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MUSIC REVIEW

Tyler, Guitar Quartet Close Series With Engaging Concert

July 27, 1996|JOSEF WOODARD

In a fitting finale to the intensive Cal State Summer Arts guitar and lute series, lutenist and early music specialist James Tyler shared the stage with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet Thursday night in Cal State Long Beach's Daniel Recital Hall.

During his engaging Renaissance-attuned program, Tyler's dedication and technical finesse proved infectious. He brought out fellow lutenist James Lidgett for some lively interplay, and soprano Heidi French's expressive treatments were also featured.

The ranks expanded to include a six-piece consort for music by Daniel Bachelor, Richard Allison and John Dowland, with Tyler doling out scampering and ornate 16th-note lines across warm chords and phrases from the ensemble. French joined the ensemble on the final, pleading Dowland song, "Can shee excuse my wrongs."

A deserved hero's welcome greeted the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, which has developed into a premier chamber ensemble. The repertoire was old and new. Bryan Johanson's "On All Fours" worked as a dazzling opener, full of rippling, spatial echoes across the four guitarists' range.

Scott Tenant's vibrantly arranged Chilean dance songs by Horacio Salinas keenly adapts folkloric sonorities for the group, and quartet member Andrew York's latest quartet, "Harumi," is a fetching and smart invention, full of tasteful pop references. They closed with an old chestnut, Bill Kanengiser's robust and perfectly valid arrangement of Bizet's "Carmen" suite.

For cheeky encore duty, the quartet dusted off Pachelbel's beloved, bedraggled Canon in D and slyly proceeded to deconstruct it, shoving it into a genre Cuisinart and coming up with variations a la reggae, samba, rock and--for continuity's sake--Chilean strumming. It was a lovable, forgivable prank.

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