The Prague Guitar Quartet's "Nights in the Gardens of Spain"
The aptly-titled new album from the Prague Guitar Quartet is a picturesque delight of Spanish guitar music, beautifully played, and it's WCRB's CD of the Week.
The title tracks, Manuel de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain (tracks 1-3), are as haunting as they are colorful. Originally written for piano and orchestra, after hearing this version for four guitars, it's difficult to imagine hearing this music any other way.
Federico Moreno Torroba's Estampas is one of the few pieces out there originally written for guitar quartet, rather than a transcription. It's clear that Torroba knew the nuances of a guitar quartet intimately, as he caputres moods from joy (in "La Boda," or "The Wedding") and playfulness ("Juegos infantiles," or "Childhood games") to calm and hopeful expectation ("Amanecer," or "Dawn") so perfectly using the range of sounds a guitar quartet can conjure.
It's rare to find an album of Spanish guitar music that doesn't include Isaac Albéniz, and for good reason. His "Puerto di tierra" makes it difficult not to smile, and the lesser-known "En la Alhambra" shows a darker side of the composer.
Originally for just one guitar, and later arranged by the composer for a string orchestra,
Joaquín Rodrigo's "Zarabanda lejana y Villancico" hovers, suspended in time in the capable hands of arranger Marek Velemínský, one of the members of the Prague Guitar Quartet. He is also responsible for the arrangements of Antonio José's "Balada" and Rodrigo's "Dos miniaturas andaluzas," which round out this spectacular album.
This is one you'll want to listen to all the way through. The Prague Guitar Quartet has released a true gem of an album.
For more information and to purchase this album, visit ArkivMusic.