“Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829) was famous in his day as a guitar virtuoso and composer.. This release (the first of a series) aims to acquaint the listener with the variety of Giuliani’s compositions, and it’s an auspicious beginning. There’s a long introduction, rather like an overture, sensible balances that allow the guitar prominence in its statements, and some exciting moments when impassioned accelerandos come to the fore. Huggett directs a subtly fluctuating performance that presents the piece in its best light, never rigid, always expressive, but avoiding drastic tempo alteration. Savino plays with grace, insight, and a limpid tone and touch that suit the music admirably. The second movement, a beautiful Siciliano, initially somber in the minor, then cheerful in the major mode, grants repose before the finale’s elegant polonaise concludes the concerto. Performing as a duo, Huggett and Savino play the Grand duo concertante with the same musical ebb and flow that characterizes their concerto collaboration. The guitar and violin share the honors, with the guitar not merely an accompanying instrument. A beautiful slow movement, some humorous “chirping” in the third, and a sunny, lyrical “song” complete this classically conceived composition. Rossiniana is a tribute to Rossini, a pastiche of melodies and devices derived from his style and respectfully recast for guitar. In the Grande ouverture, Giuliani treats us to an entertaining curtain raiser, full of flourishes that attempt to transform the guitar into the equivalent of an orchestra. The songs, six Ariettas on poems by Metastasio, are quite fetching, proof of that Italian lyricism that is Giuliani’s hallmark: “art song” aspiring to folk song. The booklet includes translations for the songs, some words about the music by Richard Savino, and generous information about the careers of the participants. All in all, a very pleasant recital, skillfully performed by dedicated, knowledgeable musicians. Interesting also for the light it shines on how the formulas of early 19th-century music can be modified by “a fine Italian hand.”
Fanfare: Robert Schulslaper
“…(Giuliani’s) music does have its moments of charm, often blighted by mechanical performances. To come straight to the point, if this disc does not persuade you that Giuliani and Paganini’s music merits your attention, then nothing will – and that, considering that Giuliani’s Duo Concertante lasts for over 32 minutes (longer than many classical symphonies, speaks volumes for the performances.
I have never concealed my admiration for both Huggett and Savino, and I do not do so now; here is a partnership that was waiting to happen. Their unanimity is glove-tight in both interpretation and timing. These works are usually played on modern instruments and these performances on period ones reveal more of their intimate charm. I think that I have made my strong recommendation clear enough!”
Richard Savino and Daniel Stepner comprised a superb duo for theSonata Concertata of Paganini. After an elaborate introduction a folkish element pervades the piece and one Italian melody after another is set forth. This is a charmer, the type of piece we rarely hear, with whimisical turns and even a shared instrumental recitative at the right place. The performers caught the inherent spirit beyond the notes with impeccable phrasing and rapport. Their enjoyment and expertise relayed the lift which takes us out of ourselves all too rarely.
Boccherini’s Sinfonie per Grande Orchestra (with guitar obbligato) is unfortunately not well known. With Richard Savino in the featured role, the Monadnock Orchestra made a strong case for presenting the work in its original suit of clothes; that is with period instruments. Savino’s magical guitar wove itself around and through the fabric of the orchestra… it was delightful thing to witness. The good news is that there’s a recording (on modern instruments) available of this work. The bad news is that it doesn’t have Richard Savino.
(Bardenklänge) calls for a player of high technique and sensitivity to style, and Richard Savino is such a one His recordings of the Guitar Quintets of Boccherini are a first choice, and in this, his first solo recording (using a gentle-toned period instrument) to reach these shores, he reveals himself as a force to be reckoned with.
This is Savino’s first solo release on HM, after his much lauded recordings of the complete Boccherini Guitar Quintets. The Boccherini illustrated Savino’s excellent qualities as a team player chambriste. With this selection of charming little-known guitar miniatures by Mertz, Savino gets to show off the soloistic side of his artistic persona. His virtuosity comes through especially well in rapid, tricky pieces like Tarantelle . Most of the time, though, Savino’s playing is thoughtful and warm. He obviously enjoys introducing us to these marzipan-like little compositions which are endearing and sweetly nostalgic, redolent of lace handkerchiefs and rosewater. **** (4 stars)
Hour Magazine, Montreal
The interpreter (Mr. Savino) recreates with whispering nocturnal sweetness these sweet intimate pieces of great value. One can hear romances, variations, etudes and an endless assortment of miniature musical forms, many with free structures. Balancing the register of the instrument, Mr. Savino interprets, with a veleted spirit, a highly romantic composer with extreme delicacy. A very good disc and interesting author.
This offering contains the most complete collection of pieces from Bardenklänge to date. Savino’s technique is certainly up to the demands of “Unruhe,” “Elfenreigen,” “Etude,” “Capriccio,” “and the knotty “Fingals-Höle.” One needs to muster a great deal of innigkeit to project the poetry of these miniatures … and that, Savino does admirably, and, along the way, fills a phonographic void…and does so with distinction.
The most striking personality performing on today’s concert was the young guitarist Richard Savino who was making his second appearance at “Tage Alte Musik.” In the e minor quintet of Boccherini and the other work (Op.65 mini concerto of Mauro Giuliani) the guitar alternately functions as a basso-continuo and virtuoso solo instrument. Savino was a master at both, especially in the Allegretto dance movements.
The guitar (in Boccherini’s Quintet No. 1) has plenty to do and Richard Savino makes his scales things of beauty, which scales not always are. There are so many enjoyable things about this disc that it is hard to single out any one. I cannot recommend this issue too highly The music is fresh, inventive, melodic, the playing sensitive and alive throughout. The sound is excellent. What more could anyone ask for?
Colin Cooper, Classical Guitar
This disc offers fine performances of three superb chamber pieces of the classical era. Boccherini’s music is full of passion and fire… you will be rewarded with some truly fine musicianship. …There is real vitality in their playing, as well as technical virtuosity. They are experts at bringing out the tonal adventurousness and fascinating melodic developments out of these pieces. The same can be said for guitarist Richard Savino, whose energetic strums and plucks are in keeping with the style of his colleagues. … the real authenticity of their performance comes in their ability to capture the imaginative spirit of a composer who conquered Europe from Madrid to Prussia.
On The Air Magazine
Spread over three CD’s, these chamber pieces sound fresh and lively, graced by the warm mellow tone of an early 19th-century French instrument, used variously as a textural underpinning or solo voice. The third CD also contains Mauro Giuliani’s Gran Quintetto, Op. 65, which closes with a stunning polonaise masterfully articulated by Savino.
The performances are beautiful; the music, fragrant and melancholy, is beguiling.
The Absolute Sound
(…)is reissuing the eight Guitar Quintets of Luigi Boccherini. These can’t challenge the supremacy of the 3 brilliant CD’s recorded by Richard Savino, which are in all truth exemplary.
This disc rounds off a complete set of Guitar Quintets by Luigi Boccherini. When the first volume came out I pointed out that these musicians had the bad luck to be up against Richard Savino (rating: 10 de Rèpertoire). As good a quality a performance as the (…) then offered, it did not hold a candle to the American version’s joyous ease, its infinity of nuance, its airy elegance of style, which is sometimes brushed with a touch of melancholy in the slow movements. Even today we find ourselves before the same phenomenon of conscientious artistry.