Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bach - French Suites (lute transcriptions) - Beier

Rating: 4/5

Good, but not flawless

I think this is a creditable achievement but it's not a disc I can wholeheartedly enjoy throughout.

Bach's French Suites were written for keyboard, so transcribing them for the lute is a significant challenge.  I think these transcriptions are well done, in that they capture much of the spirit and musical structure of the originals, which are quite magnificent works.  Paul Beier plays them well, but I do find that there is quite often a lack of the sense of ease and flow which, say, Nigel North or Paul O'Dette achieve in their Bach recordings.  There's a slightly halting feel which does impede the flow of Bach's rhythm; it's not a major problem, but I do find it's enough to intrude on my enjoyment more than I would like.

The recording quality is very good, with a fine, mellow sound to Beier's lute.  However, there is some intrusive breathing; again it's not terrible, but it's quite annoying at times.

So, a good disc but with some flaws to my ears.  Nonetheless, as a lover of the lute I think it's good to have such transcriptions available and I can still recommend this disc, with some minor reservations.

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