Riddle me this: how is it possible that a woman who doesn’t enjoy minimalist music can fall so hard for Philip Glass? You’ll find the answer in the forty nimble fingers of the Dublin Guitar Quartet. They’ve taken the music of Glass, transcribed it for guitar (a feat in and of itself – even Glass has never dared to try), and from minimalist compositions created such richness of sound that at times I forgot I was listening to only four instruments. What pours out of their guitars sounds near-orchestral. This depth is due in no small part to masterful audio engineering that offers each plucking string a crispness that allows you to really appreciate how flawlessly in unison these artists are.
The album is replete with technical perfection, but my favorite moments are the pockets of sweet, gentle, understated pieces like “String Quartet #5 – Mvt. 1” that make you feel young again. Like, really young. Like you are a sleepy child being lulled to slumber by the sweetness of your mother whisper-singing in your ear except her voice is like a quiet harp. The piece practically glows! It’s beautiful.
Even the moments of wild strumming, like in “String Quartet #2 – Company Mvt II,” have a distinct delicate and lyrical quality. It’s easy to forget you’re listening to four guitars and not one.
Each selection on this disc was transcribed with care, played tightly, and packed with emotion. It’s a true celebration of the composer and perfectly highlights the immense skill of the performers. How does a chamber group manage to make four guitars sound simultaneously orchestral and singular? Clearly there is magic in the hills of Ireland.
Want this album to be yours? Hop on over to iTunes.