Cover image of Paris Recital

Paris Recital

Stein-Erik Olsen

Egil Haugland

ANDRÉ JOLIVET: Sérénade pour deux Guitares


MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Sonatina Canonica · Prelude and Fugue No. 4 in E major

PIERRE PETIT: Tarentelle · Toccata

The Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya duo was the hub of guitar music in the 1950s and 60s Paris. The energy of this collaboration radiated throughout the music community, resulting in a multitude of new works for guitar duo. Stein-Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland are outstanding interpreters of the music from the golden age of the guitar.

Among the best things written for guitar duo

Stein-Erik Olsen finds the quality of these works quite special: “It is simply masterpieces, all of it – without question among the best ever written for guitar duo. All the works on the album are written within the span of six years by composers who have their individual style and musical vocabulary. You immediately hear that these works are written for two equal performers with outstanding technical and musical abilities.” Graham Wade has written liner notes for the release.

Stein-Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland

Two very experienced guitarists have teamed up again for this project – the first time they performed together was in the mid-eighties. “A fundamental aspect in our way of playing is the joy of making music and emphasising musical intuition, creativity and fantasy. We allow certain differences in our musical dialogue by allowing different articulation and sonorities as a part of the artistic expression.” Olsen has a long list of album releases, including collaborations with such prestigious orchestras as the St Martin in the Fields. Haugland is also a luthier and has numerous recordings as soloist and chamber musician.


"Duets of masterful format
What is quite special here is that in this recording Stein-Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland have chosen to use the original manuscripts (rather than the published editions) of Jolivet's and Castelnuovo-Tedesco's works. Therefore, a different musical expression is achieved and one can feel the performers' close connection to the music. Thanks to the two musician's exquisite timing, Petit's elegant expression, Castelnuovo-Tedesco's precise music and Jolivet's avant-garde music become duets of masterful format."
-Gendai Guitar Magazine, Japan June 2019

"Stein-Erik Olsen has a large and valuable discography on the Simax lable. Here he is joined by Egil Haugland for a recital of music composed for the pioneering duo of Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya. It begins and ends with works by Pierre Petit. Toccata and Tarantelle respectively, in fine performances. The Rodrigo Tonadilla, one of his finest works, follows in a particularly satisfactory performance. This piece, can sound quirky or confusing in the wrong hands. Here remains elegant throughout, with some of its tricky transitions handled with unusual aplomb.

The Sérénade by André Jolivet is technically challenging but musically engaging and will definately be added to my mental list of finest duo works. Of particular note are the gorgeous «Andante Malinconico» and the fourth and final movement, «Con Allegria» which is rhythmically weird but alluring."
-Al Kunze, Soundboard Vol.45 No.2, USA July 2019

"The two internationally renowned Norwegian guitarists, Stein-Erik Olsen and Egil Haugland, have dedicated themselves to the musical legacy of one of the world's greatest duos, that of Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya.

Selections of this beautiful music are presented on this recording - wonderful, vigorous, and exciting music for us to enjoy. Olsen and Haugland have been performing together for over thirty years and their enthusiasm for the music, their supreme technical abilities, and their lively musical relationship, are excellent. It is great listening. Both guitars have a slightly vintage flavour (made by luthiers Daniel Friedrich and José Ramirez) and offer a generous and iconic sound, well suited to the repertoire of that era.

If you would like to listen to outstanding guitar duets, this is a highly recommended disc, with superb compositions, fine musical sensibility and magnificent sonorities, recorded in the Bergen Landås Church. The accompanying booklet, with information about the music and a rewarding interview with the Duo by Graham Wade, is an added bonus."
-Ange Turell, SGLS June 2019 (Sweden)

"It is interesting to observe that apart from the choice of repertoire that is really as far as the Presti-Lagoya influence extends, because the interpretation by Olsen and Haugland is quite different. Their firm, precise application endows the Toccata and Tarantella of Pierre Petit and the Tonadilla of Rodrigo with vibrant energy and colour. The absence of excessive vibrato and legato results in a dignified, unpretentious performance which allows the listener to appreciate the purity of the beautiful Prelude and Fugue No.4 of Castelnuovo-Tedesco as well as his rarely performed Sonata Canonica. The atmosphere created within this recording is indeed that of a live concert rather than a recording session, giving the performance a sense of true authenticity."
-Laurent Duroselle, Guitare Classique (France), Numéro 88, Septembre 2019

"Masterful exploration of Presti - Lagoya repertoire.
This Nordic pairing share the distinction of having both been guest performers at the Cannington Festival presided over by John W. Duarte (see page 42). The content of this 2017-18 recording is flanked by the Toccata and Tarentelle by Pierre Petit, suggesting that we're traveling on a Presti-Lagoya ticket. This is confirmed by Graham Wade's notes, Which identify all the remaining items by Rodrigo, Jolivet and Castelnuovo-Tedesco as Presti-Lagoya dedications.

The result are impressive and by no means unexpected: two highly accomplished individual players collaborating on a level that's technically assured and engaging throughout. Naturally, there are occasional reminders that we're in the presence of musicians from the generation after Presti-Lagoya (Olsen being a teenager and Haugland a child at the time of Presti's death in 1967), so it's right and proper that the outer movements of Rodrigo have a slighter sharper cutting edge than was once customary, with moments elsewhere that display an element of urgency pointing out more to the present than the past. This said, the two slow moments in Sérénade Pour deux Guitares by André Jolivet successfully recapture all that smoky Parisian elegance of yesteryear. The Jolivet is also billed as a «first recording of (the) manuscript version» Which is a neat way of ensuring all Presti-Lagoya completists part with their cash. A wise investment it will surely be."
-Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar Magazine USA, September 2019