Bach: Lute Works, Vol. 1

Bach: Lute Works, Vol. 1

by Paul O'Dette


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Bach: Lute Works, Vol. 1

Guitarist turned lutenist Paul O'Dette passed the age of 50 before he recorded any Bach. He had already recorded the best of Vivaldi, much of Kapsberger, and all of Dowland, but he waited until he had sufficient experience, maturity, and wisdom to take on the "rewarding challenge" as he puts it in the liner notes, of "marrying Bach's sublime music with the exquisite timbre and expressivity of the lute." Playing a 13-course lute, O'Dette takes on three pieces by Bach -- a suite, a partita, and a sonata -- none of them originally for his instrument but all of them sounding completely idiomatic in these arrangements. The first piece, the six-movement "Pièces pour la Luth à Monsieur Schouster," is Bach's arrangement in G minor of his solo "Cello Suite in C minor, BWV 995," transposed here to A minor by O'Dette; the second piece, the six-movement "Partita in F major, BWV 1006a," is Bach's arrangement of his "E major solo Violin Partita"; and the third piece, the four-movement solo violin "Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001," is O'Dette's arrangement of the original in the original key with added bass notes and harmonies. O'Dette's take on Bach is distinctly different from every other lutenist's. Where others play Bach's music as lines of undulating counterpoint, O'Dette plays every line as a melody, a long sustained, sweetly sung, and intensely expressive melody. With his subtly nuanced tone, his graceful phrasing, and his unfailing sense of rhythm, O'Dette somehow contrives to have the lute seem to sing the melancholy Sarabande from the "A minor Suite," the vivacious Gigue from the "E major Partita," and even the rigorous Fuga from the "G minor Sonata." Recorded in smooth, cool, and lucid sound by Harmonia Mundi, O'Dette's Bach disc is deeply satisfying and will surely appeal to anyone who enjoys great lute playing and great music-making.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/14/2007
Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
UPC: 0093046743826
catalogNumber: 907438
Rank: 112067


  1. Suite for lute in G minor, BWV 995
  2. Partita for lute in E major, BWV 1006a (BC L171)
  3. Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001

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