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minor7th.com/ Spring 2022


Eos Guitar Quartet, "El alma de Paco," 2021


Marcel Ege, Martin Pirktl, David Sautter and Michael Winkler studied together at the Music Academy in Zurich and founded the Eos Guitar Quartet in 1988, taking their name from the Greek goddess of dawn. In 2013, Martin Pirktl left the ensemble and was replaced by the Argentinian guitarist Julio Azcano.

The quartet's ninth full-length recording El alma de Paco is a tribute to the legendary Paco de Lucia, and it includes contributions from vocalist Carmen Linares and percussionist Ricardo Espinosa.

Over their 30-year recording career, the quartet has performed numerous dedicated works by world-renowned composers spanning the globe, and this album continues that tradition by including pieces from Leo Brouwer, John McLaughlin, and José Antonio Rodriguez.

Two ensemble members, Sautter and Ege, also contribute works based on songs by Granada's celebrated poet Federico Garcia Lorca, and arrangements of three danzas by Manuel de Falla complete the program.

Although the overall sound of the ensemble, awash in stylistically decorous apoyando on both classic and flamenco guitars throughout, is indeed the heart (and soul) of this recording, the contributions of the album's guest performers genuinely bring these tracks to life. Linares' uniquely distinctive vocal style informs and adorns both Sautter and Ege's contributions, while Espinoza's percussion work serves as an amalgamating force throughout the program.

The opening title track by Rodriguez is akin to an 11-minute overture that intricately lures the listener in with its sensitivity, interplay, and authentically flamenco soul.

The centerpiece of the recording is Brouwer's three-part suite "El Quejio del Poeta Duende - In memoriam Paco de Lucia" which expertly employs both the fandango and the distinctive rondeñas with which de Lucia often began his concerts.

The program concludes with British jazz guitarist John McLaughlin's Andalusian-inspired "Soñando con el sonido,"composed specifically for this recording.

The bulk of the recording itself was done over four days in the acoustically pristine hall of the SFR (Swiss Radio and Television). Moritz Wetter, who engineered additional sessions at Hardstudios, a much drier sounding room, deserves credit for his work consistently and convincingly recreating the larger hall, as does the quartet itself for adapting to the new environs while masked and distanced in that room.

El alma de Paco is the perfect release to commemorate the 30th recording anniversary of, and to celebrate the flawless, invigorating, and emotive brilliance that is, the Eos Guitar Quartet.

© David Pedrick

https://www.minor7th.com/ Spring 2022