The story of QUATERNA REQUIEM goes back to the late 80’s in Brazil, when classically trained brothers Elisa Wiermann (piano, harpsichord, organ) and Claudio Dantes (Percussion), decide to blend their two passions (Classical Music and Rock) , the name of the band (Latin for “The other four”) was a reference to the other members of the original formation.
Their first album called Velha Gravura (Ancient Engraving) was released by a quintet formed by the two founders and complemented by Jones Júnior (guitars), Marco Lauria (Bass) and violinist Kleber Vogel. The result is a carefully crafted fusion between Prog Rock, camera Music and a hint of jazz, with a special flavor provided by the dramatic violin of Vogel.
After an extended tour through Brazil, Kleber Vogel, Marco Lauria and Jones Junior leave the band and are replaced by guitarist Roberto Crivano and Fábio Fernandez (bass guitar and lute) and a Benedictine Monk with whom Elisa had worked, the band released “Quasimodo” (1994), where the title song (39 minutes Suite) is a complete work by Elisa based in Victor Hugo´s novel Our Lady of Paris. Due to the absence of virtuoso violinist Kleber Vogel, the sound gets more oriented towards keyboards.
After a long sabbatical, the band reunites to launch a new CD called “A Mão Livre” (A Free Hand) under the moniker WIERMANN & VOGEL, but we know it’s QUATERNA REQUIEM because Claudio Dantes, Marco Laurias and Roberto Crivano appear in the record. Despite the new band name, the album is musically closer to the debut due to the formation and the fact that Vogel’s violin is of huge importance.
Some of us believed that the story was over, but again under the original band name, the group released “O Arquiteto” with the final eponymous suite dedicated to notable architects as Bramante, Gaudi and Niemeyer among others. A good effort, even when slightly less satisfying to the previous.
That’s QUATERNA REQUIEM story so far, but only time will tell, because I believe they still have a lot to offer. (by Iván Melgar-Morey)
Quaterna Réquiem’s debut album “Velha Gravura” is an exhibition of compellingly beautiful musical pictures, mostly conceived under a symphonic drive, but leaving room for a varied array of folkish sorts and some jazz rock leanings. As points of reference I can mention ‘Snow Goose’ Camel, ‘W&W’-era Genesis and The Enid, but I think it is fair to point out that this quintet manages to create and convey their own signature sound in the general context of vintage symphonic tradition. Since I regard QR as my all-time favourite Brazilian prog act, it may come as no wonder that I am so in awe with each piece contained in the album’s tracklist. My only objection is a formal (not substantial) one: the opening number should not have been ‘Ramoniana’, since it is not precisely indicative of the overall symphonic pomp and circumstance that expands all throughout the entire remaining repertoire. But now that I mention it, let me tell you that this Creole folk based number is so beautiful, that all in all, I can’t help but enjoy it regardless of the location it is in. That interplay between acoustic guitar and flute (the latter played by a guest), with a violin and an oboe intruding softly in order to add some ceremonious colours, and that high spirited coda that fills the last minute and a half, all these things are simply irresistible.
The band’s caliber comes to the fore in full exposure in tracks 2, 3 and 6, which IMHO are the most notable numbers in the repertoire: ‘Aquartha’ and ‘Toccata’ are intense and complex, while keeping an appealing, clear sense of melodic sensibility; the namesake number incarnates a perfect balance between orchestral majesty and rock driven punch. ‘Tempestade’ and ‘Madrugada’ find the band sliding along the calmer side of things: the former is serene, something like a contemplation, and the latter is more notoriously introspective, as a reflection that revolves around the mysteries of the inner self. The colourful splendour of ‘Toccata’ lights things up at the end of the record’s official repertoire. The last 2 numbers in the CD tracklist are bonus tracks, very much in the vein of tracks 2, 4 and 6: had they been developed further and arranged with a major dose of symphonic magnificence, each one might have overshadowed some of the official tracks. Since even the bonus tracks in this CD are so good, my rating must indicate “Velha Gravura” as an excellent addition to any good prog collectio (by Cesar Inca)
Oh yes … such a superb progrock album !
Cláudio Dantas (drums, percussion)
Marco Lauria (bass)
Roberto Meyer (flute)
Jones Júnior (guitar, violin)
Adauro Vilarinho (oboe)
Kleber Vogel (violin)
Elisa Wiermann (piano, synthesizer)
01. Ramoniana (Júnior) 6.23
02. Aquartha (Wiermann) 5.06
03. Velha Gravura (Wiermann) 12.16
04. Tempestade (Wiermann) 7.19
05. Madrugada (Wiermann) 10.35
06. Toccata (Wiermann) 6.03
07. Carceres (Wiermann) 3.54
08. Elegia (Vogel) 4.48