Review of Portland Guitar Duo by Roy Whitman

Guitarists James Manuele and Fotis Lycouridis of the Portland Guitar Duo gave a magical performance this evening at St Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Scranton under the auspices of the Classical Guitar Society of NEPA. The varied program, which consisted of many Spanish pieces originally written for the piano and later transcribed for guitar had dance as its common theme. Two dances by Enrique Granados was followed by three different waltzes, one by Chopin, the others by Harrison and Vertes.

Other dance pieces included “Fire dance” by de Falla and a Greek “Rebetika” by Kounadis which resembled tango, flamenco, and blues. Other pieces included “Granada” by Albeniz, “Andantino” by Wagenseil as well as two prelude and fugues by Castlenuevo-Tedesco and two sonatas by Cimarosa.
The first half of the program finished with Manuel Ponce’s very sweet “Intermezzo” and the entire program ended with a sentimental “Friends and Farewell” by Sergio Assad. One final piece entitled “El Balle de Luis Alonso” by Gimenez was originally written for four guitars but transcribed by the Portland Guitar Duo for just two guitars.

The Portland Guitar Duo was nuanced, measured, and mui elegante. They are a breath of fresh air with skin in the game both repertorially and musically.