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Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Leo BROUWER (b. 1939)
Beatlerianas for guitar and string quartet (1985 rev. 2012) (John Lennon - Paul McCartney - arr Leo Brouwer)
Paisaje cubano con fiesta (2007) [3:18]
Cantilena de los bosques (2007) [3:33]
Zapateo (1973) [2:55]
String Quartet No. 5 (2011)
Micropiezas for two guitars (1957-1958)
Quintet for guitar and string quartet (1957)
Carlos Barbosa-Lima (guitar: all except quartet), Larry Del Casale (guitar: Micropiezas), Havana String Quartet (Beatlerianas, quartet, quintet)
rec. Teatro Góngora, Córdoba, Spain, September 2012 (Beatlerianas, quartet, quintet); The Loft Studios, Bronxville, N.Y., October 2012 (others)
ZOHO CLASSIX ZM 201304 [71:00]

Classical musicians adopting Lennon-McCartney’s music and performing it in various arrangements is no novelty. I have Beatles discs with solo harp, with chamber music groups, arrangements in baroque style, vocal groups like King’s Singers and Swingle Singers, big band versions, and guitarist Göran Söllscher issued two solo albums - and this is only a sample.
 
Leo Brouwer puts his personal stamp on the seven songs that constitute Beatlerianas. Written in 1985 it was revised in 2012. The opening Eleanor Rigby is both rhythmically frantic and lyrically restrained. Here, There and Everywhere exposes the guitar in a soloistic way whereas She’s Leaving Home is contrapuntal and rather romantic. A Ticket to Ride is motorically repetitive, in everybody’s favourite (?) Yesterday the guitar plays the melody and the suite is rounded off with swinging renditions of Got to Get You into my Life and Penny Lane. Should appeal to a wide audience.
 
The three pieces for solo guitar are nicely contrasted. Paisaje Cubano con fiesta is a swinging festive composition while Cantilena is meditative and relaxed. A little gem. Both these were composed in 2007. Zapateo from 1973 has distinct Spanish flavour.
 
String Quartet No. 5 was composed in 2011 and was premiered by the Havana String Quartet on 16 November 2012 in Córdoba, Spain. The recording was made a couple of months earlier. This hauntingly atmospheric work is dedicated to Jorge Hernández, founder and viola player of the Quartet. The Lento proceeds in long intense phrases, separated by pauses, as though the music has to hesitate and think before continuing. The second movement is rhythmic and aggressive with unflinching vitality. It is built in short riff-like phrases. A middle section is more relaxed but still intense and repetitive. It accelerates towards the end, where high violin chords create an image of shrieking birds, finally dying away. A fascinating composition.
 
The five short Micropiezas for two guitars are early Brouwer, written in 1957-1958 as a tribute to Darius Milhaud. They are entertaining and witty, incorporating some odd sounds. No 5 is a series of variations on Frère Jacques.
 
The Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet is also the work of a young man. The first movement is harmonically bold but melodically and rhythmically accessible. The main theme of the second movement was later reworked into the Cantilena de los Bosques (tr. 9). In the concluding Allegro vivace we get a distinct blues feeling.
 
Guitar and string quartet aficionados with a taste for 20th century should revel in this disc. The playing is superb throughout and the recording lifelike.
 
Göran Forsling 

Previous review: Brian Reinhart

Track listing
Beatlerianas
1. Eleanor Rigby [4:23]
2. Here, there and everywhere [3:34]
3. She’s leaving home [3:13]
4. A ticket to ride [2:54]
5. Here, there and everywhere [3:34]
3. She’s leaving home [3:13]
4. A ticket to ride [2:54]
5. Yesterday [2:45]
6. Got to get you into my life [2:04]
7. Penny Lane [2:55]
Works for guitar solo
8. Paisaje cubano con fiesta
9. Cantilena de los bosques
10. Zapateo
String Quartet No. 5
11. Lento [3:40]
12. Celebration [9:26]
Micropiezas for two guitars
13. No. 4 [1:27]
14. No. 2 [1:46]
15. No. 1 [1:01]
16. No. 3 [1:03]
17. No. 5 [2:54]
Quintet for guitar and string quartet
18. I Allegro [5:06]
19. II Quarter = 60 [5:04]
20. III Allegro vivace [6:51]