For her début album, Karen Gomyo has joined forces with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen in a programme offering fireworks as well as graceful tenderness. A violin virtuoso as well as an expert guitar player, Niccolò Paganini wrote a number of works for the two instruments together. He thus forms a natural point of departure as Gomyo and Eskelinen embark on a journey some hundred years backwards in history, and offer works by three other famous Italian violinist-composers. Neither the violin sonatas by Vivaldi and Locatelli nor Corelli’s celebrated ‘La Follia’ were written specifically with the guitar in mind. They are instead provided with so-called basso continuo accompaniments to be performed on various chord-playing instruments, such as the harpsichord or the organ. Larger continuo ensembles might also include a lute or a guitar, and it is to this tradition that Ismo Eskelinen harks back as he performs his own realizations of these accompaniments. With one exception, the works by Paganini are on the other hand intended for the combination of violin and guitar – or, in the case of the Grand Sonata, ‘per chitarra e violino’. The centrepiece of the disc is formed by the famous 24th Caprice, provided by the composer with a guitar accompaniment and renamed Variazioni di bravura. Another favourite closes the disc, as Karen Gomyo and Ismo Eskelinen perform their version for violin and guitar of Il carnevale di Venezia, Paganini’s take on a Neapolitan folk song.
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