A Unique Classical Guitar Collection – Pieces for 1, 2, 3 & 4 guitars – Opus 3

by | Oct 17, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

A Unique Classical Guitar Collection – BACH: Allegro from Brandenburg No. 3; Brandenburg Concerto No. 6; Suite No. 2 in C minor; GRANADOS: La Maja de Goya, Asturiana No. 8; MENDELSSOHN: Two Songs Without Words; Theme & Variations from Quartet Op. 81; BRAHMS: Two Waltzes; DEBUSSY: Minstrels; En bateau; Menuet; SOR: Fantasie for 2 Guitars (excerpt); PETERSON-BERGER: 3 selections from Frösöblomster – Stockholm Guitar Quartet/Peder Riis/ Duodecima/ Stockholm Guitar Trio – Opus 3 Multichannel (4.0) SACD CD 22062, 72 min. ******:

Since the founding of his Opus 3 label in Sweden in the 1970s and until recently, Jan-Eric Persson had been recording direct to two-track tape using the single-point-source M/S stereo microphone technique invented by Alan Blumlein in the 1930s.  This approach preserves the ambient L – R information more accurately than other stereo mic techniques.  The recordings were all made in churches and other spaces with natural reverberation.  Jan-Eric has been able to extract this ambient information and feed it to the surrounds of 4.0-channel SACDs, which he has done with several of his earlier recordings, including some which were originally issued on LP only. The center and sub channels are not used.

This marvelous program of music for from one to four guitars was derived from the many guitar recordings issued during the label’s long existence. The Stockholm Guitar Quartet has the greater part of the program and deserves it. They are different from every other guitar quartet in the world in using instruments especially built for four different registers – soprano, alto, tenor and bass – thus covering over six octaves. This means that in their transcriptions they make minimum changes to the original notes in order to fit to their instruments.  The Mendelssohn and Debussy pieces sound glorious in these settings, and the Bach Brandenburg No. 6 seems to lack nothing compared to the original instrumentation. The effect of the surround information is subtle (in fact I raised its level a bit), but the four guitars are clearly arrayed across the front of the soundstage.  The differing timbres make their localization even more pronounced.  The other performers are equally skilled and beautifully recorded.  The three pieces for three guitars by Peterson-Berger make a fine wrap up to the program with their lighthearted evocation of pleasures of the short summer in Sweden.

 – John Sunier

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