Another time and place

I've never been disappointed in anything from Bert Lams. He's one of the preeminent classical guitarists in the world, and he's adventurous enough to take on just about any idea or sound. One of his specialties is recording classical works not originally intended for guitar. Here, he and Italian guitarist Fabio Mittino have arranged many pieces by Georges Gurdjieff and Tomas de Hartmann, two Russians who collaborated on a number of works from 1918 to 1927.

Bert Lams and Fabio Mittino
Long Ago
The collaboration generally consisted of Gurdjieff (much better known as a philosopher, of course) singing melodies inspired by travels through central Asia (thus titles like "Armenian Song," "Sayyid Dance," "Kurd Melody" and "Hindu Melody"). De Hartmann then placed the melodies within more formal settings. The sense of place within these songs is extremely strong.

While the melodies within the songs would be powerful enough if played by one guitar, the effect of Lams and Mittino playing off and accompanying each other amplifies the effect. Both men have a strong feeling for the material, and their arrangements maintain the simplicity of the works while teasing out even more wonder.

This is just two acoustic guitars recorded with an almost luminous sound. The results are transporting. It is almost impossible to remain rooted while listening. There is simply too much ground to cover. As usual, a stunning turn from Lams and a stellar collaborator.

Jon Worley

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