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Bach: Guitar Transcriptions / Graham Anthony Devine

Bach,J.s. / Devine
Release Date: 02/28/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572740  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It’s likely that most serious and accomplished musicians would not aspire to have their performances described for a prospective listener as undemanding, or ideal for creating a mood of quiet relaxation, but in fact that’s just what defines this wonderful exhibition of Bach transcriptions by guitarist Graham Anthony Devine. The transcriptions, which are the guitarist’s own, show exactly the kind of sensitivity to the original works as well as a guitar master’s understanding of the instrument’s capabilities and unique voicing opportunities that gives freshness and vibrancy to works we’ve heard before but haven’t given thought to beyond their organ, cello, violin, or keyboard incarnations. Devine doesn’t just give us yet another venture Read more through the cello suites or violin sonatas and partitas; he does give us a couple of those, but also leads us happily through organ and keyboard pieces that are perfectly chosen and adaptable to this medium.

There’s no question as to Devine’s command of technique and material; the fluidity of his fingering, all the while maintaining clarity of contrapuntal lines and passagework, free of the squeaks and scrapes we often hear on guitar recordings, is a joy to hear, as is the full-bodied tone of his instrument, very well captured in the acoustics of a West Sussex church. There are no interpretive insights here—that’s really not the point; rather we just get the soothing, warm-blooded intimacy of a well-played guitar in consistently refined, relaxing performances.

While the performances of the Cello Suite No. 4 and Violin Partita No. 2 are very impressively done, you won’t mind at all hearing Devine’s rendition of the über-popular chorale from cantata BWV 147 (“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”) or the lovely aria “Bist du bei mir”. Again, this is the sort of recording that both guitar aficionados and those who rarely consider such things will thoroughly enjoy, a disc that offers nothing radical or even original—just pure beauty of sound and melody, expertly articulated and vividly, caringly interpreted, joining some of Bach’s most compelling music with an instrument ideally suited for its expression. We don’t recommend a lot of guitar discs here, but this one rates a solid one, both for its musical values and, yes, for its promise of undemanding yet repeatedly rewarding listening.

-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Orgelbüchlein: Ich ruf'zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
2. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; ?Weimar, Germany 
3. Suite for Cello solo no 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
4. Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
5. Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147: Jesu bleibet meine Freude "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Leipzig, Germany 
6. Anna Magdalena Notenbuch: Aria, BWV508: Bist du bei mir (? by Stölzel) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Graham Anthony Devine (Guitar)
Written: 1725 

Sound Samples

18 Chorales, BWV 651-668, "Leipziger Chorale": Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar)
Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): I. Prelude
Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): II. Allemande
Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): III. Courante
Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): IV. Sarabande
Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): V. Bourrees I-II
Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): VI. Gigue
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar)
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147: Jesus bleibet meine Freude (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar)
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): I. Allemanda
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): II. Corrente
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): III. Sarabanda
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): IV. Giga
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar): V. Ciaccona
Anna Magdalena Notenbuch (Clavier-Buchlein III): Bist du bei mir, BWV 508 (attrib. G.H. Stolzel) (arr. G.A. Devine for guitar)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 good choice November 11, 2013 By mike b. (burnaby, British Columbia) See All My Reviews "Whether you're a fan of Bach or classical guitar you should enjoy this cd. The choice of pieces is great,especially the chorals and Graham is a wonderful player. Recording quality is right up there too." Report Abuse
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