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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Two brothers from Brazil, Sergio and Odair Assad, began playing guitar together over 40 years ago. Today, they're legends of the classical-guitar world and they've released a new CD. It's called "Jardim Abandonado."

Banning Eyre has this review.

(Soundbite of music)

BANNING EYRE: The guitar came to classical music as an interloper of dubious pedigree. Purists wondered, is Bach really Bach when edited to accommodate the limitations of a six-string solo instrument? Sergio and Odair Assad fly past all that. For one thing, two guitars playing together have the range and available fingers to tackle classical masterpieces without much editing. But more to the point, the Assads remain true to their Brazilian heritage — more about expression of spirit than any sort of purity.

(Soundbite of music)

EYRE: This is how Sergio and Odair Assad develop a composition by bossa nova icon Antonio Carlos Jobim. There are four short Jobim pieces on "Jardim Abandonado" and they all sound more fit for the concert hall than the jazz lounge. Oddly enough, the rhythmic feeling of Brazil comes through more strongly on an excerpt from "Scaramouche" by French composer Darius Milhaud.

(Soundbite of "Scaramouche")

EYRE: The centerpiece and crowd pleaser on this sublime CD is Sergio Assad's 15-minute arrangement of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."

(Soundbite of "Rhapsody in Blue")

EYRE: The Assad brothers' repertoire even extends to family. In amongst Gershwin, Jobim and Debussy, we have three elegant pieces by Sergio's daughter, Clarice. And Sergio himself contributes to the CD's most electrifying composition, "Tahhiyya Li Ossoulina."

(Soundbite of "Tahhiyya Li Ossoulina")

EYRE: Sergio and Odair Assad came up in the wake of Andres Segovia, widely credited with legitimizing guitar as a classical instrument. With their maturity and dazzling technical skills, the Assads easily qualify as masters in the house that Andres built. But happily, they aim for more. By bringing Latin-American music, jazz, original compositions and any other thing they please into the mix, they remain interlopers — loyal more to the humble, shape-shifting guitar than to any musical genre.

SIEGEL: Banning Eyre is senior editor at AfroPop.org. He reviewed "Jardim Abandonado" by Sergio and Odair Assad.

(Soundbite of "Tahhiyya Li Ossoulina")

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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