Los Romeros – Celebration – Works of BRETON, TARREGA, VILLA-LOBOS, BACH, RODRIGO, IRADIER, PACHELBEL, DE MADINA, PEPE & CELEDONIO ROMERO – Celin, Pepe, Celino and Lito Romeros, guitars – RCA Red Seal 88697458272 *****:
This is the latest incarnation of “The Royal Family of the Guitar,” commemorating 50 years since the beginning of the guitar quartet as an art form. The original family was built around father Celedonio Romero and his three virtuoso guitarist sons Celin, Pepe and Angel. They moved from Spain to the U.S. in 1957 and immediately began a concert career and performances all over the world. Their recordings for Mercury and Philips are well-known and their quartet inspired many composers to create works for guitar quartet and guitar quartet plus orchestra. (I once recorded them for The Standard School Broadcast.)
Founder Celedonio Romero passed away in 1996 and two of his sons plus grandsons Celino and Lito now continue the tradition. In 2007 the new formulation of The Romeros was awarded the Recording Academy President’s Merit Award during Grammy Week in LA. The program they have created for this new CD is subtitled “From Baroque to Bretón.” The works of Bach and Pachelbel take care of the first half of that title, and the opening Prelude by Tomas Bretón follows the second half. The latter is a classic work of Spanish nationalism and is thrilling in its arrangement for four guitars. Some solo guitar tracks alternate with the massed strings, as on most previous Romero Family recordings. For example, the familiar Recollections of the Alhambra is solo by Pepe, and Celino plays La Paloma by Iradier as a solo. The Cuarteto No. 1 is a short four-movement suite for the four guitarists by a priest-composer of their acquaintance. Pepe is known equally well as a virtuoso flamenco guitarist, and his piece Farrucas de Sabicas is an homage to that great flamenco guitarist. The closing track, Malaguenas, is for the entire quartet, from the late Celedonio.
– John Sunier