Take Four Guitar Quartet – Orient Express (Music from Orient to Occident) [Tracklist follows] – Ars Musici 233800, 70:17 (2/25/14) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

This German and Belgian guitar quartet has been performing on international stages together since 1998, and consists of one female and three male guitarists. Member Johan Fostier is a winner of a number of international competitions and is also a member of a vocal quintet.  This is their second CD for Ars Musici.

Their Orient Express departs from Russia, makes various stops in the Czech Republic, Poland, Armenia, Hungary, Russia and Bulgaria and returns to Germany at the end. Folk music is an influence in a number of the selections.  All the tracks are transcriptions for the guitar quartet of works originally written for orchestra, piano, violin or voice, and only one of all the composers is still living. They link Western to Oriental music and some of the works have quite unusual sounds. There are also classics such as Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings, Khachaturian’s music from his Gayne ballet, and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. The note booklet has a paragraph on each member of the quartet and in three languages.


Achron, J:  Hebrew Melody, Op. 33
Casucci: Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo
Dvorak: Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22
Khachaturian: Sabre Dance from Gayane
Gayane: Lullaby
Gayaneh: Dance of the Young Maidens
Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody, S244 No. 2 in C sharp minor
Ourkouzounov: Divertimento
Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No. 1
Vardapet: Armenian Folk Dances

—John Sunier