Notes and Editorial Reviews
In 1996, German lutenist Andreas Martin accompanied Andreas Scholl in the well-received “English Folksongs and Lute Songs,” also on Harmonia Mundi. This was an auspicious introduction to the English-speaking world, but I have lost track of Martin since, and believe that whatever recordings he may have made have not been available in this country. Perhaps I have missed something. Martin’s beautifully recorded Bach disc will serve as a re-introduction. He plays with a full-bodied tone, but also with admirable delicacy and sprightliness, as one can hear both in his meditative, but rhythmically coherent, playing of the Prelude to the Suite in G Minor, and in the fugue that follows. Martin’s tempos are modest: he doesn’t seem particularly
interested in demonstrating his virtuosity. Rather, he distinguishes himself with his subtle dynamics and with his evident lyricism. It’s hard to remember that much of this music was believed even in my lifetime to be dry, and pedantic. Martin brings out the dance-like qualities of this Bach lute music, and its songfulness. There are many other performances of these works, including those by Bream; and on guitar, the admirable recordings by John Williams and by Sharon Isbin. I particularly like the lute recording of the Suite in G Minor by Walter Gerwig that was issued on Musicaphon, a label that sounds like a hiccup. I still would go for Bream first, but this Harmonia Mundi recording has a warmer and more immediate sound.
Michael Ullman, FANFARE
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