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Pro Arte Guitar Trio

Scenes From Childhood Pro Arte Guitar Trio
ASV digital CD WHL 2129

Claude Debussy Children's Corner (arr. Peter Rueffer/Richard Hand) 1
Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum 2 Jimbo's Lullaby 3 Serenade of the Doll 4
The Snow is Dancing 5 The Little Shepherd 6 Golliwog's Cake-walk

Robert Schumann Scenes from Childhood (Kinderszenen) Op 15. (arr.
Richard Hand) 7 Of Foreign Lands and People 8 A Strange Story 9
Catch-as-catch-can 10 Pleading Child 11 Happy Enough 12 An Important
Event 13 Dreaming (Traumerei) 14 By the Fire-side 15 Knight of the
Hobby-horse 16 Almost Too Serious 17 Frightening 18 Child Falling Asleep
19 The Poet Speaks

Georges Bizet Children's Games (Suite from 'Jeux d'enfants') Op 22.
(arr. Richard Hand /Peter Reuffer) 20 The Top (Impromptu) 21 The Doll
(Berceuse) 22 The Shuttlecock (Fantasie) 23 Soap Bubbles (Rondino) 24
Puss in the corner (Esquisse) 25 Blindman's Bull (Nocturne) 26 Leapfrog
(Caprice) 27 Little Husband, Little Wife (Duo) 28 The Ball (Gallop)

Maurice Ravel Mother Goose (Ma Mere l'oye) (arr. Peter Reuffer) 29
Pavane for the sleeping beauty 30 Tom Thumb 31 Laideronnette, Empress of
the China Dolls 32 Conversations of Beauty and the Beast 33 The Fairy
Garden

Richard Hand - requinto guitar Tom Dupre - guitar Peter Reuffer - eight
string and octave bass guitars

Recorded in Weston Parish Church, Hertfordshire (tracks 1-6 & 29-33) on
10 July 2000, and in Toddington Parish Church, Gloucestershire (tracks
7-28) on 2/3 November 2000. ASV WHL 2129 	[61'55"]

The concept of the guitar trio has been around for quite some time, but
the Pro Arte Guitar Trio differ in not using merely three standard
guitars but in basing their ensemble around a regular formation of
requinto (a small guitar tuned a forth higher), standard and eight
string guitars. This gives a much wider range of pitch and colour and
more forceful balance between a powerful bass and a bright upper voice,
while loosing none of the flexibility of sonority that is such a feature
of good guitar playing.

The works on this disc are all well known as piano solos or in
orchestral versions but all lend themselves surprisingly well to the
arranger's pen. The arrangers in this case are two members of the trio
and their intimate knowledge of the possibilities of their particular
disposition is apparent in the skill of the arrangements. There is
nothing in this disc that would necessarily set the listener on aural
fire, and indeed their are several patches of decidedly uncomfortable
unison intonation that should not have made it past the ear of a
conscientious producer. On the other hand, tracks like the last movement
of Bizet's 'Jeux d'enfant' with the octave guitar plugging along the
bass line, or the vigourous 'thunking' of rhythmic unisons in
'Laideronette' from Mother Goose are simply delightful and effective.
The trio play rhythmically as a single entity and not only is the fast
playing crisp and exciting, but there is much of beauty in the melodic
shaping of slow phrases too. Indeed, the Schumann 'Kinderszenen', such
quintessentially domestic piano music, provides numerous opportunities
for some real beauty.

As a disc of arrangements, one would normally expect to be able to point
to several tracks where the idea was good, but the end result was less
happy, but generally these arrangements are produced with such skill
that the listener unfamiliar with the genesis of these pieces could be
forgiven for not recognising this as the original format. A fascinating
disc of clever arranging, and fine playing marred only by those careless
flaws in tuning.


Peter Wells
 
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