LAGQ (Los Angeles Guitar Quartet) – “Spin” – (John Dearman, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, Andrew York – with Colin Currie, percussion) – Telarc

by | Apr 14, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

LAGQ (Los Angeles Guitar Quartet) – “Spin” – (John Dearman, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, Andrew York – with Colin Currie, percussion) – Telarc Multichannel SACD-60647, 64:51 *****:

There’s a number of guitar quartets around and recording, but the LAGQ is the only one with a Grammy under its belt. The foursome has been together for the past quarter century and this is their third recording for Telarc. Its title comes from an included piece by Andrew York. The idea came from a friend’s poem with the line “Let love spin you around and around…”  The quartet likes to spin together different ideas and pieces in their concert programs, and that’s what they’ve done on this SACD.

As with their normal programming, most of the works the guitarists perform were composed specifically for them – either by outside composers or by members of the ensemble. Although the LAGQ has done various albums around a particular theme in the past, they decided not to go that route this time so they could mix things up a bit.  The first three tracks are by LAGQ members – the third being York’s seven-minute title tune. The influence of world music – a part of previous LAGQ pieces – is heard in Freaky Dancer.  Percussionist Currie joins the quartet here for the hypnotic music based on Indonesian gamelan.  The little suite of three very short pieces by York titled Night Furniture is great fun, and five short movements are part of Vince Mendoza’s Solstice Poem – distinguished by a pleasant main theme and some jazzy variations on it.

Since the LAGQ is very much into exploring the widest range of sounds with their four guitars, working with Telarc and multichannel DVD recording is perfect for them.  The four guitars are cleanly arrayed across the soundstage, and although it doesn’t seem the LFE channel would be vital to the reproduction of classical guitars, this is a full 5.1 channel recording.  As part of their 25th anniversary observance, the LAGQ filmed a live concert DVD for Mel Bay Publications, and we hope to review that also in future.

– John Sunier

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