Tango Perpetuel – Take Four Guitar Quartet – Ars Musici/Membran QuarTango – El Fuego – Justin Time

by | Sep 3, 2012 | Classical CD Reviews

Tango Perpetuel – Take Four Guitar Quartet [TrackList follows] Ars Musici/Membran 233055, 66:53 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
QuarTango – El Fuego [TrackList follows] Justin Time JUST 238-2 ****:
Wasn’t easy to gain information about the Take Four Guitar Quartet since they have no Wikipedia summary and most of their sites are in German since they are a German group. I discovered there is also a sax quartet, string quartet and jazz band with the name Take Four. The note booklet is very helpful though with bios of each of the guitarists and a paragraph on each of the tracks, plus an interesting article on the tango in general.
The Quartet is headed up by the guitar duo Pia Grees and Matthias Kläger. Johan Fostier is Belgian, the third member of the quartet, and performs as solo classical guitarist thruout the world. Luc Vander Borght rounds out the quartet and is also Belgian. All four guitarists studied in Paris with Albert Ponce, and have concertized since 1999 in many different countries, emerging from the Tcherepnin Guitar Quartet, which had been founded five years earlier. Their first CD appeared in 2001 and they have now done several. They perform both original guitar works and their own arrangements of other usually well-known works.
Tango Perpetuel is actually a new version of their 2005 CD of the same title. The program includes some tangos from well-known composers such as Stravinsky and Ginastera, three lighter tangos from the South American composer Ernest Nazareth, a couple from the big name in the Finnish tango movement, Unto Monenen, and of course their arrangements of a couple by Astor Piazzolla. The quartet has a high degree of technical brilliance and is noted for the many subtle innovations in their right-hand techniques. If you would like to see them in action, here are some YouTube videos: KHATCHATURIAN
I loved the one member who handled the percussive sounds on the Nazareth selection, knocking on various places on this guitar. You will find still more video clips of them at YouTube. This recording was made in a natural wood interior Protestant church in the Black Forest of SW Germany, and their sonic approach is similar to that of Opus 3 Records in finding the correct natural space for a holistic realization of the instrumentalists. Altogether a most enjoyable recording for both fans of guitar quartets and tangos.
Astor Piazzolla: Silfo y Ondina (arr. for guitar quartet)
I. Fugata
II. Soledad
Patrick Roux: Comme un tango
Unto Mononen: Kangastus (Fata Morgana) (arr. for guitar quartet)
Kangastus (Fata Morgana) (arr. for guitar quartet)
Ernesto Nazareth: Pierrot (arr. for guitar quartet)
Ernesto Nazareth: Nove de Julho (arr. for guitar quartet)
Ernesto Nazareth: Cutuba (arr. for guitar quartet)
Stefan Wolpe: 6 Klavierstucke (arr. for guitar quartet)
Christopher Grafschmidt: Buenos dias, Ira E.
Alberto Ginastera: 3 Danzas argentinas, Op. 2: No. 2. Danza de la moza donosa
Unto Mononen: Jos Jatat minut
Igor Stravinsky: Tango (arr. for guitar quartet)
Martin F. Ackerman: Toma 4 tango
This is a 25th Anniversary release for Quartango, which consists of piano, doublebass, bandoneon and violin. They have long been performing all over the world. In their photo, two of the members don’t look like they’ve been playing with the quartet for 25 years, so perhaps there have been changes in its makeup. Richard Hunt is the pianist, and has been composing for the quartet as well as doing many of the arrangements for 25 years. On this disc he has three compositions, and the group’s bandoneonist, Douglas Schmidt, also provides three works. Hunt sadly passed away last year and has now been replaced by pianist Stéphane Aubin for live appearances. The quartet also has a new bandoneonist, and continue to call themselves Quartango although they are now a quintet, having added a percussionist to the mix.
The quartet’s intent is to transport the listener to La Boca—the barrio at the heart of Buenos Aires that moves to the rhythms of the tango day and night. Though they are based in Quebec, they have a perfectly-designed chamber music approach to tango music that makes their sixth CD a complete delight. There may not be the full impact of the several bandoneons and multiple violins, but at least there’s one of each, and Quartango communicates the magic and mystery of the tango very well indeed with accurate and sophisticated playing, but often light-hearted touches.
Nueve de Jilio, Malena, Anclado en Madero, Noche en el Rosedal, Cafetin de mi barrio, Salganeando, Dance of an Angel, Lunfardo, Lluvia negra, Fall, Lo que vendra, Melancolico, Caminito, La Cachila, Adios muchachos
—John Sunier