AIRS DE NOEL is the final recording by the flute and guitar duo, DUENDE. This recording features all the familiar melodies of holiday time in both traditional and new settings. There is solo flute, instrumental arrangements, a John Rutter choral work, a setting of Barrios’ Villancico de Navidad, Franz Gruber’s Silent Night, a setting of The Bells of Rhymney by Pete Seeger, and Greensleves also known as What Child Is This. It is a perfect recording at holiday time, and serves as distinct ambient background or the basis for select carols in a gathering.
The centerpiece is the Premiere Recording of an innovative new setting of carols by Roupen Shakarian, a medley titled AIRS DE NOEL. Shakarian has combined five carols in a new and unique way. His style is to through-compose the works so they blend together but are still separate and distinct. He is a master composer and arranger. In the opening bars of O Come Immanuel he has written the two instrumental parts in different meters. The parts are unique yet blend to form that familiar core melody. Shakarian came to know Lise (pronounced Lisa) when they were both on the music faculty at the University of Seattle. At that time he also composed Suite Miscellany heard on the duo’s second recording. Shakarian provides just the right edge, humor and brilliant skills.
This is the third recording of a dynamic and aggressive flute and guitar chamber duo. They were the original extreme musicians (dating back to the 70’s), and widely acclaimed for unhinged and edgy live programs during the mid ‘90s. Once they kicked over the music stands at the end of a recital. They never played a piece of music the same way twice. Their live performances were legendary, vibrant, in-your-face yet somehow controlled interpretations – some would say explosions. They never allowed any cut/splice/stitch editing of their recordings. Every track is a single performance from beginning to end. It was a brilliant ensemble and a tremendous performing career tragically cut short by illness. Lise Mann died in August of 2007.
The word “duende” originates in Spanish culture and describes a certain quality of human performance. Dick Buell, now deceased, used it to describe one of the duo’s performances in Seattle, and the term came to embody all the duo represented in music performance. As defined by Garcia Lorca you find “…the duende in everything that springs out of energetic instinct. All the arts are capable of duende, but it naturally achieves its widest play in the fields of music, dance, and the spoken poem, since these require a living presence to interpret them. Each art has, by nature, its distinctive duende of style and form. It is a power and not a construct; it is a struggle and not a concept. It is not in the throat. The duende comes up from the inside, up from the very soles of the feet. It is not a question of aptitude, but of a true and viable style of blood, in other words; of what is oldest in culture; of creation made act. In sum, the earth force.”