“Cuatro” – SOR: Grand Solo Op. 14; RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Capriccio Espagnol Op. 34; ALBENIZ: Fantasie Espagnole; IAN KROUSE: Folias Op. 33a (Guitar Quartet No. 4) – Aquarelle Guitar Quartet – Chandos CHAN 10786, 55:45 (11/19/13) [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
As its title indicates, this disc focuses on the spiritual home of the classical guitar: Spain. The first three of the four works are arrangements for guitar quartet of extremely Spanish-sounding works. with the fourth being a modern set of variations for guitar quartet on one of the oldest and most popular themes for variations in the world: La folia. Sor originally wrote his Grand Solo for guitar, but this is a special arrangement of it—with richer harmonies and more energy—by Sergio Assad of the Assad Brothers.
The Capriccio Espagnol is a guitar quartet arrangement by William Kanengizer of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. This is one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s most flamboyant orchestral works, and quotes a number of Spanish melodies. Though he was a master of orchestration, this arrangement makes the four guitars stand out as a small orchestra.
Isaac Albeniz was not only a composer but a great virtuoso pianist and wrote many Spanish-flavored piano works. Some of them have been transcribed for guitar ever since their creation, La vega coming from late in his life, and is subtitled “La Alhambra.” It uses more complex textures and harmonies than some of Albeniz’ earlier piano pieces.
The Aquarelles have recorded previous albums for Chandos, and this is appropriately the fourth for the talented guitar quartet.