-Duo in such high-flying spirits that one forgets all about the recording quality once it's underway. This material is the main reason this group even exists, and it has already performed it to audiences throughout Europe who have earnestly requested that it be recorded. Therefore, this is not a case, such as is often with MDG's recordings, where rare and desirable literature is dusted off and worked up for the sake of a recording -- the Heinrich-Albert-Duo came to them. Moreover, you'll find no other guitar music like this; just about any attempt at even indirect comparisons will not do justice to these unique and outstanding works.