Given the lovely sound yielded by the combination of violin (or any bowed string) and guitar, it is surprising that this combination is not taken advantage of more frequently. The non-forceful nature of the guitar frees the bowed string player from having to outmatch the giant bully known as the piano. Here, the violin is able to focus more on the production of a warm, singing sound than sheer volume production. The Shank-Hagedorn Duo makes many strides to exemplify these positive attributes. This broad choice of literature shows that the union of bowed and plucked need not be confined to the music of the Baroque as it so often is. This program ranges from Corelli to living composer Janika Vandervelde, and the combination of instruments works equally well across the centuries. As for the performance itself, it is generally quite good. Guitarist Joseph Hagedorn is not afforded many opportunities to come to the forefront, but his accompanying style is very sensitive and attuned to his violinist counterpart. Leslie Shank's sound is a bit on the bright side, but not problematically so. Intonation is occasionally questionable but is corrected quickly. There seems to be some sloppiness in rapid cross-string passages. The net result is an album that serves as an enjoyable introduction to the possibilities this kind of chamber music possesses.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata for violin & continuo in C major, Op. 5/3|
|Danzas gitanas, for piano, Set 1, Op. 55|
|The Prayer of Manitonquat, for voice, violin & guitar|
|Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492|