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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:56 am
Posts: 99
Location: Cave Junction, OR
Saturday nite I attended a concert at SOU in Ashland given by the Oregon Guitar Quartet. What an eye opener! These four men are amazingly talented! Their program included works by Handel, Richard Rodgers, Bach, Thelonius Monk, Franz Shubert and Herbie Hancock. Eclectic, to be sure.

Quartet member Bryan Johanson did the arrangements for all of the pieces performed. All I can say is: he has a most devious mind. For the most part, his weaving of modern with older music forms worked well, but there were a couple of pieces that, for my ear, were too cacophonous that they bordered on annoying (Watermelon Man and the opening of Summer Saltarello).

However, their "Saint Thomas" piece began with what sounded like Jamaican tin drums and was a real surprise. To hear that kind of sound come from four guitars was mind blowing. But the technique worked well with the following melody and rhythms in the piece.

Another selection that had the unexpected in it was Thelonius Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t”. David Franzen’s flamenco-inspired cadenzas throughout the work were amazing.

And their rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” was totally unexpected. It began with a marching beat and integrated several tempo changes, lots of polyphonic voices brought in ala the fugue form. You could not just sit and listen, you were actively involved with keeping your wits about you.

Needless to say, they received a long standing ovation at the conclusion of their performance. And came back on stage to play an encore: a Chacon by Piccinini. It was beautiful and was a perfect ending. What a gift we have in this quartet!


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