J.S. Bach : Transcribed by Jovane E.R. Oliveira
Bergmann Edition : 16 pages
Of all the editions of this wonderful piece arranged for guitar that I already have in my vast collection, none have been attempted in the original Cello key of G Major, the ones I have being in D Major, and even C Major. This is the first I have seen that is in the original key. Oliveira places the 5th string to G and the 6th to D throughout, but how close to the original does it now become, and does it create any problems for the player by being in this key?
With any new versions of this , and Bach’s other iconic solo works , whether for Cello, or Violin , or even some of the other solo works , one has to decide what to put in that wasn’t there before, and what to leave out that was. Oliveira, in this edition makes certain choices that some will like and others won’t, but that is absolutely fine as long as it makes it as guitaristic as possible and doesn’t change the inherent character of the piece. There are some places where he alters certain bass notes, for example bar 6 where both minim bass notes are C# in the original , and in this edition the second is an A found a third below. In bar 7 the opening F# is an octave lower than the original, and yet the original works fine! Furthermore in the next bar he again changes the octave placement of the second bass note, whereas Bach doesn’t. I personally am not convinced when people alter the works of Bach when there is no real technical need to do so, although I am prepared to agree that this is a personal decision, and others might entirely disagree.
As regards actually playing the piece in all its six movements in G, it suddenly feels quite different and almost lighter in sound, as a lot of the time you are higher up the fingerboard than you were when performing it in C or D, but that is not a problem, as it does indeed work in G, the huge majority of the time.
It was a very interesting experience playing this is its original key , and as such I can see that many people will have the same reaction as myself, when trying it there, and so (odd bass notes notwithstanding) I can see that this is a worthy edition, and one that many guitarists will be intrigued to try out.