From 2014: Classical Guitar contributor Tim Panting reviews the Dublin Guitar Quartet’s collection of works by contemporary classical composer Philip Glass.
I was wondering when the music of that other great Minimalist would turn up, as there has been rather a slew of late, which primarily included the music of Steve Reich.
Well, this really is a turn-up for the books! And I exclaim because from the very first notes, this sounds different from the others. It is blissfully free of the urge to lay tons of reverb on the instruments, so here they don’t sound as if they’re floating off into space; no, they are firmly rooted into the room where I’m listening and because of this solid grounding the music can really take off, if you see what I mean.
Brian Bolger, Pat Brunnock, David Greevy and Thomas O’ Durcain, who are the Dublin Guitar Quartet, work as a well oiled-machine, which is meant as praise, for the pulses of Glass, while not dissimilar to Reich’s, have a much more melodic resonance, and clean playing is essential, and the four guitarists are pretty much ‘squeak’-free.
They have performed with Philip Glass and he has heaped praise upon their unique arrangements. Buczak, the fourth quartet, most associated with the Kronos Quartet, positively shimmers in the arrangement and performance here.
If there can be a best, though, it is here saved to the last and that is quartet number five, Mishima, from the soundtrack to the 1985 film directed by Paul Schrader, Mishima: A life in Four Chapters. Again, it was originally performed by the Kronos Quartet. The music really is Glass at his best, and I urge you to get a taste from YouTube clips, but ultimately you have one of the best versions right here, with the Dublin Guitar Quartet, who have created something rather brilliant. One of my favourite albums of the year so far. —Tim Panting