“Yesterday was hot; today is cold. That’s bad for the guitars,” said Rodrigo Almeida, as he and Daniel Duarte struggled with keeping their instruments in tune. If there were tuning problems, no one in the audience could tell as the guitar duo performed a brief concert of pieces from the Baroque (Soler) to the contemporary (IU grad Jon Godfrey), from a delicate transcription (by Duarte) of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” to the rhythms and dances of Brazil in music by Nazareth, Pixinguinha, and Pereira. The concert continues a decade-old tradition of intimate, Friday lunchtime concerts sponsored by the Office of International Services, now in the Willkie Formal Lounge.
Almeida and Duarte established their Villa Guitar Duo in 2004. They have won competitions in Europe, the U.S., and Latin America and completed their first US tour in 2009. They have done many of their own transcriptions, and hearing their version of Debussy on guitar makes one wonder if perhaps the French composer had been composing for the wrong instrument. Their most recent CD renders Scarlatti, Bach, Albeniz, Villa-Lobos, and Boccherini with the same conviction, and offers challenging examples of Spanish and Latin American music written for guitar. Both currently reside in Bloomington and are associate instructors for the Jacobs School, working under Ernesto Bitetti.