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Bach: Sonatas & Partitas - Arranged For Guitar / Galbraith


Release Date: 08/04/1998 
Label:  Delos   Catalog #: 3232   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a recording with several differences. Galbraith, who might be termed 'the thinking man's guitarist', uses an eight-string guitar which "communicates with a floor-standing resonance box via a Tortelier spike—. The increased pitch-range is not in itself new; multi-stringed guitars with comparable ranges have been around for more than a century, but the mode of amplification is novel, natural (non-electronic) and, in concert halls, effective. He also holds his instrument in an unconventional but anatomically superior position, akin to that of a cellist. So much for the hardware. The Sonatas and Partitas are played in their original order, not divided into groups, and herein lies another novelty: Galbraith advances the plausible Read more (but alas unprovable) proposition, that in their written order they form a triptych "telling of the Birth, Passion and Resurrection of Christ". Strange, that the Passion should be portrayed in a c/a camera work, with the Chaconne (here lasting an awed 20 minutes!) at its "pivotal moment", but read his lucidly expressed arguments and make up your own mind about it all. No less contentious is his assertion that BWV1006a is "an original lute version" of the Third Partita.

Galbraith has transposed four of the works — three more than usual, dismantling what Christoff Wolf perceived in his notes on Sigiswald Kuijken's recording (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 4/89) to be Bach's planned tonal sequence within the six works. He has quite properly made modifications to the original score, with some of which you may not feel entirely comfortable — the same applies to his articulation in a few passages — why, for instance, are the second-beat chords in the Chaconne not arpeggiated? But these are drops in the ocean of the total achievement. Galbraith's embellishments, notated and added, are impeccable. It is a pity that so many repeats are sacrificed (though not in the Sarabandes), maybe enforced by some unusually slow tempos. Nevertheless these are magnificently played, thoughtful and majestic performances. They represent a superbly engineered landmark in the history of guitar recordings. Beware: some of the track times given in the insertbooklet for BWV1006a defy belief! Strongly recommended, and not only to lovers of the guitar.

-- Gramophone [12/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Violin solo no 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997-98 
Venue:  1st Congregational Church, Los Angeles 
Length: 15 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Paul Galbraith 
2.
Partita for Violin solo no 1 in B minor, BWV 1002 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997-98 
Venue:  1st Congregational Church, Los Angeles 
Length: 21 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Paul Galbraith 
3.
Sonata for Violin solo no 2 in A minor, BWV 1003 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997-98 
Venue:  1st Congregational Church, Los Angeles 
Length: 18 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Paul Galbraith 
4.
Sonata for Violin solo no 3 in C major, BWV 1005 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997-98 
Venue:  1st Congregational Church, Los Angeles 
Length: 19 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Paul Galbraith 
5.
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997-98 
Venue:  1st Congregational Church, Los Angeles 
Length: 30 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Paul Galbraith 
6.
Partita for Violin solo no 3 in E major, BWV 1006 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Paul Galbraith (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997-98 
Venue:  1st Congregational Church, Los Angeles 
Length: 12 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Paul Galbraith 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Technically great/musically boring October 5, 2014 By Jeff B. See All My Reviews "I am sorry to disagree with the other reviewers but, the playing, while virtuosic, is totally lacking in expression. The Bach recordings of Barrueco, David Russell, and Franco Platino are so much better (although none have to my knowledge recorded all of the sonatas and partitas). Also a great player of Bach on the guitar is Andreas Von Wangenhelm who has recorded the entire set of cello suites. Astounding recording! None of these players overly romanticize the music; but just because you are playing Bach does not mean you have to leave all expression out of the music!" Report Abuse
 Magnificent and revelatory February 11, 2014 By Stephen Marmer (Los Angeles, CA) See All My Reviews "Of course, the Chaconne is one of the masterpieces of all time and I have listened to more than two dozen versions on the violin, half a dozen for piano, three for orchestra, and half a dozen for guitar, including the old Julian Bream version originally on Westminister. So I thought I had just about heard it all. Then I got this set and realized that Galbraith has a concept and a way of approaching the sonatas and partitas, including the chaconne, in a new and revealing way. Galbraith uses an eight string guitar that he plays in cello position and the sonority accentuates the serious and somber nature of the set. He sees it as a musical narration of the Passion, and while my theology may differ somewhat from his, the interpretation he takes with that narration in mind is completely convincing. This is rare beautiful playing. I give this set the highest recommendation." Report Abuse
 Marvelous interpretations December 31, 2013 By C. Montgomery (Medford, NJ) See All My Reviews "Galbraith has arranged for guitar and plays beautifully some of the most wonderful music Bach wrote." Report Abuse
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