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Arnold, Crittengen, Gershwin & Gorb

VIDA Guitar Quartet Mark Ashford, Mark Eden, Helen Sanderson & Christopher Stell

Purcell Room London, 22 April 2013

A splendid launch recital for VIDA Guitar Quartet's second CD [BGS121].

They achieved excellent rapport with their capacity audience, which included many dumb-struck children.

Prctically all the items were arrrangements, mostly by the group's own members; that for Rhapsody in Blue took far longer to achieve than did the original composition by Gershwin.

The subtleties of timbre, often very quiet, refreshed interest in a popular standard. So did their treatment of a set of Arnold dances "composed to make his publisher a lot of money" ! They ended with a Carmen Suite, and for enclore Falla's Rituel Fire Dance from Love the Magician, both to be heard in their first CD [BGS118].

One thing to note; sharp ears are important for players and listeners; tuning is important and the VIDAs knew that more frequent adjustment was needed between items than for a string quartet.

But it is all such a visual experience that CDs only tell half the story; their next recording surely must be a DVD and to include some original compositions for a very viable concert medium, which could surely become more popular at music academies if they do the rounds with residencies, masterclasses etc?

Peter Grahame Woolf