Dang Dinh Quang and Pham Ngoc Lan

The Charms of the Guitar: vai net duyen dang cua tay ban cam

When you review CDs, people send you CDs. One that turned up in my mailbox recently was this “collection of small charming pieces for the guitar from well-known [Western] composers … as well as Vietnamese songs…” by San Jose classical guitarists Dang Dinh Quang and Pham Ngoc Lan. From the West, 19th-century Spanish composers—Granados, Tarrega, Sor—predominate. Franz Schubert’s well-known “Serenade” is also covered, very nicely, as is everything on this charming work. I was taken by “Dem Tan Ben Ngu” (“Night’s End at the Royal Docks”) by Duong Thieu Tuoc, with its Asian-sounding subtle string bends, and especially by the moving “Ha Trang,” written by Trinh Cong Son, “the Bob Dylan of Vietnam,” as Joan Baez dubbed him for his anti-war activism during the height of the Vietnam War. Available for $10 from Quang & Lan, 3320 Mount Everest Dr., San Jose, CA 95127