South America

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BRAZIL
BGQ MAKES HISTORIC RECORDING OF ALBÉNIZ (Headline.) This CD is so good that one should be concerned, when praising it, not to do so insufficiently. However, the least that can be said of this recording of the Suite Iberia by Isaac Albéniz, just released by the American label Delos, is that it will stand as a reference recording of the Catalan composer’s masterpiece… Which is of more than poetic justice. Iberia, composed for piano, has as its soul a sort of ideal guitar, a “dream guitar,” a magical Spanish guitar that multiplies into more guitars as the music unfurls in myriad fantasies of color and counterpoint. And it is precisely this guitar that we can hear in the Quartet’s arrangement-a translation of a translation, as it were-that brings the music back to its origins… In their three previous CDs, the quartet has recorded transcriptions of music from works by Brazilian composers (such as Camargo Guarnieri’s Quartet No. 2) to the Orchestral Suites of Bach. The experience acquired has culminated in this arrangement of Albéniz, in a performance breathtaking not only for the exuberant virtuosity in fast passages and syncopated rhythms, but also for virtuosity of another level, that of the fine control of tempo and tonal qualities, in overlapping layers… In 2000, pianist Daniel Barenboim gave a memorable performance of two books of Iberia in Sala São Paulo. His Albéniz sounded like an ingenious forerunner of the modernists Ravel and Messiaen; and even more than Alicia de Larrocha-revered by the Quartet-it is Barenboim that this recording reminds us of. The Quartet has now taken its place alongside them, beneath the ideal sun of Iberia, and in no-one’s shadow.
FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO, on the CD Suite Iberia
 
Cause for celebration… great brilliance and enormous musicality… energy and impulse… [repertory] arranged with supreme taste and sensitivity… They play as one, with a gift for tone color at once varied and integrated. They breathe together, giving the performances a uniquely organic aura… An ideal synthesis of brightness and reverie, tropical warmth and clarity of ideas… The group’s sound could be a chapter in itself. Thanks to the eight string guitar developed by Paul Galbraith, enhanced by a resonance box, the ensemble as a whole gains a greater range, endowing the music with extra richness… An unsurpassable disc.
JORNAL DA TARDE, on the CD Essência do Brasil
 
This CD has been garnering praise abroad, and with good reason… such a wonderful recording hasn’t appeared since 1982 (except for the Assad Duo of course)… the expressive power that permeates the entire CD can be felt from the first notes. Congratulations to the Quartet for their success and for this indispensable recording. An absolute masterpiece.
VIOLÃO INTERCÂMBIO, on the CD Essência do Brasil