Eduardo EgŁez
The Lute Music of Johann Sebastian Bach: Volume One
MA Recordings (www.marecordings.com)

The record label famed for its excellent high sampling digital recordings, double gatefold digipaks, elegant sleeve art, separate liner notes and protective sleeves, has entered its 53rd title with a recital of works theorized for lute. The Spanish lutenist Eguez has transcribed three probable keyboard works, the "Prelude, Fugue & Allegro in E-flat major", "Suite in G minor", and the "Partita in C minor" for lute and performed them at the Convent of the Annunciation in Rovato, Brescia, Italy. Eguez is a sensitive player and renders the music with fastidious care and feeling, taking us back 250 years when time surely meant something different than it does today. The first piece is a dense, intricate earful with little obvious motive other than the recombinant joys of note assemblage while the final two have a more open, reflective tone despite being divided into numerous movements, some with dance titles.

This is a sensibly structured recital for pure listening though a challenge to digest in one uninterrupted sitting, so an intermission is a good idea somewhere along the way. As with other MA Recordings, this is an utterly live, minimally edited, real moment of music-making in a resonant atmosphere. The experience is as if producer Todd Garfinkle himself has flown you to the performance site; the deep acoustic chosen is more than sufficiently captured. Most records bring you performer and music, and Garfinkle continues to do both, selecting exceptional talent and unusual repertoire. But he also delivers architecture, a sonic impression of a space, which is another facet of listening altogether. Here, the lute, the quiet proto-guitar drowned out by the noise of history is given a grand stage that it easily fills while painting a stark solitude that suits well the genius image of JS Bach. - Steve Taylor

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