Monday, June 11, 2012

Bach: Guitar Concertos

“The composer's own lute transcriptions are her models and she finds ingenious means to overcome the problems introduced when recasting, say, a bowed violin line for the plucked guitar...While the challenges of adapting the concertos for guitar may not have been entirely surmounted, it would be worthwhile to hear Xuefei Yang in more solo music by Bach.” --Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

This is one of those offbeat discs that I did not request and was prepared to dislike. Bach played on a guitar? Well, I have a friend who is working on a version of Bach’s Italian Concerto on the harp, so why not?

As it turns out, Xuefei Yang is an extraordinarily sensitive and gifted guitarist whose playing has not only the requisite technique but also the kind of musical sensitivity I appreciate. She knows how to shade and color her playing with dynamics, crescendos, and a way of emphasizing certain notes and elements of the music to make it communicate. Perhaps her finest tour de force on this disc is the Sonata in G Minor, which she plays in a completely captivating manner. According to the notes, Yang has also recorded Rodrigo’s popular classic, the Concierto de Aranjuez, for EMI. I’d love to hear that one.

The playing of the Elias String Quartet in the three concertos is well attuned to Yang’s concept of the music in spite of their slightly stricter, more modern approach. You may have more than your share of Bach CDs on your wall, so for some of you this may be a superfluous addition, but if you have room for this disc I can assure you that you’ll like it. --FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley

MP3 320 · 169 MB

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