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Monday, April 15, 2013

Leo Brouwer, Beatlerianas, Carlos Barbosa-Lima and the Havana String Quartet

Leo Brouwer is undoubtedly Cuba's most well-known and internationally acclaimed living composer. Where the contemporary classical Spanish-Latin guitar tradition is concerned he has done much to extend and modernize it.

Both guitarist Carlos Barboa-Lima and the Havana String Quartet have had plenty of accolades showered upon them as well, deservedly. Put the three together for the first time, and you might expect something very good. And indeed that is what you get on the disk Beatlerianas (Zoho 201304) a spring release that somehow does justice to the season by providing some beautifully wrought music.

The suite "Beatleriana" sets things off on an auspicious path by giving us Brouwer's arrangements of seven Beatles songs for guitar and quartet. They are some of the most mellifluous middle-period ditties and Brouwer makes much of them. Hear his version of "She's Leaving Home" or "Eleanor Rigby" and you'll feel you've entered some enchanted territory.

The album has that feel to it wall-to-wall, with some short works for guitar solo and duo, his sixth String Quartet, and his 1957 Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet.

The compositions are luminous, a good sample of the composer's works yesterday and today, the artistry impeccable and ravishing. It's a glorious disk for all concerned, showing the Brouweresque impression-modern-pomo touch at its finest. Kudos for Barbosa-Lima and the Havana Quartet for their definitive performances.

A knockout disk is what this is.

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