New Releases: Brazilian Guitar Quartet, Harnoncourt's Mozart

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We're keeping things light and lively for this week's featured albums, with a new collection of Spanish music arranged for the Brazilian Guitar Quartet and a bracing Mozart album by Vienna Concentus Musicus.

Spanish Dances
Brazilian Guitar Quartet
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The Brazilian Guitar Quartet plays the usual acoustic instruments, to be sure, but also a couple that aren't the usual: two members play eight-string guitars, held upright like cellos. The result is a heartier sound and an extended range. The quartet, founded in 1999 and highly respected in its native Brazil, has released its sixth album on Delos, focusing on the rich and varied music of Spain. The album’s 18 selections are arrangements of pieces works originally written for piano by the country’s leading composers: Albéniz, Falla, Granados, Rodgrio, Mompou and Turina. Sounds range from the delicate Azulejos by Albeniz to the richly-textured Four Pieces by Rodgrio.

Mozart: Symphony No. 35 “Haffner,” Posthorn Serenade, March in D Major
Concentus Musicus Wien; Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor
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To celebrate 60 years since founding the Austrian period-instrument group Concentus Musicus Wien, conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt has recorded three of Mozart’s middle-period works, all in D Major: the Symphony No. 35 “Haffner,” the “Posthorn” Serenade No. 9 and the March in D Major. Harnoncourt is a well-known Mozartian but the liner notes maintain that these are the first recordings of these works with a period-instrument ensemble. The performances are crisp and detailed, with some affecting and leisurely slow movements.