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Wed August 14, 2002
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet: "For Thy Pleasure"
...They make beautiful music with their four guitars, and they'll be in New Orleans for a WWNO co-sponsored concert on September 20th.
One of the best assets possessed by Baroque music is its adaptability. Composers in the 17th and 18th centuries constantly recycled themes, melodies, and dances between their chamber, choral, and solo works. When a new occasion arose for, say, a concerto grosso premiere, a crafty composer might borrow a tune or two from one of his recent oratorios or lute suites. All composers in the Baroque period became experts at this; how successfully they managed to borrow from themselves (or from others) was seen as a hallmark of creativity.
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has released a CD full of terrific music on the DELOS label that emphasizes Baroque adaptability and the joy of fine musicianship.
"For Thy Pleasure" features the L.A.G.Q. in one of Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and several of his shorter fugues. Bach's nimble counterpoint is especially clear in the "Little" Fugue in G minor, and Prelude & Fugue in C.
Also included on "For Thy Pleasure" are gems from Henry Purcell, Telemann, and Handel, as well as two "new" pieces arranged from Baroque scores especially for the L.A.G.Q....
"Monteverdiana" is a pastiche of themes by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) arranged by Michael Fink from Monteverdi's operas and ballets. This is a tuneful overview for listeners who may only know Monteverdi from his longer vocal works.
The final selection on "For Thy Pleasure" is a real treat for those who know Pachelbel's Canon in D. After calm entrances from each of the four guitars, the famous Canon is given treatments in the style of bluegrass, reggae, grunge, and a final rumba!
Good spirits and great music-making abound on this CD of Baroque music from the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
James C. Arey is an announcer / producer / quizmaster at 89.9 WWNO in New Orleans.