Assad; Rodrigo - Interchange
At last, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet’s first concerto disc. And as if that’s not enough to make the mental soundboards of classical guitar aficionados everywhere vibrate with excitement, it contains the world-premiere recording of Sergio Assad’s colourful, eclectic and enormously accomplished five-movement work for four guitars and orchestra, Interchange, written for the LAGQ.
Rodrigo’s Concierto andaluz was written for legendary guitar quartet Los Romeros nearly 45 years beforehand and subsequently recorded by them in 1967 and 1979. Both recordings exhibit a relaxed, natural musicality. The LAGQ’s account is more tense and exciting; the festive last movement in particular overflows with an affection and joie de vivre that is quite special.
Sergio Assad is a prolific composer for his instrument, with more than 50 works to his name. In the booklet he writes: “Interchange represents my intentions of using traditional musical styles of the world blended as a whole organic unit, while at the same time suggesting a casual meeting of different people on an LA freeway.”
Each of the first four movements, which vary in style from Sephardic, flamenco and Asian through to Latin and North American jazz and blues, is dedicated to a different member of the LAGQ; the fifth movement, “Crossings”, combines material from the previous four movements. It’s a superb work with some fine solo writing not only for the guitars but the woodwinds especially; both the LAGQ and the excellent Delaware Symphony Orchestra under David Amado, here making their debut recording, seize on the drama and exoticism inherent in the music, making it their own.