Brazilian Guitar Quartet Plays Villa-Lobos


(as of 06/25/2018 at 10:51 UTC)


The works of Heitor Villa-Lobos are among the most significant and influential in the classical guitar repertoire. His compositions are commonplace on the concert stage for their unique, yet widely accessible, melodic and harmonic content. Most guitarists, however, are far less familiar with the rest of Villa-Lobos' vast oeuvre, which spans several instruments, including works for solo piano, string quartet, and full orchestra. In their recent release, the members of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet draw upon their skill and experience as they endeavour to introduce a diverse collection of these works to the guitar community. Formed in 1999, the BGQ are seasoned, world-class performers, and they navigate these complex arrangements with artistry and grace. Also of note is that two of the BGQ guitarists perform on eight-string classical guitars. This unusual setup greatly expands their range in terms of pitch and texture, of which they take full advantage. The BGQ selected a varied cross section of works, spanning Villa-Lobos' entire life and the evolution of his compositional style. I was particularly taken with the various 'Cirandas' offered throughout the disc. Each Ciranda is a Brazilian folk song that Villa-Lobos arranged for instrumental performance. For me, the appeal was found in the interplay between the traditional folk melodies and the composer's supporting content, which was always charming and creative, and was often quite unexpected. Arranging music for guitar ensemble is an art in and of itself, and the BGQ's arrangements are natural and satisfying. The works they selected translate particularly well to four guitars, and honour the spirit of the original versions. Anyone who has been drawn to the works of Villa-Lobos in the past will certainly enjoy this unique offering.


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