Dallas — The Fort Worth Classic Guitar Society and Allegro Guitar Society of Dallas collaborate to bring some of the best classical guitarists in the world to the Metroplex. Saturday’s performance by Duo Deloro, consisting of Adam Del Monte and Mak Grgic, was no exception. The trouble with two hours of classical guitar is always one of programming. Even the most astonishing musicians can have difficulty keeping their audience’s attention on these rather mild-mannered instruments.
(Perhaps this explains a lot, actually. A bunch of guitarists sat around talking about how people had regarded them as background music or accompaniment for centuries. “We’ll show them!” they chorused. And thus, heavy metal was born.)
Del Monte and Grgic, despite having notably different styles, blended well together. Grgic in particular produced a wide range of tonal colors on his instrument, and the duo together created a sophisticated sound. Their technique was reliably excellent, with remarkably few missteps.
A potential issue with classical guitar music is that the range of musical languages is sometimes limited. Del Monte and Grgic attempted to overcome this in their programming through presenting the works of composers as varied as Granados and Albeniz to Ginastera, as well as a set of traditional Argentinian tangos. The latter were the most successful, demonstrating the range of the tango genre. Additionally, each of the guitarists showed off his individual skills as soloist, Grgic with another dance by Granados but Del Monte with a flamenco of his own composition.
The last works on the program, however, were sheer genius. Del Monte’s own Rumba, combining elements of Brazilian music and American jazz, and his Jaleo, which demonstrated the Middle Eastern influence on flamenco, were far from intellectual exercises in provenance. Instead, they were full of life, quirky, and fun—mashups in the best possible way.
Since there is limited repertoire for classical guitar duo, the two use arrangements by Grgic’s former teacher Ante Cagalj. The arrangements mostly work beautifully, but there is a pitfall to performing so many arrangements by the same musician—even if the original works are quite different, such as with pieces by Ginastera and Granados, for instance, the resulting arrangements, once filtered through the same person’s musical lens, can seem too much of a piece.
The pair’s encore was an arrangement of “Lullaby for the Firstborn” by Acoustic Alchemy. As Grgic said when introducing it, it was pretty, and a lovely end to the evening.