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J.S. BACH (1685-1750)
Guitar Transcriptions: Enno Voorhorst

Partita in A Minor BWV 1013 [17:31]
1. Allemande [4:20]
2. Corrente [4:09]
3. Sarabande [6:05]
4. Bourée anglaise [2:52]
5. Prelude in E Major, BWV 854 [2:02]
6. Prelude in C(A) major, BWV 939 [2:18]
7. Adagiosissimo, BWV 992 [3:14]
Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 974 [11:43]
8. Allegro [3:07]
9. Adagio [4:13]
10. Presto [4:21]
Sonata in G(A) minor, BWV 1001 [16:49]
11. Adagio [3:19]
12. Fugue [5:05]
13. Siciliana [3:49]
14. Presto [4:31]
Enno Voorhorst (guitar)
Rec. Hervormde Kerk, Renswoude, Netherlands, 26-27 June 1996. DDD
NAXOS 8.555369 [53.36]


Unlike the majority of releases in a most welcome series for the classical guitar, this particular one comprises all transcriptions and from one composer.

Over the past century an ever increasing number of high quality original works for the guitar have appeared. However the instrument still relies fairly heavily on transcriptions for its substantive repertoire. The names of Albeniz and Granados are well represented but it is the genius of J.S. Bach which is also deeply rooted in the classical guitar repertoire.

While the Sonata in G Minor BWV 1001, (transposed A Minor) has been recorded many times by guitarists, it is refreshing to see other works appearing for the first time. Not all transcriptions work well but the adaptation by Voorhorst of the Harpsichord Concerto BWV 974 is a notable exception.

The Voorhorst’s musicianship is evident from the first track and it is not surprising to learn that he is an enthusiastic chamber musician, a violinist and also a viola player.

As a guitarist he is very capable and ranks with the best I have heard on record. The "acid test" of course is live performance where the ear is subjected to the unembellished truth. All pieces on this disc are executed with conviction and strong rhythmic drive. Mr Voorhorst’s tone is excellent and his phrasing laudable. Of particular note is the attention to ornamentation with beautiful cross-string trills (executed between two strings rather than on one), redolent of the Japanese master Kazuhito Yamashita (RCA-RL 70847)

Thank you Naxos for listing the instrument used on the recording, in this case a 1963 Jose Ramirez. It reminded this writer of a particularly fine Ramirez (1963) used by Andrès Segovia and now in the Ramirez family private collection. By any standard this is an outstanding instrument, the full resources of which are capably explored by Voorhorst.

Although recorded in a different venue, utilizing different technical and support staff to most other discs in this series, the sonic properties retain the high standards which have become a hallmark of the Naxos Guitar Collection.

This is a recording the enjoyment of which will increase with repeated listening

I mention the next point last because it is the least important and significant although reference to it in a critical context occurs with monotonous regularity in reviews of guitar recordings.

On certain tracks the astute listener will be aware of string noises or squeaks. These are generated by the rapid movement of fingers on the three lower strings which are metal wound on nylon filament. Some brands of strings have a greater propensity for generating these sounds, as do some particular instruments. The professional player will consciously work toward minimising this sound, which for the uninitiated, and those less familiar with the instrument, can be distracting. Modern recording techniques are also used in minimisation but in live performances it will always be present.

Some reviewers claim it to be absent on certain CDs, e.g. Naxos 8.557294 ‘Anabel Montesinos - Guitar Recital’, but on careful listening string squeak will always, to some degree, be heard. As often inferred, it is not an index of excellence in technique. To offer it as such and in a critical context is inappropriate because in similar vein to the mechanical sounds generated by some wind instrument mechanisms, it is characteristic of the instrument. Even the great master Andrès Segovia could not avoid it - watch the Christopher Nupen film " The Song of the Guitar", Teldec 9031-70773-3. The magnificent Ana Vidovic also joins the throng of "squeakers"- listen to her 7 January 2004 recital at the JFK Centre of Performing Arts linked to her website.

Zane Turner

see also review by Arthur Baker


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