Bach: Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995; Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996; Lute Suite in C minor, BWV 997; Prelude, Fugue & Allegro, BWV 998

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Delos
WORKS: Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995; Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996; Lute Suite in C minor, BWV 997; Prelude, Fugue & Allegro, BWV 998
PERFORMER: Paul Galbraith (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: DE 3258
While there is no evidence that Bach himself played the lute, his music for the instrument – original compositions and transcriptions – suggests a very lively interest in it. Given that Bach both transcribed the music and, on occasion, suggested alternative instruments, it seems well within the bounds of tradition and propriety that Paul Galbraith should play a selection of his lute music on an eight-string guitar. Galbraith himself has made the arrangements, most incurring key transposition. His recital includes the Suite which Bach transcribed from his unaccompanied Cello Suite in C minor (BWV 1011), as well as two others, BWV 996 and BWV 997, which are probably original lute works. He also plays the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E flat (BWV 998) which Bach wrote for either lute or harpsichord. But the little C minor Prelude (BWV 999) has been omitted. Though better known as a keyboard piece, it is really for lute, delicately expressive and not without a hint of melancholy. That piece, along with Bach’s other lute music, is included in a newly released recital by Stephan Schmidt (Auvidis Astrée Naïve), who plays a ten-string guitar. My preference otherwise is for Galbraith’s disc with its gentler approach to Bach and its sympathetic acoustic. Nicholas Anderson

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