|Review by Jan Hanford:|
John Bullard has attracted international attention for his work in developing and transcribing classical repertoire for the five-string banjo. And the attention is well-deserved. Just to be clear: these are not bluegrass renditions of baroque music, they are straightforward, authentic and lovely performances of exact transcriptions from the originals.
The banjo is clearly the equal to any of its baroque relatives and makes an easy and delightful transition to these familiar, and some not familiar, baroque pieces. I fell in love with the banjo after just a few minutes of listening. John Bullard's mastery of the banjo is astonishing. He is on the same level as traditional classical guitar performances and, with his musical sensitivity and outstanding technique, has exceeded some. His ornamentation, variation of tone and dynamics are excellent and his interpretation reflects both intelligence and emotion.
The delicate sound of the banjo, and the appropriately understated accompanying instruments, creates an intimate musical experience. The interpretations of Bach are, of course, beautiful. But the addition of some of his contemporaries is also excellent; the Scarlatti is particularly well done. And the combinations of instruments, i.e. the banjo and cello for the John Downland, is really gorgeous.
I love everything about this recording and highly recommend it!
Also see his other recording Bach on the Banjo.