WORKS: Prelude, Allegro and Fugue, BWV 998; Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004; Lute Suite in E, BWV 1006a (arr. Russell)
PERFORMER: David Russell (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-80584
While applauding those who attempt Bach on the right sort of instrument in the right sort of manner, we must also acknowledge that his is the most versatile of music. It can be made to fit whatever instrument it needs to fit, as Bach himself often demonstrates. The fact that David Russell’s recital is given on a modern guitar should therefore raise nobody’s ire. Actually, it’s a delight. Two works here were originally intended for the lute. The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998, and the Suite, BWV 1006a (Bach’s own transcription from the E major Violin Partita, BWV 1006), are both played with precise articulation, expressive phrasing and an amazing range of colour (listen to the Prelude of BWV 1006a).
There’s a luxuriance in the quality of Russell’s sound that I find very appealing. The same applies to his own deft transcription of the D minor Violin Partita, BWV 1004, where his precise fingerwork in the Courante and Gigue is something extraordinary, and whose famous Chaconne he builds majestically.
Purists might decry the inclusion of versions of two of Bach’s most popular pieces, the chorales ‘Wachet auf’ (‘Sleepers, Awake!’, turned by Bach into an organ piece) and ‘Jesus bleibet meine Freude’ (Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring). But this is still fine music, and again Russell plays it beguilingly. Stephen Pettitt