HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
BACHIANAS BRASILEIRAS N. 1 (1930)
arrangement by Sergio Abreu
- Embolada 6:17
- Modinha (Preludio) 6:47
- Conversa (Fuga) 3:56
ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983)
DANZAS ARGENTINAS OP. 2 (1937)
arrangement by João Luiz
- Danza del viejo boyero 1:16
- Danza de la moza donosa 2:44
- Danza del gaucho matrero 3:09
FEDERICO MORENO TORROBA (1891-1982)
for guitar quartet
- Bailando un Fandango Charro 1:42
- Remanso 2:36
- La Siega 1:35
- Fiesta en el Pueblo 1:31
- Amanecer 1:41
- La Boda 2:17
- Camino del Molino 1:38
- Juegos Infantiles 1:19
LEO BROUWER (1939)
TRES DANZAS CONCERTANTES (1958)
arrangement by Fabio Ramazzina
- Allegro 3:23
- Andantino 4:33
- Toccata 5:10
SÉRGIO ASSAD (1952)
- UAREKENA (1997) 8:12
for guitar quartet
total time: 59:46
When Quaternaglia Guitar Quartet was founded in 1992 (São Paulo, Brazil), two musical influences brought together the musicians of the group: the admiration for the art of the Abreu Duo (composed of the Brazilian guitarists Sérgio and Eduardo) and the interest in the works of the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.
Most of the talented musicians that played in Quaternaglia during the course of its eighteen years never had the privilege of witnessing a live performance of the duo – the career of the brothers reached its peak between the end of the 1960s and the middle of the 1970s – and, at that point, in the dawn of the 1990s, Sérgio Abreu had already ceased to perform as a soloist to become a respectable guitar maker.
We not only knew the duo’s albums very well but also listened attentively to every homemade recording made available by collectors. We knew, for instance, that Sérgio had utilized an exceptional instrument constructed by the American guitar maker David Hirschy in his outstanding interpretation of Fernando Sor’s nine studies (released as an LP in 1983).
Thus, it is no surprise that since its origins, Quaternaglia has always used “Abreu” guitars in every concert, recording or tour. Sérgio was present in Quaternaglia’s debut in Rio de Janeiro in 1994 and since then, has followed the group’s development closely.
Since the recording of the first CD (1995), where the quartet registered Sérgio Abreu’s transcription of Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras n.1 – the album also includes recordings of three important pieces by Leo Brouwer -, Quaternaglia had always aspired to devise a project that would involve the direct participation of this incredible musician.
It was only many years later, in 2006, that the ideal situation arose: as the quartet’s new repertoire began to mature, Sérgio played us – after a concert in Rio de Janeiro – an audio track he had received from the United States. The recording contained an impressive sound quality and had been prepared by none other than David Hirschy! After this episode, the project quickly took shape: we scheduled the recording with David for the following year (the period would coincide with a tour in the south of the United States); worked with Sérgio on the repertoire in São Paulo before the trip; and recorded the CD in the Yavapai College auditorium in Prescott (Arizona) on February 19th and 20th, 2007.
And this is how, almost imperceptibly, Sérgio Abreu had become both the musical producer of the album and its main promoter (the edition, finalized only in 2009, was integrally made by him in Rio de Janeiro).
The repertoire is comprised of pieces by Latin composers and includes a revised and matured version of Bachianas n.1. Originally written for cello orchestra, it is the inaugural piece of a series of nine works composed by Villa-Lobos between 1930 and 1945 upon his return to Brazil after two seasons in Paris. Similar to the other pieces of the series, Villa-Lobos seeks, in this work, to build a bridge between Bach (the temporal reference, the vertical axis) and Brazil (the geographic space, the horizontal axis). The titles of the movements already reveal this tension: the introduction evokes the challenges of the embolada singers from the northeast of Brazil, the beautiful prelude is based on the typically Brazilian modinha, and the final fugue simulates the sound games of a “conversation” between chorões.
The three Danzas Argentinas by Alberto Ginastera were written for piano solo in 1937 and are part of his first creative period, called “objective nationalism”. The Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti suggested an adaptation of the work for four guitars which would include not only the intricacies of Ginastera’s score but also the details present in the performance of the great Argentine pianist Martha Argerich. The adaptation was conducted with great daring and experimentalism by the guitarist João Luiz. One aspect to note is the fact that the concluding notes of “Danza del Viejo Boyero” are E-A-D-G-B-E, sequence that evokes the open strings of the guitar.
Written in 1976 by the Spanish composer Federico Moreno Torroba, Estampas is one of the first cycles of pieces originally made for guitar quartet. Similar to some of his solo guitar works, here, Torroba filters popular Spanish themes through impressionism, reflecting in music, the spirit of Spanish landscapes and daily scenes. The cycle, dedicated to the Spanish quartet Los Romeros, consists of eight small pieces of contrasting character.
The interest in the work of Leo Brouwer – which, as we saw, precedes the foundation of the group – slowly approximated the quartet to the composer: after the recording of his pieces in the first album (1995) came the Ensemble Prize in the International Guitar Contest of Havana (1998) and the Brazilian debuts of Concerto Itálico (2004) and Gismontiana (2008), both for guitar quartet and orchestra. In the latter, Quaternaglia was invited as a soloist by the São Paulo University Chamber Orchestra, which was conducted by the composer himself in his first visit to Brazil. Tres Danzas Concertantes were written for guitar and string orchestra in 1958, when the composer was only 19 years old. The version recorded here, prepared by Fabio Ramazzina, emphasizes the “guitaresque” character of the orchestral parts as well as the orchestral nature of the solo guitar. This is a work in progress: a step towards the construction of a definitive guitar quartet version.
Uarekena (or Guarekena) is a language spoken by very few indigenous peoples living close to the Brazilian border with Venezuela. The piece, written in 1997 by the guitarist and composer Sérgio Assad was originally made for four guitars and was dedicated to the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Uarekena has become a favorite in many guitar ensembles and – like Bachianas Brasileiras 1. – is recorded here for the second time by Quaternaglia (the first recording was released in 2000 in the CD Forrobodó). The present version is based on the original score of the composer (not the commercial edition) which includes the use of a 7-stringed guitar.
Translated by David Molina
Producer, Editor & Guitars by Sérgio Abreu
Recording, Mixing & Mastering by David Hirschy / Miramontes Studios
Recorded in February 19 and 20, 2007 at Yavapai College (Prescott, Arizona, USA)
Cover, Photos and Booklet Art by Gal Oppido
Guitars: Fernando Lima – Sérgio Abreu 1987; João Luiz – Sérgio Abreu 1997; Fabio Ramazzina – Sérgio Abreu 2003; Sidney Molina (7 strings) – Sérgio Abreu 1997