John Williams : Vivaldi etc! : CD
VIVALDI: Violin Concerto OP3 No9 RV230; WEISS: Lute suite No35 in Dm –Sarabande: BACH Prelude Fugue and Allegro in Eb BWV998; Violin Partita No1 in Bm (excerpts) ; O’CAROLAN: Owen O’Rourke; Farewell to Music .
JCW Recordings : JCW 6
This is the sixth release from John Williams’s own JCW Recordings. The opening Vivaldi concerto was
apparently arranged for solo guitar a long time ago but this is the first recording of it, and it works remarkably well, and unless you had studied the original I doubt anyone would have realized that it was in fact a piece for multiple instruments! The Bach Prelude Fugue and Allegro is one of those pieces that you can spend a lifetime playing and always feel that you could get something extra from it. His very first recording of this piece goes back as far as 1964, and there are certainly elements now where he has completely changed his attitude to it, as they are quite different in feel. It is followed by Williams’ arrangements of the Sarabande and Double from the Violin Partita No. 1 in B minor, another effortless piece of playing which everyone who has played it knows that that certainly isn’t the case. The Weiss is a particularly wonderful piece of Baroque. Many will know how much I admire this marvelous composer’s writing, but in most cases I do prefer to hear it on its original Baroque Lute as a lot of his writing does utilize the lower octave in such a unique way that it is almost impossible to make a good job of moving it to a guitar without causing mayhem along the way. Just imagine for example how your favourite guitar piece would sound when played on a ukulele, or a four string banjo, where one loses all the lower areas of sound, through the fact that those instruments simply don’t go that low? That is how much of Weiss’s music suffers when put on the guitar. However I am pleased to say that that is simply not the case here, as the Sarabande is beautiful and sounds perfectly natural on the six strings. This flawless recital closes with two of Turlough O’Carolan’s most famous pieces, originally written for the harp and needing lots of harmonization to make it sound correct on the guitar. These two arrangements are beautiful and any lovers of this man’s writing will not be disappointed here.
Altogether this is a wonderful CD, with no flaws at all, but then again when has a recording by John Williams ever had any real flaws in it? Marvellous stuff!