Covers [TrackList follows] – Oregon Guitar Quartet – Cube Squared C2R603, 1:00:08 (5/10/12) ****:
Classic [Selections list follows] – Oregon Guitar Quartet – Cube Squared C2R604, 48:24 (10/28/13) ****:
The Oregon Guitar Quartet hasn’t received the attention some of the other guitar quartets have, but they are an excellent ensemble made up of four fine classical guitarists working in Oregon: Jess McCann, Bryan Johanson, David Franzen and John Mery. They play original compositions for guitar quartet as well as original arrangements of many other works. They are committed to presenting the most popular instrument on the planet as a part of the broad guitar culture.
Their many CDs each have a different theme, and they are constantly working on new repertory representing unusual and innovative ways to present the four classical guitars. For example, the first here has 11 tracks by such people as Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Tom Waits. The Rollins piece is “Saint Thomas” and the Herbie Hancock entry is his “Watermelon Man.” Both are the longest tracks at over six minutes and wonderful arrangements of both tunes.
1 My Funny Valentine 6:30
2 On A Good Day 3:31
3 Fly Me To The Moon 5:23
4 Tequila 4:35
5 Sleep Walk 4:40
6 All The Things You Are 7:32
7 Summer Saltarello 5:16
8 Saint Thomas 6:51
9 Autumn Leaves 5:53
The Classic album by the Oregon Guitar Quartet has four works of the Classic period, all written over an 18-year time span: the Sinfonia Veneziana by Salieri, the Sinfonia by Wagenseil, the “Philosopher” Symphony (No. 22) by Haydn, and the Symphony No. 14 of Mozart. They were selected to show the spirit of invention and change in the works, and each composer’s musical personality. All translate quite successfully to the guitar quartet reduction, and except for the Haydn it is nice to have fairly unfamiliar works of this type to appreciate. The recording venue was Lincoln Hall here in Portland, where I frequently attend concerts on the Portland State campus.