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live press review by Jochen Schwan, newspaper Rheinpfalz, november 12th, 2012
They just play
Illenberger/ Autschbach Duo -- Celebrating extra-class guitar music at Badehaisel
Ralf IllenbergerWachenheim, Germany. Ralf Illenberger is a guitarist who has often been a musical guest in this venue and last Saturday he brought along his duo-partner Peter Autschbach and their CD "No Boundaries".
Illenberger used to be one-half of the well-known duo "Kolbe/ Illenberger" and to Peter Autschbach -- who for some time has already established a name of himself in today´s guitar scene in Germany -- he was a guitar hero in his younger days.
Here two exceptional players found each other, forming a duo that never questions the musical abilities of each individual -- and this doesn't count so much anyway because the duo performs as a true musical unity. They use two 6-strings, one 12-string and a rarely-heard baritone guitar, the sounds of which are enhanced by precisely and masterfully used effects with which they manage to create a unified sound "carpet" that carries the audience away. Upon this base, they develop their very complex but still easy-sounding melodies and tie everything together with a fascinating rhythm which one cannot imagine could be played more precisely. Throughout the whole sold-out concert an enthusiastic audience witnessed the fact that true guitar mastery does not necessarily mean fast and furious finger exercises. The opposite is true: the virtuosity of Illenberger and Autschbach presents itself through their relaxed and laid-back playing, and this was obvious to the audience from the very first note. One feels that the musicians do not have to prove anything - they just play. This concert could have been an initial spark of enlightenment to those who are not familiar with guitars as solo instruments. During the concert of more than two hours, it was always amazing to see and hear how naturally both musicians were able to harmonize with each other, not simply handing over parts but mixing and melting them, embedding it all within their overwhelming dynamic playing.
That simply was world class. These two sympathetic guitarists don't behave like stars; they just deliver music on the highest level -- and all this without showing any signs of effort, not even for a second.