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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    





Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Lubomir Brabec Plays Bach

Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in D major BWV 998
Suite in E minor BWV 996
Prelude in D minor BWV 999
Fugue in A minor BWV 1000
Chaconne in D major BWN 1004
Lubomir Brabec, Guitar.
Rec: June, September 1997, Kozel Castle, Czech Republic.
SUPRAPHON SU 3501-2 131 [48.43]


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While Brabec may be a very capable guitarist, he does not show understand towards the music of Bach. The opening work, the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, which is one of Bach’s finest works for plucked instruments, features a very subtle rhythmic structure; an excellent musician plays the prelude with the slight rhythmic idiosyncrasy that Bach composed, which is difficult, yet which shows the depth of this deceivingly simple piece. Lubomir Brabec plays this prelude with a wooden rhythm, not seeking to develop the subtle way the notes are played off the beat. His dynamics are, at times, misconceived with bass notes ringing out far too loud, too long or too short, and treble notes not sounding rich enough.

He attacks the prelude BWV 999 - another apparently simple piece - at breakneck speed, turning its arpeggios into brief series of notes with little roundness, little colour. In the following fugue, Brabec has difficulty maintaining the speed he begins with, and ends up slowing down at the difficult sections. Little or no feeling is conveyed. The same can be said of his interpretation of the Chaconne, arguable the most difficult of Bach’s works for guitar or lute. There is no overall approach here, simply a guitarist playing the notes from beginning to end.

This disc is best avoided. While Lubomir Brabec may be a good guitarist with certain music, his approach to Bach’s music is far too restricted to its surface to be of interest.

Kirk McElhearn


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