The Beatles arranged by Luboš Krtička for String Quartet
According to the American composer Aaron Copland, the bestway of learning something about the sixties is by listening to The Beatles’ records. Without any doubt, the music of The Beatles has been a major phenomenon not only of the sixties, but of the 20th century as a whole and their inspiring tunes will continue to live in the widest variety of formats and arrangements.
This CD brings together carefully selected and imaginatively arranged songs by Luboš Krtička (b.1965), a composer of chamber, choral and film music who is also active on the Czech rock and jazz music scene.
"No band's back catalogue has been massacred like that of the Beatles, and a quick Google search mentions arrangements for pan pipes, ocarinas, accordions and full orchestra. One suspects that most of them are dire. This unassuming anthology is revelatory, though – a thoroughbred Prague-based string quartet playing 13 Beatles songs, in superb, sophisticated arrangements by the eclectic Czech composer Luboš Krtička. In the unlikely event of anyone not knowing the originals, they'd probably identify each track as a wonderfully crafted quartet miniature. Krtička's scoring is invariably so right, and every liberty taken should have open-minded listeners cheering. I'm thinking of the Ponticelli scrapings at the start of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and the Respighi-like birdsong which pops up near the close of "Blackbird". Or the antiphonal taps which give colour to the opening of "Come Together". This track needs to be listened to through headphones. That these players approach Krtička's recastings with utter sincerity and conviction is a given; there's never any sense that they're slumming it. The choice moments are too many to mention – the soft introduction to "Here Comes the Sun", and the delectable, hushed coda in the opening of "Julia" are sublime. A lovely disc." theartsdesk.com
"These versions offer interesting slants on their source material without more than occasional recourse to interpolated material, providing a useful listening exercise and some rather good fun. The recorded sound manages to be both warm and lucid." Roger Thomas, International Record Review, July 2014
"These are edgy, intelligent, genre-bending arrangements of a dozen Fab Four songs by a Czech rock composer, Luboš Krtička, who pays scant regard to nostalgia and keeps the ears alert to suggestive undercurrents...Krtička is nothing if not eclectic, and the members of the Wihan Quartet treat each phrase with the respect they would accord to an unexploded piece of thorny Ferneyhough. It’s great music, superbly played. What more can we ask?" Norman Lebrecht, Sinfinimusic.com May 2014
"This latest classical gloss on The Beatles’ legacy from the Wihan Quartet also proves to be one of the finest. A baker’s dozen of songs arranged by the Czech quartet’s compatriot Luboš Krtička is intelligently conceived and delivered. Interpretations (by both arranger and interpreters) unerringly light upon the innate and immediate musicality of Messrs McCartney, Lennon and Harrison to find bewitching romance in ‘Julia’, beguiling poetry in ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and becoming sophistication in ‘Yesterday’. The other songs are dispatched with equal feeling and flair." Michael Quinn, Classical Ear, August 2014
"I enjoyed it for the most part, and I can appreciate both the skill and invention, and level of understanding, that went into the arrangements, also the assurance and high quality of the players' performances." David Kidman, August 2014, http://www.fatea-records.co.uk/magazine/2014/WihanQuartet.html