I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of Paul Beier's 2nd in the Bach series of "Werks for lute", recorded on the Italian Stradivarius label. The CD is 6 months late in the making but in the end well worth the wait. His first Bach CD Vol 1 has already been reviewed by me, and remains one of my all time favourite recordings. Vol.2 is just as wonderful, and his playing really makes listening to these works again so refreshing. Yes a joy!
In the CD we have the continuation of the Bach lute suites, but with Paul's own transcription of the g moll violin sonata BWV 1001. Along with this it contains:
[Sonata in g moll BWV 1001]. Already stated.
Prelude in c minor
Suite in e moll BWV 996
Suite in g moll BWV 995.
Paul plays two instruments for the recording by Michael Lowe and Stephen Gottlieb. The sound nuances that Paul achieves in this recording is really notthing short of beautiful. He manages to acquire a sensitivity and delicacy somewhat rare in lute recordings, without the need to exaggerate the bass elements to the detriment of the performance. His use of ornamentation, particularly in the opening of the g moll Prelude gracefully exemplifies the pathos of the opening chords, indeed one almost feels one has almost arrived at a moment of deep emotion pain, but is resolved in the Frech fuga [Overture], and ultimately in the final gigue. Incidently, he has retuned a thirteen course lute such that he is able to play a low g which is characteristic of a fourteen course instrument. The shape and architecture of the work is not lost to our ear. * * *
The cover notes are just as thoroughly researched and draw on the latest research into the works, with a wonderful opening quote by Hector Berlioz," As for the lute, I have never seen one, and I doubt that in all Paris one would be able to find an artist capable of playing the passage in which Sebastian Bach used in his Oratorio...Is this not a great loss?..."
I really can say that Beier is one of the finest lutenists of our time and is his warmth and touch on the instrument makes one really appreciate the stunningly beautiful works of Bach's music for this solo instrument.
Many thanks for your time.
===== Bach Plucked! J.S.Bach on the lute and guitar
Goldbergs on Baroque lute 2000