Brazilian Guitar Quartet – Spanish Dances [TrackList follows] – DelosThe 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic = FUNCK: Suite in D Major; KLENGEL: Hymnus for 12 Cellos; BLACHER: Blues, Espagnola, Rumba philharmonica; FRANCAIX: Morning music for 12 cello soloists – Arcanta

by | Aug 22, 2014 | Classical CD Reviews

Brazilian Guitar Quartet – Spanish Dances [TrackList follows] – Delos DE 466, 73:21 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic = FUNCK: Suite in D Major; KLENGEL: Hymnus for 12 Cellos; BLACHER: Blues, Espagnola, Rumba philharmonica; FRANCAIX: Morning music for 12 cello soloists – The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic – Arcanta LC 04883, 48:02 or Allegria (earlier release) [4/06] [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

The Latin Grammy-award winners of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet are herewith doing their sixth album for Delos, paying homage to the rich musical legacy of Spain. The group was launched in 1998 and is not averse to arranging already existing works for their four guitars. There are many musical styles on the Iberian peninsula—over 1000 different dance forms alone. The quartet has selected six of the best-known Spanish composers of piano music in the 20th century. With their brilliant flair for the sound and spirit of Spanish music, the quartet cannot help but shine in this repertory.

The quartet differs from most guitar quartets in employing two eight-string guitars, who add immensely to the exceptional sonorities of the CD. Their foray into Spanish music is highly appropriate, since the guitar is the favorite instrument of Brazil as it is of Spain. Of the so-called “trinity” of Spanish nationalistic music—Albeniz, Granados and Falla—Falla is really the only one who was actually born in Andalusia. His Four Spanish Pieces are dedicated to Albeniz, and like many of these works, show the influence of folk music from various area of Spain.

Rodrigo’s Sonada de adios commemorates the music of Paul Dukas, who had been his teacher, and his Four Pieces shows his use of polyphonic structure and ancient tonalities. Falla’s Andaluza gives voice to flamenco and cante jondo, using the two eight-string guitars.

The entire album present the rich sonic depth, range and spatial layout of most any guitar quartet, but these performers have a special feeling for the Latin-American style and are well-captured in quality sonics.


FALLA: Cuatro Piezas Espanolas
GRANADOS: El fandnago de candil, from Goyescas
TURINA: Zapateao, from Tres Danzas Andaluzas
RODRIGO: Sonada de Adios (Homage to Paul Dukas)
     “       Cuatro Piezas
MOMPOU: Nos. 12-15 from Cancons i Danses
FALLA: Danza Espanola No. 2, from La Vida Breve
ALBENIZ: Azulejos
GRANADOS: El pelele, from Goyescas


The 12 cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic are probably the most unusual multiple-same-instrument chamber groups appearing on the international concert scene today. They were formed originally in 1972 and now different new cellists are part of the group than when they started, though some of the original ones joined the present group in the video we reviewed back in 2012.

This CD should probably be in our reissue section because it was recorded in 1975 and since has been issued on at least two different labels. A year earlier Herbert von Karajan was in the audience at one of their concerts, and he approved of what they were doing. Over the years, however, their repertory has changed from the classical works such as these, mostly written especially for them by various composers, to a variety of pop and jazz hits. Some of their many CDs have titles such as South American Getaway, Round Midnight and Fleur de Paris. 

In works such as Klengel’s 1920 Hymnus for 12 Cellos, heard here, each of the individual cellists in the choir contributes an important part to the musical whole. The same is true for the other two more recent works on the disc. However, the opening Suite in D Major is an arrangement by Christoph Kapler of a work for viola de gamba written by the legal adviser to the Duchess of Holstein-Norburg, and he lived from 1629 to 1690.  It is in eight short movements, mostly based on dance forms, similar to works by Bach and others of the time. The closing Morning Music six-movement work may be abstract classical, but seeing as how it’s by Jean Francaix we can expect it to provide a light ahd joyful conclusion to the album.


1. FUNCK: Suite In D Major
2. KLENGEL: Hymnus For 12 Violincellos, Op.57
3. BLACHER: Blues – Espagnola – Rumba Philharmonica For 12 Solo Violincellos
4. FRANCAIX: Aubade For 12 Solo Violincellos

—John Sunier



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