|Review by Jan Hanford:|
This is the first volume in Nigel North's series of transcriptions for lute. This particular volume begins his transcriptions of the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, continuing with volume 2.
The entire 4 volume collection ranks as some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard. Since Bach only wrote a few works for lute, it is exciting to have the solo violin works transcribed for the instrument. Nigel North does not merely copy the notes and play them on the lute, he has enhanced the music with re-ordered notes of arpeggios, re-voiced chords, created bass lines as well as the required transpositions. The result is fresh and inspiring, giving the works lute-like characteristics that feel very natural.
Aside from his impressive expertise in transcribing these works, the performance is outstanding. The sound is recorded close, providing a real intimacy with the instrument and providing the ability to hear every detail. His flawless performance is filled with energy and emotion. I was transfixed while listening to these cd's, which doesn't happen often considering the large quantity of music to which I listen. The popularity of the solo violin works alone makes this cd worth listening to, but the familiar melodies and counterpoint have been given a wonderful new point of view. For me, transcriptions are like visiting an old friend in a new city. These old friends have never sounded better!
I also highly recommend the other cd's in this series by Nigel North:
Michael Stein said:
These two records bring Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin to the lute. Nigel North's interpretation and performances are outstanding. I highly recommend this recording.