David Starobin plays Mauro Giuliani, Vol. 2 / David Starobin, guitar


We have Bridge Records to thank for continuing this marvelous survey of the guitar works of the great early 19th-century composer, Mauro Giuliani. David Starobin is one of the finest master guitarists playing this music. The disc not only shows off Giuliani’s solo pieces but also his highly regarded chamber works.

There are some very interesting and wonderful works for duo instrumentation. His variations for guitar and violin, op. 24a, is a joy to behold. The interaction between the guitar and violin is splendid. The violinist is Amalia Hall who is considered one of New Zealand’s up-and-coming great artists. Her playing here is flawless. The moody fourth variation is possibly the best in the set.

The Rondos, op. 68, are scored for guitar and piano. The instruments react like people involved in spoken dialogue. They are in fact talking to one another in bright musical terms. A very enjoyable work featuring wonderful piano playing by Inon Barnaton, who is highly regarded as a soloist and chamber musician. There are hints of Beethoven in these pieces; Giuliani was greatly influenced by the master.

The solo pieces are played with gusto. Starobin deftly reveals the elegant lyricism of these works, the majority of which are brief miniatures that nonetheless contain ample evidence of Giuliani’s genius. The crème de la crème of the disc is a piece that the composer produced in 1823 in honor of Luigi Cherubini. Called 'Marcia di Cherubini Variata,' it is not merely a set of variations on Cherubini’s works, but rather one of Giuliani’s greatest compositions. Comprising a theme, five variations and a coda, it was written in honor of the composer who was setting the Parisian musical world on fire. It is the last work on the disc and easily the most technically and musically impressive. The disc was recorded between 2010 and 2012. The engineering is top-notch and delivers quite an impressive sound.

Enjoy another selection from this album, courtesy of Bridge Records