The Russian Guitar Quartet

“Our goal is to bring [this music] back because it’s absolutely the best expression of Russian musical soul…” — Oleg Timofeyev

Many guitar fans aren’t aware of Russia’s once-popular seven-string guitar tradition, especially the use of different sizes and types of the instrument in quartet configurations. Such ensembles were quite active in Russia until the early 20th century, but no scores or manuscripts for them have survived.

Enter renowned guitarist and lutenist Oleg Timofeyev, who formed the Russian Guitar Quartet in 2006 for the specific purpose of resurrecting this multi-faceted tradition in the 21st century. And what better way to demonstrate the unique sound and style of such an ensemble than to arrange for it the music of “Mighty Handful” – the influential 19th-century alliance of five composers who collectively sought to establish a unique, folk-based brand of Russian national music.

While several of the works heard in this unprecedented album are arrangements of popular pieces by Mussorgsky, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov, there are quite a few more by lesser-known composers like César Cui and Mily Balakirev. Whether fresh or familiar, this music is beautifully performed by a fine group of accomplished players with solo careers of their own.

Track Listing

    César Cui (arr. Oleg Timofeyev):

  1. Cherkess Dances
  2. Cossack Dances
  3. Modest Mussorgsky (arr. Timofeyev):

  4. Potpourri from Boris Godunov
  5. Mily Balakirev (arr. Viktor Sobolenko):

  6. Mazurka No. 3
  7. Polka
  8. Alexander Borodin (arr. Timofeyev):

  9. Polovtsian Dances
  10. Mily Balakirev (arr. Alexei Stepanov): “Balakireviana”

  11. I – Along the meadow
  12. II – By my father’s gate
  13. III – I am tired of those nights
  14. IV – Under the green apple tree
  15. Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (arr. Sobolenko):

  16. Scheherazade in Spain