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York Guitar Quartet | On the Overgrown Path

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Classical: Chamber Music World: Eastern European Moods: Type: Instrumental
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On the Overgrown Path

by York Guitar Quartet

York Guitar Quartet pride themselves on a unique repertoire - 'On The Overgrow Path' is devoted to twentieth century works of East European origin, using not just guitars but also requintos and bass guitar to extend their dynamic and dramatic range.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Three Rondos on Folk Tunes No.1
3:15 $0.99
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2. Three Rondos on Folk Tunes No.2
3:02 $0.99
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3. Three Rondos on Folk Tunes No.3
3:02 $0.99
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4. Eight Pieces For Children: Choral
1:45 $0.99
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5. Eight Pieces For Children: Ballad
1:24 $0.99
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6. Eight Pieces For Children: Drinking Song
1:39 $0.99
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7. Eight Pieces For Children: Mourning Song
1:50 $0.99
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8. Eight Pieces For Children: Swineherd's Song
0:38 $0.99
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9. Eight Pieces For Children: Rhapsody
3:00 $0.99
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10. Eight Pieces For Children: Jeering Song
1:07 $0.99
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11. Eight Pieces For Children: Old Hungarian Tune
2:02 $0.99
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12. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm No.1
2:07 $0.99
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13. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm No.2
1:26 $0.99
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14. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm No.3
1:33 $0.99
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15. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm No.4
1:58 $0.99
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16. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm No.5
1:38 $0.99
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17. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm No.6
2:18 $0.99
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18. On the Overgrown Path: I. Our Evenings
3:43 $0.99
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19. On the Overgrown Path: II. A Blown Away Leaf
2:10 $0.99
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20. On the Overgrown Path: III. Come With Us!
1:19 $0.99
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21. On the Overgrown Path: IV. The Madonna of Frydek
3:17 $0.99
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22. On the Overgrown Path: V. They Chattered Like Swallows
2:31 $0.99
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23. On the Overgrown Path: VI. Words Fail
1:59 $0.99
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24. On the Overgrown Path: VII. Good Night
2:47 $0.99
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25. On the Overgrown Path: VIII. Unutterable Anguish
3:07 $0.99
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26. On the Overgrown Path: IX. In Tears
2:50 $0.99
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27. On the Overgrown Path: X. The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away
3:58 $0.99
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28. Suite No.1: I. Andante
1:11 $0.99
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29. Suite No.1: II. Napolitana
1:19 $0.99
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30. Suite No.1: III. Española
1:08 $0.99
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31. Suite No.1: IV. Balalaika
0:56 $0.99
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32. Suite No.2: I. March
1:23 $0.99
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33. Suite No.2: II. Valse
2:10 $0.99
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34. Suite No.2: III. Polka
1:15 $0.99
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35. Suite No.2: IV. Galop
2:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
On The Overgrown Path

"I know of (no other guitar ensemble release) with a less clichéd repertoire...the Bartok arrangements...are wonderful and performed with great style." (Richard Wright - Musician)

"The York Guitar Quartet consists of an acoustic bass, a requinto, a tenor and one player doubling between requinto and tenor... This rather specialist line-up therefore necessitates that much music is arranged. However, this is no bad thing when the quality of the music is as here... It is refreshing to come across arrangements that sound like the originals."(Chris Dumigan - Classical Guitar)

Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
Three Rondos on Folk Tunes

The first of the 3 Rondos on Folk Tunes , written in 1916, is stylistically in keeping with the folk song transcriptions of Bartok's earlier period (e.g. For Children). The second and third, written in 1927, employ the techniques of the piano music of 1926: the dissonant clashes, the cluster-chords, the martellato rhythms. The structure of the first resembles that of the folk-song treatment in his Sonatina, the separate tunes being presented with little change except transposition, reharmonization and occasional motivic extension. The second and third, on the other hand, use the tunes much more freely, as composed themes, subject to fragmentation, development, and the textures are largely contrapuntal, unlike those of the first Rondo. The Quartet here, through the medium of the guitar, bring the folk song origin of the pieces clearly to the fore.

For Children

Choral, Ballad, Drinking Song, Mourning Song, Swineherd’s Song, Rhapsody, Jeering Song, Old Hungarian Tune
The small pieces in the For Children series belong to the most perfect piano-sketches of contemporary music. The folk tunes elaborated here are all enchanting, and cover the whole span of human emotion. Their treatment, especially their harmonisation, is poetic and worthy of genius, the melancholy or gay mood of the tunes comes across perfectly. Bartok used to preface his performance of these works by saying that they were written “in order to acquaint piano-studying children with the simple and non-Romantic beauties of folk music”. It was also a means for Bartok to provide students with a melodious and uncomplicated introduction to the sound of his newly invented musical language.

Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm

The title of these pieces would suggest that Bartok had again used folk songs for his themes; however all the musical material is his own. 'Bulgarian Rhythm' was Bartok's term for irregular compound metres. These Dances are from Book Six of Mikrokosmos, published in 1940 and dedicated to the English pianist Harriet Cohen. The volumes of Mikrokosmos are full of his compositional methods which were developed in his more large scale works. It has been described as a guide not only for pianists but for anybody who would comprehend Bartok's musical world.

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LEOS JANACEK (1854-1928)
On The Overgrown Path

Our Evenings, A Blown-Away Leaf, Come with Us!, The Madonna of Frydek, They Chattered like Swallows, Words Fail, Good Night, Unutterable Anguish, In Tears, The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away
Despite their similarity in style, being composed largely of distinct blocks of thematic material, the short pieces which comprise this suite were actually conceived separately over a period of seven years between 1901 and 1908. Some of the earlier movements were originally written for harmonium until Janacek brought them all together for publication as a piano suite in 1911 and gave them their enigmatic titles. Janacek gave only the briefest indication of the meaning of those titles, but the unifying theme appears to be that of recollections from life, hence On The Overgrown Path, an image of life's passage found in the poetry of Moravia. Some of those memories are of an intimate nature: Our Evenings, A Blown-Away Leaf (a love song), Come with Us (a private letter filed away), Good Night (leaving one's lover). Others are observations of Czech family life: The Madonna of Frydek (memories of religious processions), They Chattered like Swallows (a less than politically correct view of women's conversation). The later pieces are largely tragic in tone: Words Fail (the bitterness of disappointment), Unutterable Anguish, In Tears, The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away. The most tragic event of Janacek's life was undoubtedly the long illness and eventual death of his daughter Olga in 1903. Here, The Barn Owl is undoubtedly the portent of death. These pieces have found their way from the harmonium to the piano and now to the guitar. The quartet feel that their intimacy and simplicity find a natural home in the guitar's repertoire.

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Suite No.1/ Suite No.2

Andante, Napolitana, Española, Balalaïka, March, Valse, Polka, Galop
Although he qualified as a lawyer, it was perhaps inevitable that Stravinsky would become a composer. His father was principal bass singer at the Russian Imperial Opera, and his mother was an excellent pianist. At the age of nine Igor was already experimenting with composition, and revealing a precocious talent for improvisation at the keyboard. He continued to compose during his legal training at university, and having been inspired by a meeting with Rimsky-Korsakov shortly after qualifying, he decided to devote himself to music.

When he was writing the pieces which comprise these suites, Stravinsky was in the vanguard of the neo-classical movement. He had abandoned the Russian characteristics of his earlier work, discarding all extra-musical influences and emotions, and had adopted more pungent rhythms. His works sometimes appeared in several successful forms (for instance first as ballets, then as operas, and then as orchestral pieces). Stravinsky's defenders (for his work was by no means universally welcomed) claimed that, despite their original stage of 'programme', they were essentially 'Absolute Music'.

Stravinsky used the pieces which comprise these suites in three forms. They were conceived as piano duets, and formed two groups of 'easy pieces', one of three and the other of five, although their juxtaposition differed from that used for this arrangement. He later arranged them for small orchestra, forming the two suites by re-grouping the movements into the order followed here. On a long aeroplane flight (from Madrid to Rio-de-Janeiro) Stravinsky re-arranged the suites for bandurría quartet. In this form they remained undiscovered for many years, until they were found in a dentist's waiting room in Buenos Aires!
The bandurría is a form of cittern, and with another member of that family, the laud, often forms a trio with the guitar. The transposition from bandurría quartet to guitar quartet was therefore made quite comfortably.

The pieces which comprise Suite no.1 were written between 1917 and 1925. Andante sets the scene for the three national dances (Italian, Spanish and Slav) which follow. It features simple melodies underpinned by persistently retained rhythms. It contains two related themes and is in two sections with a short coda. Napolitana, Española and Balalaïka are, broadly, in ternary form. They too are framed in the unemotional harmony, driven along by forceful, unrelenting rhythms, which is the hallmark of neo-classicism.

The pieces which comprise Suite no. 2 date from 1921, and form a rather darker cocktail than the previous suite. Grotesque elements, and a grim, unsentimental irony, permeate the movements, to form an unsettling mix of ingenuity and the macabre. Marche is built upon a harmonic and rhythmic ostinato, and contains two striking melodic themes. Waltz is also built upon an ostinato, this time in the bass, over which is pitched a bizarre melody. Polka is in ternary form, and hurtles towards a closing climax, the momentum thus created is maintained in the witty and rhythmically varied Galop, which is apparently a parody on Offenbach.

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