PJE receives glowing DVD review

by Brad Conroy at GuitarInternational.com

Serbian born classical guitarist Petar Jankovic is one of the finest soloists on the scene today, and he posse’s a unique, artistic, and a highly expressive style. Recently Jankovic has broken new ground and pushed the limits for the classical guitar even further with his announcement of the Petar Jankovic Ensemble, which is a string quartet led by guitar.

Serbian classical guitarist Petar Jankovic is one of the finest soloists on the scene today, and he posse’s a unique, artistic, and a highly expressive style. Recently Jankovic has broken new ground and pushed the limits for the classical guitar even further with his announcement of the Petar Jankovic Ensemble, which is a string quartet led by guitar.

Jankovic has released a promotional DVD to help generate interest in his ensemble which consists of some of the finest students from Indiana University’s esteemed Jacobs School of Music. The DVD captures a dazzling performance of his string quartet performing six pieces from their current repertoire which features composers like Roland Dyens, Radames Gnattali, Astor Piazolla and more.

The Petar Jankovic Ensemble is performing solo guitar pieces that have been arranged for the addition of string quartet, and when you hear these familiar pieces with the addition of strings, it really brings the music to life. It is so refreshing to hear a new take on a few of these pieces, and it sounds so natural as if they were always meant to be played by a string quartet.

Jankovic collaborated on a few of these arrangements with composer Elliot Bark, and they did an incredible job making solo music sound like ensemble music. The orchestrations really add to each piece and truly augment the sound of the guitar and bringing it into full spectrum.

The DVD opens with a lively arrangement of Paulo Bellinatti’s Jongo. The sound is very clear, and the balance between the instruments is perfect. Jankovic performs flawlessly, and the real high point is in the interplay between the violin and the guitar as they take turns playing the melody. The piece culminates with a highly rhythmic and percussive section which helps to showcase the diversity and depth that this group has to offer.

The performance of “Anacleto de Medeiros” by Radames Gnattali sounds like true chamber music. The arrangement is incredible and never does the listener get the impression that the other instruments are there to only support the guitar. The interplay of the string quartet sounds very impressive on this piece, and is executed flawlessly and artistically by all the members.

The stand out track on this promotional DVD is the performance of Astor Piazolla’s “Oblivion”. It is such wonderful music, and Jankovic plays with so much expression that the haunting melody resonates with warm tone. The sound of the strings is perfect and blends so well with the guitar. The addition of string quartet has really helped to push the emotional depths of this music.

The Petar Jankovic Ensemble, which is a string quartet led by classical guitar is a brilliant new group on today’s chamber music scene, and they will no doubt be bringing the music of the guitar to many new fans around the world. The Petar Jankovic Ensemble is an exciting new group that has something to offer both fans of classical music as well as fans of guitar music. Jankovic is a highly expressive and dynamic performer, and he has put a group together which is going to be able to re capture the imagination of the classical guitar and its music.

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