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Kiyoshi Shomura : Chaconne : CD

BACH: Chaconne from Partita No2 for Violin BWV 1004; Suite in Em BWV996; Suite for Cello No6 in D Major BWV1012: SCHUBERT (Arr J.K. Mertz) Standchen ‘Leisen Flehe Meine Lieder’: LAURO: Vals Criollo: PIAF/MONNOT (Arr Roland Dyens ) L’Hymne a L’Amour.

Kiyoshi Shomura

UCJ Japan: UCCY – 1098

It is a brave player who begins a recital with the enormous Chaconne from Bach’s 2nd Violin Partita, which although it is 16+ minutes in length, is merely the last movement of that huge and groundbreaking Partita.

My first comment is that he is somewhat more relaxed at the opening than I usually hear, although as the movement progresses he moves along a little faster .The playing is of course effortless, but with a piece of such musical significance , one notices the odd difference in performance. However there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it is just the player’s own interpretation. The Suite in E minor receives its full six movements (another 16 minutes in total), with very grand Praludium, which seemed to me a little relaxed again, and the staccato way he played the main theme in the faster section made me raise my eyebrows somewhat! After a fine Allemande, and what I gathered to be a slightly careful Courante came the slow and moving Sarabande, full of ornamentation. The famous Bourree (that Jethro Tull made into a rock piece many decades ago, for example) is reasonably Ok, but again, I have heard it faster and less disjointed. The final Gigue does get the speed up correctly but it might be my imagination but it didn’t sound as ‘happy’ technically speaking as I have heard it played before.

The 22 + minutes of the 6th Suite for Cello solo was by now making me expect some musical traits that I wasn’t going to like, and suffice it to say that, although his playing was OK to a large extent, I didn’t enjoy the way he interpreted Bach quite a few times, during the 6 movements, and think that some of ther time , he didn’t get the feel right at all, with a number of moments when the playing was a little disjointed rather than effortlessly played.

When the Schubert Standchen came on, as arranged by that wonderful guitarist Johann Kaspar Mertz, I again got the feeling of the odd jerky patch, rather than the smoothness than one expects in this lovely melody. As for Antonio Lauro’s world famous Vals No3 , Vals Criollo, it was absolutely fine , because it didn’t have to be smooth, it could dance around sounding a little jerky, in places, which it did. Mind y6ou, I have still heard it better played, and in places he also added his own bits to it, that are definitely not on the original score.

The final piece is an arrangement by the wonderful late Roland Dyens, whose playing was phenomenal, and his manuscripts, just as wonderful, but oh so difficult to play in the way that he did. To be fair, he creates a nice performance of this final track but by then the damage was done, for me at least, for if you are going to devote 90% of your album to the great JS Bach, you really do have to get the feel right, and although he played it OK as far as it goes, it just didn’t sound like it should.

Chris Dumigan

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