York ~ The Lotus Eaters (c. 2000)

This virtuoso piece for 4 guitars is performed by the composer, Andrew York, and fellow his fellow musicians from the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (above).

Andrew York
Andrew York

In Greek mythology, the “lotus-eaters” were a race of people living on an island near North Africa. The fruits and flowers of the lotus plant were the primary food of the island and were narcotic, causing the people to sleep in peaceful oblivion.

The modern classical guitar is an instrument with a mellow, woody sound — hugely different from its electronic kin. In its construction and acoustic qualities, it is a fundamentally diatonic and soft-spoken instrument — incapable of sounding ugly, strident, or dissonant. As such it is perfect for capturing the mood suggested by the title.

The composer, Andrew York, is a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (above) and is seen in the video. The piece itself is a virtuoso work for each of the 4 players. As a sometime composer, I can attest that (for a host of reasons) the classical guitar is extremely difficult to write for. As both a performer on the instrument and composer Andrew York easily pulls every conceivable color and riff from the players — all in the space of barely 3 minutes.

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