Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

SIX SUITES FOR VIOLONCELLO SOLO 1007-1012, transcribed for guitar
Andreas von Wangenheim, Guitar
Arte Nova Classics 74321 67522 2

CD 1.
Suite in A major (Transcription of suite No.3 in C major BWV 1009)
Suite in D major (Transcription of suite No.1 in G major BWV 1007)
Suite in B major (Transcription of suite No. 4 in E flat major BWV 1010)
CD 2.
Suite in A minor (Transcription of suite No.2 in D minor BWV 1008)
Suite in D major (Transcription of suite No.6 in D major BWV 1012)
Suite in A minor (Transcription of suite No.5 in C minor BWV 1011)


The six suites for unaccompanied cello by Johann Sebastian Bach must rank as one of the greatest body of works for any stringed instrument played solo. Here we have them transcribed and played on the guitar by Andreas von Wangeheim, and a most convincing job he makes of them.

These pieces are not entirely new to the guitar; Andrés Segovia selected various movements he considered appropriate, notably the "Gavotte" from the 6th suite and the "Courante" from the 3rd . The young John Williams recorded John Duarte's transcriptions of suites No's 1 and 2 and the suite No. 5 was reworked by Bach himself as the 3rd lute suite.

Andreas von Wangheim has a relaxed approach to phrasing which seems to suit the plucked nature of the guitar when playing this music, as opposed to perhaps the more strident bowing of the originals.

The "Prelude"of the 4th suite and the "Sarabande" of the 6th feel quite natural on the guitar, bringing out details that enhance the experience when re-visiting the original cello versions.

I found myself disregarding the extraneous string noises, as the overall performance is so musical that they are of minor consideration.

This is the first recording I have heard of all the Bach cello suites played on the guitar and along with similar transcriptions of the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin present great music for guitarists wishing to perform Bach as alternatives to the much played lute suites.

A disc well worth exploring

Andy Daly

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