This concert was an absolute treat. The Grigoryan classical guitar brothers, Slava and Leonard, were joined by the Australian (Argentinian born) baritone José Carbó to present a program of mainly Argentinian tangos, but with some Brazilian and Mexican pieces too.
Carbó, who has been making the rounds of the big opera houses around the world (Sydney, Rome, Milan, Madrid, NY), has a huge voice which was wonderful for this music in so many ways. Carbó’s voice did not need the microphone, although he used it well, close for the soft passages and distanced for the bigger sounds.
Most of the songs performed were tangos that Carbó had heard his grandfather sing. He inherited his grandfather’s sheet music collection and Slava arranged many of them for two guitars and voice.
It is wonderful to hear this music sung by a trained operatic voice. Carbó’s voice was always well placed and even. He sang with commanding confidence and the emotional effect was impressive.
Characteristic virtuosity and stylistic flair
The Grigoryan brothers, musically joined at the hip, played the excellent arrangements with their characteristic virtuosity and stylistic flair. If you closed your eyes you’d be forgiven for believing there was only a single player and one guitar. They played a few guitar-only pieces, but even with the singer, it was never “mere” accompaniment. The performance was clearly coming from a position of love.
The audience cheered and shouted their acclamation after every song and gave all on stage a standing ovation even before the interval. Finishing the whole program with “Granada” was a corker.
If you get a chance to hear these musicians, jump on it
If you ever get a chance to hear these musicians together (or separately for that matter), jump at it. Failing that, nearly all the songs in this program, plus some others, were recorded by ABC Classics nearly four years ago on a CD called “My Latin Heart”.