Guitar Quartet Firsts


Interchange: Concertos By Rodrigo & Assad marks the first concerto recording by the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ). In partnership with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Amado, the recording pairs Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto Andaluz (1965) with the world premiere recording of a concerto written specifically for LAGQ, Sergio Assad's Interchange.

If the seductive color and verve of Rodrigo's work hark back to an earlier era, Assad's eclectic palette is very 21st century. The five-movement piece uses traditional musical styles to suggest "a casual meeting of different people on an L.A. freeway." As unfathomable as that may seem, the titles of the movements -- "Sephardic Passage," "Gypsy Slopes," "Pacific Overlook," "Forroblues Detour," and "Crossings" -- have double meanings, referring not only to their national, melting pot inspiration, but also to roads and driving.

Thankfully, Assad's concerto pays no mind to traffic jams, polluted air, and other frustrations of urban clutter. Its gypsy movement is delightful, the Pacific Overlook idyllic. Who ever thought a finale partially inspired by the four-level interchange near downtown L.A. could be so enjoyable? Perhaps Assad was thinking of the Technicolor classics of old, whose idyllic glorification of the big city proved the antithesis of film noir claustrophobia. Whatever was going on in the freeway of his imagination, the new concerto is a joy. Look for the release March 23.

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