It was on November 4th, 1983. Maybe you were in the hall that evening? Numerous spectators were curious to attend Sérgio and Odair Assad’s first concert in Brussels. Their concert was broadcast live on the Belgian classical radio station and thousands of listeners simultaneously discovered this fabulous Brazilian guitar duo with its amazing virtuosity and spontaneous, sincere musical expression.
Already well-known in the USA, the Assad Brothers were making their European debuts. They were playing Paul Fischers’ guitars, their long and friendly collaboration with Thomas Humphrey — the guitarmaker from New York — would start three years later. It was during that same autumn 1983, while listening to his music played by the Assads, that Astor Piazzolla decided to compose the now famous Tango Suite for them.
In 1983, a French journalist wrote: “Their dedicated work and their boundless imagination, have given Sérgio and Odair the status of commanders in the world of the guitar. Their duo is a veritable phenomenon which, with time to mature, will go down in history”. His prediction became true!
En 1983, les frères Assad, Odair et Sergio de leurs prénoms, font leurs premiers pas en Europe. Après les Etats-Unis, le public bruxellois découvre alors cet impressionnant duo de guitaristes brésiliens dont la vélocité occasionnelle n’entame en rien un sens exacerbé de l’équilibre, de la pause, de la réflexion, dont la virtuosité ne s’exerce nullement aux dépens de l’émotion, de la grâce, du feeling. Les notes se chevauchent et caracolent, mais le temps de la respiration, voire du retournement, garde ses droits. C’est gai, c’est frais, c’est subtil… Ce concert fut retransmis en direct sur la RTBF. Le voici superbement remasterisé.
TÉLÉRAMA — Eliane Azoulay
But what an incredible concert it must have been! 1983 may not seem that long ago, but just consider the differences between then and now. Segovia was still touring, Piazzolla was just starting to make his mark on the guitar repertoire … The fact that the Assads’ playing still sounds so dazzling and vibrant more than a quarter of a century down the line is surely proof positive of the world supremacy the Brussels concert played such a key role in establishing.
CLASSICAL GUITAR — Paul Fowles
There is no one like the Assads in the world of music, for either the scope of their interests or the depth of the musicianship and technical abilities.