Here's a project that stands alone on many levels, not the least of which involves the players and their instruments. Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall have been hailed as top-notch players on the mandolin in their chosen genres of classical and new age styles. In this case, they combine those dialects with some Spanish or Brazilian flavorings on this set of delightful, beautifully turned out, and thoughtful music. There's also a jazz component in the call and response aspect of how they play, while having fun in the process. Lichtenberg and Marshall have adapted violin sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and Jean-Marie LeClair, the tip of the iceberg for their unexpected choices. While the five-part "Suite Venezolana" is a magnum opus in terms of depth or variance of tempo, the bouncy "Gankino" is a happy, traditional Bulgarian song, while Marshall's original "Dec. 29th" is, conversely, pensive and near sorrowful. Only a light Latin feel comes into these works, and while the allegro passages are fleet, they are not staggeringly pyrotechnical. Waltz tempos are the most prevalent, and the duo goes into romantic passages, but are not beholden to them. As a unique listening experience, this recording is worth more than one listen to unfold and reveal the layers of craft involved from these outstanding musicians.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos