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Bach: Lute Suites, Trio Sonatas

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 14, 1994
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Product Details

  • Performer: Julian Bream, George Malcolm
  • Composer: J.S. Bach
  • Audio CD (June 14, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • ASIN: B000003FG2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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02-14-2014 J. S. BACH wrote several works for lesser known instruments, besides the major one, the harpsicord, and organ but also the Lute, a sort of early guitar. This recording by the king osf strings, Julian Breamcontains the two Lute suites for the unaccompanied instruemnt, BWV 996 and 997. Each is around 19 to 20 minutes. Also we get the Trio Sonatas numbers 1 and 5. Harpsicordist George Malcom joins Mr. Bream in the pair of Sonati and this performance was taped in London in October 1965 and 1969. Obviously analog recordings, they were remastered later. Here is a brief summary of the contents.
Suite #1 is in the key of____ and dates from ___ to ___. It runs 18:57 and has 6 partss. The 1st Suite opensa with the typical Bach Prelude. usually a slow stately figure , Bach's preludes are quite popular and well written, whether it ne fo lute, organ or harpsicord. They always leave ideas and themes incomplete, but the music that IS resolved is generally both dramatic and emotive in tone. As such, they are pieces of anticipation in miniature. This one, in Suite #1, is no exception. The 2nd piece is an Allemande of only 2 minutes, but this dance piece reflecxts it's stately processional character, having originated in 16th Century France.
Part three is the Courante, another dance in triple meter from the later Renaissance it was also the slowest of all the courtly dances popular in France. The French commoners were unfamiliar with it, as it really only existed in the realm of the privilaged and wealthy as a divertion and entertainment. These slow graceful works are a breeze for the likes of Julian Bream, but he still persents them with great attention to detail and his tempo is perfect. Gentle and tender, this music rolls off his fingersand out of his instruemtn with fine effect. The Sarabande of 4:39, and as such, is the Suite's longest single
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Format: Audio CD
I had this same music on LP for many years. The performances are well thought out. Bream and Malcolm are individual virtuosos who work beautifully together.

The Bach trio sonatas are complex intellectually, but can also be soothing to have on in a quiet house.

Because they are played here on lute and harpsichord the dynamic range is narrow, so if it's on and you're relaxing you don't have to constantly change the volume.
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I first heard these recordings 25 or 30 years ago, and it was a treat to find them available again. They are a good example of Bream's expressive, melodic handling of contrapuntal music, and the mood is both reflective and bright. As a guitarist, I always enjoy hearing Bream (alone or in consort) play with the colors and textures of the instrument. A baroque purist might complain about this, but I can't help but think that Bach, a fan of the lute, would find much to enjoy in these performances.
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Well, I must admit my review is a little bias since I am a classical guitar enthusiast and a huge Bach fan. Bream's playing of the lute suite in Em is beautiful. This cd can serve as a nice background score while dining with your girlfriend, or as a technical performance heard with your headphones on, eyes closed, and full attention given. If you love classical music and/or the sound of a clean acoustic guitar under the arm of someone who has mastered the art of the instrument, I highly recommend this!
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