Carlos Barbosa-Lima & The Havana String Quartet
Leo Brouwer: Beatlerianas
(CD Web Page)
Leo Brouwer, Arranger
Carlos Barbosa-Lima on Guitar
Larry Del Casale on Guitar
Havana String Quartet:
Hoang Linh Chi on 1st Violin
Eugenio Valdés on 2nd Violin
Jorge Hernández on Viola
Deborah Yamak on Cello
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 10, 2013
This CD is a brilliant combination of music for two guitars (Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Larry Del Casale) and Havana String Quartet. Seven songs by the Beatles open the recording, followed by three of Leo Brouwer’s solo guitar works and his “String Quartet #5”, on two tracks. Next are Brouwer’s “Micropiezas” for two guitars, on five tracks, and finally Brouwer’s “Quintet” for guitar and string quartet, on three tracks. The music is refined, eclectic, and a fusion of Cuban, classical, and contemporary.
#2 – Here, There, and Everywhere – Composed by Lennon and McCartney. This Beatles favorite is performed by Carlos Barbosa-Lima and the Havana String Quartet, with rapturous melody and casual blendings of guitar, violins, viola, and cello. Barbosa-Lima opens and closes the song, with the Quartet taking the central theme in rhapsodic fashion.
#5 – Yesterday – Composed by Lennon and McCartney. Again, Barbosa-Lima shifts from guitar lead to Quartet, with deep cello tones imbued in the mid-track theme, gorgeously woven with the guitar’s eloquent interpretation. There’s remarkable reverence for the song’s origin, with its melody kept languorous and eloquent.
#13 - #17 - Micropiezas – Composed by Leo Brouwer. These five “micro pieces”, featuring Del Casale and Barbosa-Lima, are the appetizer for Brouwer’s “Quintet”. The first four tracks, about a minute each, are introspective duets, with shadings in volume and tempo, harmony and atonality. The fifth is an adorable interpretation of “Frère Jacques”, the childhood French chanson, performed in rounds, as children do, overlapping the repetitive phrases. The entire piece is played in quietude.
#18 - #20 - Quintet – Composed by Leo Brouwer. There are evocations of Copland in this piece, with the “Allegro” charged and dissonant, in the violins, cello, and viola, while Barbosa-Lima plays a more euphonic, overlapping guitar theme. This “Quintet” is symphonic and compelling, with the second “Quarter=60” movement filled with contrasts in resonance and rhythm, staccato mixed with echoes. The final “Allegro Vivace” movement again merges atonal ensemble and harmonious guitar phrases, with repetitive intensity. A central adagio passage adds profound pathos.