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About Time / Tetra Guitar Quartet

Elgar / Tetra Guitar Quartet
Release Date: 02/11/2014 
Label:  Bgs (British Guitar Society)   Catalog #: 124   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sir Edward ElgarStephen GossLudwig van BeethovenRoland Dyens,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ABOUT TIME Tetra Gtr Qrt BGS 124 (70:19)


ELGAR Sevillana. MAHLER-GOSS Mahler Lieder. BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata, op.101 (arr. French). DYENS Comme un rond d’eau. MORLEY First Book Read more of Consort Lessons: Can She Excuse; De La Tromba Pavan; Lachrimae Pavin; Joyne Hands. GARLAND Canterbury Bells.


Having never heard a Beethoven piano sonata played on the guitar, it was all the more surprising to find op. 101 transcribed for the four members of the Tetra Guitar Quartet. The tender, lyrical moments fare best, as even four plucked instruments can’t compete with the percussive piano in the second, martial movement. Four flamenco guitarists—not to mention amplified instruments—playing rasquedos could make a considerable noise, but since they’re not hurling massed chordal outbursts, these “genteel” executants come off a tad polite. Still, it’s an enjoyable novelty to hear an entire sonata so well performed in a new guise, and some could argue that the counterpoint in the last movement speaks more clearly when spread amongst the four players. Also, each voice sounds in a distinctive timbre, something a lone pianist can only envy (this is true for all the movements, not only the finale).


Mahler, too, isn’t associated with the guitar: Stephen Goss’s charming Mahler Lieder may therefore set a trend. Based on Goss’s notes, I’m assuming these are rather free transcriptions, but they’re beautifully done (not all are based on Lieder, in the strict sense, but the originals are all sufficiently tuneful to qualify as song). The blend of Far Eastern music and texture, so deftly imitated in Das Lied von der Erde ; the delicate pizzicato accents that set off the theme of the Waltz from the Second Symphony; the perfect balance between “song” and accompaniment in Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft ; and the Ländler from Symphony No. 1, along with the other selections; all offer proof that the world has too long been denied a plucked and strummed Mahler.


Although written for orchestra, Elgar’s Sevillana sounds tailor-made for the guitar. Goss humorously notes that this “is Spanish music written by a young Englishman who’d never been to Spain,” but you wouldn’t know it merely by listening: The only things missing are the castanet-wielding dancers, whose presence is implied by a few discreet percussion effects.


The Julian Bream Consort’s An Evening of Elizabethan Music has long been a personal favorite, and not only for the quality of the performances—the memory of its elegantly printed booklet makes me pine for the LP’s glory days, when cover and internal art was rendered in a size that didn’t require magnification to appreciate. It seems that Stephen Goss, too, was smitten, as “It was this groundbreaking album that led me to arrange these pieces [from Thomas Morley’s First Book of Consort Lessons ] for Tetra.” He did an admirable job, and only the most inflexible purest could object that four guitars do not a broken consort make. There are those who hail the Elizabethan era as the Golden Age of English Music and these scintillating, decorative, winsome works might just convert you to the same opinion.


Roland Dyens’s punningly titled Comme un rond d’eau’s speedy central section—a rondo (get it?)—is framed by a mysterious introduction and a similarly atmospheric coda. There’s a hint of Latin feeling in the air once things start moving, as well as a subtle exoticism that carries over to the reprise of the introductory material. The second time around, Dyens adds an up-tempo episode that segues into a fade-away ending in keeping with the initial mystery. Tim Garland’s Canterbury Bells is an imaginative tone poem in which harmonics, prestissimo scales, and tremolos play an important part. These devices gradually unite in a tumultuous, multi-leveled episode, which, fury spent, dissolves into evocative detuned harmonics intended to convey a sense of distance in space as well as time.


About Time commemorates Tetra’s 25th anniversary and, with the exception of the Morley medley (performed at the ensemble’s debut), all the music was either arranged or commissioned in honor of that event. Tetra's members perform everything with a consummate skill that is subordinated to an irrepressible spontaneity, and their commitment to new music and creative arrangements for the guitar should ensure that their recordings are significant contributions throughout the next 25 years.


FANFARE: Robert Schulslaper
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sevillana, Op. 7 by Sir Edward Elgar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884/1899; England 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Mahler Lieder, for 4 guitars by Stephen Goss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 16 Minutes 16 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 28 in A major, Op. 101 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 20 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4.
Comme un rond d'eau, for 4 guitars by Roland Dyens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2013 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 8 Minutes 8 Secs. 
5.
Four pieces from the First Book of Consort Lessons: 1. Can she excuse by Thomas Morley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1599 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
6.
Four pieces from the First Book of Consort Lessons: 2. De la tromba pavan by Thomas Morley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1599 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
7.
Four pieces from the First Book of Consort Lessons: 3. Lachrimae pavin by Thomas Morley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1599 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
8.
Four pieces from the First Book of Consort Lessons: 4. Joyne hands by Thomas Morley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1599 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
9.
Canterbury Bells, for 4 guitars by Tim Garland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2013 
Date of Recording: 08/2013 
Venue:  Performing Arts Technology Studios, Univ 
Length: 7 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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