Ombre amem: Giuliani & Sor

Gabriella Di Laccio soprano, James Akers guitar
55:10
Drama Musica DRAMA002

I approached this CD with high hopes, as I have enjoyed James Akers’ previous explorations of unfamiliar repertoire, and indeed the solo guitar music by Fernando Sor and particularly the Grand Overture by Mauro Giuliani are enjoyable and executed with the finesse and elegance we have come to expect of this fine young guitarist. For me, things get seriously problematic, though, when he is joined by soprano Gabriella de Laccio in the ariettas, seguidillas  and cavatinas, which make up the bulk of the CD. Whether through nerves or some other reason, her voice has a distracting quaver to it, but – more importantly – her intonation is regularly inadequate, such that I, personally, was unable to enjoy any of the sung music. This is a pity, as much of it sounded as if it was reasonably interesting repertoire, and the seguidillas  by Sor had a distinctive Spanish flavour to them. I persisted in the hope that things might settle down, but, while some of the character pieces were a little more successful, the overall impression was distinctly uncomfortable. I wanted to like this CD so much that I have kept coming back to it and listening to tracks at random, but sadly I have to stick to my original evaluation.

D. James Ross