Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, “Aspects” [Track List follows] – Aquarelle Guitar Quartet – Chandos CHAN 10928 [Distr. by Naxos] 57:21, (11/18/2016)****:

Some really nice guitar playing sure to please all tastes!

I am certainly not an expert on classical guitar playing but I do like listening to it going back to my father’s collection of vinyl examples of Andres Segovia and having my own modest collection of ‘LP’s of solo guitar with or without orchestra. The guitar quartet is a genre that has been around for a while but seems to be experiencing renewed popularity. I was not familiar with the Aquarelle Quartet until receiving this disc but these guys are very impressive!

The Aquarelle is Michael Baker, Vasilis Bessas, James Jervis and Rory Russell. They have made several recordings featuring everything from guitar ‘standards’ to some very tasteful transcriptions and new works written by the members of the quartet and by other composers for them.

In that latter category, this album features three premiere recordings: Welsh Dance No. 2 by Dalwyn Henshall, Flippen/Soon or Never by Carl Mikael Marin and the “Punch Brothers” and an Elegy by John Brunning. Like everything on this very pleasant and engaging album, these are all very interesting works. Henshall’s Welsh Dance No. 2 has some quite complex rhythms and dense but ethereal harmonic structures which reflect a bit on the composer’s studies with Einojuhani Rautavaara. The brief Elegy by Brunning is too brief for me; it is a simply beautiful little work that I wished meandered on for a bit more.

As I said, speaking as someone who admittedly knows not that much about guitar, I enjoyed this album a great deal. The members of the Aquarelle Quartet are very talented and the playing is so tight and so symbiotic it sounds almost as one ‘mega-guitar’ in places. I am sure that everyone would something to enjoy in this album. Highly recommended!

       1  Andrew York Quiccan
       2  Gioacchino Rossini Sinfonia to ‘L’Italiana en Algeri’
       3  Dalwyn Henshall  Welsh Dance No. 2
   4-6  Alberto Ginastera Danzas Argentinas   
       7  Carlos Rafael Rivera  Cumba-Quin
       8  David Pritchard  Stairs

  9-11  Phillip Houghton  Opala
 12-14 Carl Mikael Marin  Flippen/Soon or Never
      15  John Brunning  Elegy

—Daniel Coombs