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Bach: Lute Suites (Guitar Arrangement)/ Galbraith

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 29, 2000
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$14.94 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Bach: Lute Suites (Guitar Arrangement)/ Galbraith + Bach: The Six Sonatas and Partitas + Paul Galbraith Performs Mozart, Bach & Britten
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

With his customized eight-string, Paul Galbraith has made some of the most inventive classical guitar discs to date. His take on Bach's lute suites is certainly no different. Here, Galbraith deftly arranges and performs four suites (BWV 995-998) in his impeccably precise yet smooth style. Recording quality is superb and sensitive microphones seem to capture Galbraith's every note (and breath). Unfortunately, some Bach lovers may miss the deep and dark sound of the lute, as well as the intricacies of these pieces' phrasings. While Galbraith's technique is certainly flawless, he has difficulty capturing the varying moods these works evoke. Still, this is a gorgeous disc for lovers of classical guitar and a great introduction to these seldom-heard lute suites. And, if this strikes your fancy, check out Galbraith's disc of Bach's solo violin sonatas and partitas. --Jason Verlinde

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Product Details

  • Performer: Paul Galbraith
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (February 29, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delos
  • ASIN: B00004RDW2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,974 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on March 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Not too long ago I reviewed a Delos release of Bach's "Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin" and an offering of some Haydn keyboard sonatas, both transcribed for and played on the 8 string guitar by Paul Galbraith. For the non-purist--and Bach himself was quite generous with what instruments were used for some of his loveliest melodies--those offerings were a wonderful listening experience. Now Delos and Galbraith have done the same for Bach's <Lute Suites, BWV 995-998> (DE 3258).
The nature of things requires the transpositions of 995 from G minor to A minor, 997 from C minor to B minor, and 998 from E-flat to D. Mentioned in the excellent albeit brief notes by the player are Bach's special fondness for the sound of the lute and (this is conjectural) his associating the instrument with things biblical. But I do not think the composer would complain about Galbraith's masterly treatment of these pieces. Definitely a Grabbit for lovers of Bach and of the guitar.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. G. Lee on July 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It has been close to a century since the Bach lute suites were first transcribed for the classical guitar by Agustin Barrios, and along the way there have been countless recordings of these works over the years, but if I have to chose just one, it will have to be this recording.

Galbraith plays on a 8-string guitar, compared with the usual 6-string guitar, and his technique relies on him holding guitar in a cello-like manner, but what results! His control of the music is breathtaking, with the different contrapuntal lines clearly differentiated both in volume and articulation.It's so good that at times it seems as if there are separate guitarists playing each counterpoint. His tone is clear and bright, complementing the textures of the music itself rather than supplanting it.

His interpretations are mostly understated, letting the music of Bach speak for itself rather than imposing his own will on it. You get the feeling that it's Bach himself speaking rather than the guitarist, The range of emotions run the gamut from spiritual introspection in the Prelude of the Em suite to the joyful exuberance of the Allegro of the Eb major suite.

His extra 2 strings allow him to give more solidity and resonance to the music, and his playing is absolutely clean and flawless. My only nitpick is that his breathing can sometimes be heard in a few of the tracks, but it's something I can easily forgive.

I'm an amateur classical guitarist, but I definitely feel that this recording deserves a wider audience. I have been listening to this almost all the time since I got it, and it seems even more enjoyable and incredible with each listening.

Whether you're a guitarist or just a Bach fan, do yourself a favor and get yourself this recording.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Person on May 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I agree with most of the reviews for this item, but have to say its shocking how many believe that Galbraith's playing is 'unemotional'. You must surely find every piano recording of Bach unemotional as well?! Guitarists too often hold the notion that unless each bar is dripping with cliched, overly-romantic rubato, the playing is 'cold'. How many riduculous examples are there of the ridiculous idea that John Williams is 'cold'? If anyone bothered actually listening instead of 'critiquing' (sic) they would realise that what Galbraith and Williams aim for is an emotional response, derivide from a concept of the work as a whole! We associate ourselves too much with the violin. Realise that Bach on the guitar has nothing to do with Bach on the violin. The main problem violinists face is in realising contrapuntal music, and the thing which comes most naturally to them is the turning and 'milking' of each phrase. Guitar is FAR more akin to piano in its rendering of Bach. Contrapuntal lines should be no problem for guitarists, yet so many recordings of Bach by guitarists neglect the inner voices, the bass, etc, as if they are somehow less important than the soprano line! If more guitarists would treat the lute suites and the violin partitas/sonatas with a contrapuntal concept as clear and well-thought as Galbraith, then the truth would be apparent to all: that the violin music of Bach is much better on guitar! (or at least closer to a contrapuntal ideal.) Segovia showed us the wonderfull violin-like palette of colours on the guitar, why can't people be grateful for somone like Galbraith, who shows us the Guitar as more the relation of a keyboard instrument?

For god's sake, listen to Gould, people! Beauty is inherent in the music - subtlety is often the key to a truly wonderful realisation.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Levitt - classical music buff on April 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
First of all, Galbraith does not play all four Bach Lute Suites in this recording: He plays three plus the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro. The missing suite, BWV 1006a, is on his recording of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas.

That said, Galbraith's recording of the Bach Lute Suites recording is a definite improvement over his recording of the Bach Suites and Partitas which I thought metronomic, technically proficient but emotionally distant with no sense of Bach. His phrasing in the Bach Lute Suites ebbs and flows; it "breathes." He seems more comfortable, more familiar with this music than the transcribed Partitas and Sonatas - and it shows. This is a version worth hearing, good, but not as fine as those of John Williams or Sharon Isbin (the latter both on a six string guitar). I haven't heard Stephen Schmidt who plays the Suites on a 10 string guitar, supposedly very well. There also is a very fine recording of two of the Suites by Julian Bream, along with tasteful and delightful transcriptions of two of the Bach Trio Sonatas for organ, performed by Bream on lute and George Malcom on harpsichord. It is still available on Amazon but otherwise unfortunately out of print. There also is a recording, on Naxos, of the Bach Fourth Lute Suite (BWV 1006a) by Ana Vidovic which is technically dazzling if not musically as fine as the Bream, John Williams or Sharon Isbin recordings. Vidovic made that recording years ago; she has grown considerably, and I'd love to hear her Bach now.
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Bach: Lute Suites (Guitar Arrangement)/ Galbraith
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