BRAZILIAN GUITAR QUARTET- PRESS QUOTES

 

USA

"Another superb recording by one of the world's finest guitar quartets. I reviewed enthusiastically their Villa-Lobos disc. The Grammy judges agreed with me - it earned a Grammy that year. This is every bit as fine. "; American Record Guide

"The Brazilian Guitar Quartet is a unique musical group… What does it sound like? In a word, it is magnificent. In this recording they take on Albéniz' masterpiece Iberia. The extra pitch ranges at the bottom and top mean there is no compromise because of crowding the music into the available octaves of the standard guitar, and the tone colors, of which pianists can only dream, can be exploited with beautiful effect… The quartet members are effortlessly virtuosic on their parts, preternaturally unified, have gorgeous arrangements of the score, and deliver an outstanding interpretation… It must suffice to say that each of the twelve movements has never sounded better to this listener." Soundbord (on the CD Suite Iberia)

"They play together like a dream… an evening of nonstop virtuosity." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"GUITAR ARRANGEMENT SURPASSES THE ORIGINAL (Headline.) A copy tends to be weaker and less substantial than the real McCoy. Details fall by the wayside; nuances wash out. Worse case: the copy is merely an anemic imitation of the original. Yet Tuesday night, an arrangement became the star attraction. Details weren't lost, they were amplified. And in this one rare instance, I'll concede that the arrangement had a stronger effect than the original… It was an exceptional opener for the Flagler Museum Music Series. It boasted a program of near-symphonic scope with composers long associated with the guitar repertoire: Bach, Villa-Lobos and Albéniz… Their give-and-take always allowed important details to surface. The ebb and flow between the four men also was fascinating to watch." Palm Beach Post

"The Brazilians played with one mind, without losing the central pulse, and conveyed all the mystery, joy, passion and pride in this music… this was magical music making." Palm Beach Daily News

"Plus the sensitivity of the quartet's playing is excellent, from the glowing thoughtfulness of the Evocación to the accentuated yet elegant dance of "Málaga" and the fragile curlicues of "Jerez." The recording picks up all the details of the different guitarists' sound, but there is still a greater sense of the ensemble as a whole rather than individual performers. This version of Iberia is as warm and transcendentally evocative as Albéniz could have wished for." Allmusic.com, on the CD Suite Iberia

"The Brazilian Guitar Quartet displayed their impeccable musicianship in their fastidiously shaped interpretation…Bachianas Brasilerias No.1 by fellow Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos was pure inspiration. The arching melody in the middle movement was typical of Villa-Lobos' seductive songs. The outer movements oozed in inventive variety. The piece also producted the Brazilian Guitar Quartet,s best playing - attentive, respectful, authoritative and irresistibly musical" Houston Chronicle

"Everything came together beautifully: the ensemble was tight, the contrapuntal interplay was crisp, and the closing Badinerie was as lively as one could want. Villa-Lobos's "Bachianas Brasileiras No.1? pays tribute toBach by combining elements of his style (counterpoint in particular) with a style in which disparate elements-American jazz, French Impressionism, African rhythmic impulses-are melded into a distinctively Brazilian sound. This Brazilian accent has both a sunny and a meditative side, each of which was heard to fine effect in Ronaldo Miranda's "Variações Sérias" (1991) and Camargo Guarnieri's Ponteio No. 24. The more heavily folkloric roots of Brazilian music were heard in… the Dança Negra and the Dança Brasileira. And to close its program, the group offered a glimpse of European Romanticism as filtered through a painterly Brazilian sensibility in the Sonata in D (1894) by Antônio Carlos Gomes. The quartet played… engagingly and with a virtuosic flair." The New York Times

"Confident masters of technique, the members of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet showed they are also brilliant musicians during a performance presented by the Dumbarton Concert Series Saturday evening" Washington Post

"A world-class degree of precision, near-perfect balance and sensitive musicality… their performance of [Bach's] Suite No. 3 on Sunday was swift-paced, quietly rollicking and irresistibly driving." Los Angeles Times

"Throughout the evening, the players exhibited an almost telepathic coordination… the enthusiastic audience was rewarded with two substantial encores." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Strong rhythmic articulation and clarity… creates much excitement… leave(s) the listener smiling." American Record Guide, on the CD Essencia do Brasil

"Of all the anniversary albums paying homage to Bach this year via unusual transcriptions… this disc offers some of the most unlikely yet consistently delightful listening… [The BGQ] makes the Suites sound as if they were meant for this arrangement all along, with the players bringing out not only the rich counterpoint but the vibrant color of the works… the ever-popular Air of the Suite No. 3 moves with a grace both limpid and lapidary. A wonderful record." Billboard, on the CD Bach Four Suites for Orchestra

"The Brazilian Guitar Quartet's début U.S. appearance at the Kravis Center was a delight to those who appreciate the art of the guitar… agile performances… seamless harmony… The resonance of the four guitars… brought a depth to Bach's compositions that the composer himself would have appreciated… The folk themes [of Heitor Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No.1] were carried with a warmth hard to achieve with other instruments." The Palm Beach Post

"BACH SPRINGS TO LIFE IN QUARTET'S HANDS (Headline.) If J.S. Bach could have heard the Brazilian Guitar Quartet Thursday evening, he no doubt would have approved… ringing tone, balance and superb technique… bright and rhythmic… each player brought a uniqueness to the sound, which made for a fascinating performance as the differences melded into one… The added high string on Paul Galbraith's guitar has the most beautiful and unique timbre - somewhere between a mandolin and a harp. It was used throughout the evening to great effect… The audience, an assortment of young and old, seemed entranced by it all… The BGQ's CD, Essência do Brasil, is available on Delos, as is a new recording to be released this summer containing the Bach transcriptions heard here. Both would be stellar additions to your collection." Palm Beach Daily News

"BRAZILIAN QUARTET SHINES (Headline.) Dramatic flair… The men played with tenderness and an easy flexibility. Still, there were technical achievements to amaze… enchanting." Virginian Pilot

"SUPERLATIVES HARDLY DO JUSTICE TO QUARTET (Headline.) If a single word could sum up the Brazilian Guitar Quartet's concert… it would be "exquisite". But even that superlative doesn't begin to express the superb subtlety of the Brazilian ensemble… The Bach overture was a marvel of shimmering, airy structure in the quartet's hands… [After this] it seemed impossible for the quartet to surpass-or even match-itself. But it did, magnificently and more muscularly, in Heitor Villa-Lobos's soaring Bachianas Brasileiras No.1… The quartet shifted seamlessly from notes that evoked shadowy exoticism to passages that captured the pulse of the Latin civilization, dancing in sunshine… Camargo Guarnieri's colorful Quarteto No.2 showcased the quartet's remarkable ability to blend their strings into a single, passionate voice… Two quicksilver works by Francisco Mignone… explored new aspects of the absolutely atmospheric world of the Brazilian quartet and underlined their essential brilliance… the audience wouldn't let them go; standing ovations brought them back to the stage for two encores." Daytona Beach News Journal

"BRAZILIAN QUARTET WARMS, DAZZLES… (Headline.) After a stunning two-hour concert last night at the Alberta Bair Theater, theaudience's blood was pumping enough for a double standing ovation. It was some of the most amazing live music I've ever heard… The audience lapped it up. They-we-were entranced… the music of the four guitars morphed into harpsichords, basses, oboes, lutes. But half the enjoyment of theconcert was watching the musicians' fingers dance over the notes… Their speed was phenomenal… perfect senses of timing… jaw-dropping brilliance." Billings Gazette

"No matter how seriously you take your music, you need to seek out more appetizing rarities, oddities and other charmers. One such find is Encantamento, a new disc by the Brazilian Guitar Quartet… Their varied and intriguing work here is infectiously likable… Grammy-nominated lead player Paul Galbraith sets the tone: smooth yet zesty. His three colleagues are real pros… spotless ensemble precision… gets better with repeated hearing." Minneapolis Star and Tribune on the CDEncantemento

"It's hard to imagine J.S. Bach played with more seductive beauty than in the Brazilian Guitar Quartet's performance… the guitarists allowed Bach's contrapuntal writing to emerge with buoyancy and clear, structural logic, while bathing this rigorous German score in the warmest Brazilian sunshine… such virtuosic gusto… the quartet's rhythmic verve and finely calibrated ensemble work paid repeated dividends… Ronaldo Miranda's Variações Secuterias proved a warmly lyrical exercise in nostalgia, Francisco Mignone's "Lundu" an ear-teasing, infectious miniature." Washington Post

"GUITAR QUARTET ENTHRALLS LOCAL FANS (Headline.) Not only did the quartet play as freely as its members joked with one another, but that freedom of expression was matched by a precision of technique and musicality and a decidedly spontaneous approach that left the audience wanting more and more… the guitarists still made each work sound as if it were written just for them… [and] they made each member of the audience feel as if each work was played just for him or her… [Their Bach] was nothing short of ear-opening… The last movement of Bachianas Brasileiras, Fuga, especially gave all four players plenty of opportunity to flex their technical muscles as they chased each other around the score… inspired spontaneity… The two final pieces brought the program to a thrilling, guitar-thumping and rapid-fire finger-plucking close. But it didn't bring the concert to a close. With the audience demanding more (some fans called out in Portuguese, which got even more smiles out of the guitarists)… They played it so well that the audience jumped to its feet again. Nor would people stop clapping until the quartet returned to the stage once more with a melting rendition of a Brazilian lullaby. Accompanied by harmonics, lightly strummed chords and traces of delicate counterpoint, the sweet, simple melody passed from guitarist to guitarist until, after the last fading note fell into silence, the finally sated audience moved on into the cloudy night." Anchorage Daily News

"FULL HALL HEARS ARTICULATE, SYMPATHETIC GUITARISTS (Headline.) The hall was full of enthusiasts; indeed, the concert was delayed slightly because it took extra time to squeeze everyone into every seat… [the players were] articulate and sympathetic, coupled with the most extraordinary sonorities and striking ensemble." Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Their acoustic-guitar wizardry came through loud and clear to an enraptured audience… they seemed to function as a single organism with eight hands and one mind. Intricate parts were performed with unerring accuracy as interweaving lines rippled from one player to the next… At times, the guitars took on harp-like, lute-like and pianistic timbres and intonations… there was genuine daring, excitement and abundant virtuosity… triumphantly spicy… several standing ovations and two encores." Greensboro News and Record

"Most North American classical music lovers are familiar with Heitor Villa-Lobos, but few are familiar with Brazil's other composers of the 20th century. Providing a welcome introduction to those other figures is the new album "Encantamento" by the Brazilian Guitar Quartet… these pieces boast a melodic accessibility and rhythmic sensuality that often eludes northern hemisphere composers… [the BGQ] executes the lively, tricky rhythms of this music as only Brazilians could." Howard County Times, an the CD Encantamento

"In a refreshing change from string quartets and piano trios, the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City brought the Brazilian Guitar Quartet to Utah… The sound they produced was rich and full and the scope and range was symphonic… [Villa-Lobos's String Quartet no.12] was an excellent transcription that captured the depth of the music. The work is rather intense but lyrical and the ensemble gave a perceptive reading that brought out the bold expressiveness compellingly… They played lovely and heartfelt [Ronaldo Miranda's] "Serious Variations" with expressive accents that captured the different moods wonderfully and brought cohesiveness to the work as a whole… Their interpretation [of Albéniz's Suite Iberia] was exquisitely expressive and they conveyed the Spanish flavor of the music wonderfully. It was beautifully crafted and superbly articulated and executed." Reichel Recommends Blog

"The Brazilian Guitar Quartet played in an exhibition of guitar mastery that one rarely hears. Just plain "good" guitar playing doesn't have a chance once you have experienced the excellence of those who know how to turn four guitars into a whole orchestra of varied sounds… this well-oiled guitar-machine delivered what this commentator deemed to be the musical acme of the afternoon [Bach's Orchestral suite no.3]." Winter Park/Maitland Observer

"The Brazilian Guitar Quartet has done it again. Their warm, disciplined energy and mind-boggling technical prowess is directed this time at the music of Villa-Lobos. As always, their own arrangements are beautifully crafted. The two string quartets that are included (numbers 5 and 12) are done with the kind of taste and understanding that makes these players so completely convincing. An atmospheric wave of rhythm and color. Fabulous!" WGBH-Boston, on the CD Brazilian Guitar Quartet plays Villa-Lobos

"The four guitarists play with an impeccable sense of ensemble, melody lines equally distributed, often traded back and forth seamlessly within a single piece… The following [J.S. Bach's] "Air" (on the G-string, so-called) retains its tranquil beauty and serenity. The following three dances were given non-stop with verve and animation, and superb musicianship." Albuquerque Journal


CANADA

"There are a variety of infectious rhythms, some sweet and sad melodies, moments of modernist angularity, and transcendent beauty from one of Villa's greatest chamber works… Another piece on this disc which stands out is Amaral's adaptation of the Twelfth String Quartet, one of Villa's greatest chamber works, a piece of great subtlety and power. This disc is very highly recommended!" The Villa-Lobos Magazine, on the CD Brazilian Guitar Quartet plays Villa-Lobos

BRAZIL"BGQ MAKES HISTORIC RECORDING OF ALBÉNIZ (Headline.) This CD is so good that one should be concerned, when praising it, not to do so insufficiently. However, the least that can be said of this recording of the Suite Iberia by Isaac Albéniz, just released by the American label Delos, is that it will stand as a reference recording of the Catalan composer's masterpiece… Which is of more than poetic justice. Iberia, composed for piano, has as its soul a sort of ideal guitar, a "dream guitar," a magical Spanish guitar that multiplies into more guitars as the music unfurls in myriad fantasies of color and counterpoint. And it is precisely this guitar that we can hear in the Quartet's arrangement-a translation of a translation, as it were-that brings the music back to its origins… In their three previous CDs, the quartet has recorded transcriptions of music from works by Brazilian composers (such as Camargo Guarnieri's Quartet No. 2) to the Orchestral Suites of Bach. The experience acquired has culminated in this arrangement of Albéniz, in a performance breathtaking not only for the exuberant virtuosity in fast passages and syncopated rhythms, but also for virtuosity of another level, that of the fine control of tempo and tonal qualities, in overlapping layers… In 2000, pianist Daniel Barenboim gave a memorable performance of two books of Iberia in Sala São Paulo. His Albéniz sounded like an ingenious forerunner of the modernists Ravel and Messiaen; and even more than Alicia de Larrocha-revered by the Quartet-it is Barenboim that this recording reminds us of. The Quartet has now taken its place alongside them, beneath the ideal sun of Iberia, and in no-one's shadow." Folha de Sao Paulo, on the CD Suite Iberia

"Cause for celebration… great brilliance and enormous musicality… energy and impulse… [repertory] arranged with supreme taste and sensitivity… They play as one, with a gift for tone color at once varied and integrated. They breathe together, giving the performances a uniquely organic aura… An ideal synthesis of brightness and reverie, tropical warmth and clarity of ideas… The group's sound could be a chapter in itself. Thanks to the eight string guitar developed by Paul Galbraith, enhanced by a resonance box, the ensemble as a whole gains a greater range, endowing the music with extra richness… An unsurpassable disc." Journal da Tarde, on the CD Essencia do Brasil

"This CD has been garnering praise abroad, and with good reason… such a wonderful recording hasn't appeared since 1982 (except for the Assad Duo of course)… the expressive power that permeates the entire CD can be felt from the first notes. Congratulations to the Quartet for their success and for this indispensable recording. An absolute masterpiece." Violao Intercambio, on the CD Essencia do Brasil


GERMANY

"COUNTERPOINT INSTEAD OF SAMBA (Headline.) The BGQ concert at Kloster Machern offered an extraordinary representation of their country… The quartet performance was far beyond the impressive. Their playing was full of sophisticated nuances, collective precision and well-thought interpretations. This was a magnificent evening that portrayed another Brazil, much beyond hot rhythms and brilliant atmosphere." Trierischer Volksfreud

"MAGICAL BRAZILIAN GUITARS (Headline.) Huge precision… the four guitarists coordinated the musical text from one to another and performed with great professionalism and nobility." Ostsee-Zeitung


GREAT BRITIAN

"The BGQ could not have made a more powerful case for the guitar as an ensemble instrument… stunning playing… [The Villa-Lobos] was brilliantly done… All the little interpretative touches… made something special of [the two Albeniz pieces]; that tiny chord at the end of the first, for instance, perfectly timed and deliciously delivered… [the three pieces Mignone pieces were] full of vigour and breathtaking ensemble work. Three sparkling encores ended a concert that must have left the festival's director Allan Neave reassured that the considerable outlay in bringing this extraordinary group across the Atlantic was fully justified." The Courier

"Superb performance… The Brazilian Guitar Quartet has offered a refreshing, highly entertaining and substantial new repertoire for this medium; their playing and interpretation of this wonderful music is of the highest quality. There is not a low point in the entire programme, and the players' musicianship and enthusiasm for this venture shines through every bar. This is a top class recording of fabulous music from a world-class quartet. Highly recommended." Classical Guitar Magazine, on the CD Essencia do Brasil

"Essência do Brasil, a catchy collection of folk-inspired pieces by classical Brazilian composers that delighted me from start to finish. The playing is remarkably good, and the recorded sound is wonderfully warm." Punch, on the CD Essencia do Brasil


FRANCE

"At last, a 100% Brazilian product emerges from the beaten path!… The quartet gives free rein to its virtuosity [in the Gomes]… the [Villa-Lobos] transcription is ingenious: the voices are distributed within a wide scope that preserves the work's dynamism and even fire… the ensemble is impressive in the lightness and precision of its tutti, in its attacks and silences… this undertaking is all the more worthy because it will not fail to inspire listeners to quench their curiosity and expand their collection of composers still under-recognized in our latitudes." Les Cahiers de la Guitare et de la Musique, on the DC Essencia do Brasil


PORTUGAL

"A CULTURAL AND BOX-OFFICE SUCCESS (Headline.) Four guitarists of exceptional quality who have joined to create new versions and transcriptions of masterworks from Bach to contemporary Brazilians." Semana Tirsense

AUSTRALIA

"The Brazilian Guitar Quartet had a similarly warmly rounded tone and interpretative refinement. This group takes ensemble guitar playing to an extremely high level. Their sound is delectable, at times like pealing bells or angelic harps. With rolling textures and a pliant, breathing approach to melody, their performance of Bachianas Brasileiras No1 by Villa-Lobos was luscious." The Australian


JAPAN

"Dazzling music… While it might be assumed that the tonal and coloristic possibilities from such a combination might be limited, it turns out that the opposite is true on this debut CD… reveal new possibilities for the guitar… helped by Galbraith's use of a unique instrument, an eight-stringed guitar that is held almost vertically between the knees and whose sound is transferred to a wooden soundbox on the floor… The instrument gives greater lyrical power, tonal variety and range, attributes that are exploited to the full here…. The works are in fact thoroughly Brazilian in character, full of passionate melodies, exciting strumming and dazzling color… like all the transcriptions on this disc, nothing sounds out of place… a stunning debut disc by the Quartet and one that provides almost an hour (if only there were more) of vibrant music played with joie de vivre that is infectious. Galbraith has won numerous awards and a Grammy nomination for his solo albums; on the evidence of this disc, his guitar quartet cannot fail to follow suit." The Daily Yomiuri, on the CD Essencia do Brasil