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  • chrisdumigan

Manuel Barrueco  : Bach and De Visee  : CD

DE VISEE: Ouverture de la Grotte de Versailles (De Lully); Suite No 11 in Bm: BACH: Praeludium , Fuge and Allegro in Eb BWV998; Violin Partita No2 in Dn BWV1004.

Manuel Barrueco

EMI Classical :  B00000DNN3

Manuel Barrueco is one of our greatest ever and most well – known classical guitarists and so any of his albums are going to be worth listening to at the very least!

This two composer compilation includes some very well-known Bach and some slightly less well – known pieces by Robert de Visee.The collection begins with a piece that was new to me, the Ouverture de la Grotte de Versailles (De Lully) , a very wordy title for this De Visee piece. It is relatively short, but like other Baroque Overtures it starts with the slow theme, and them becomes fugal shortly after with a faster theme. A good opener. The 11th Suite in Bm is next, and is in 5 main movements, Prelude, Allemande, Sarabande, Gigue and Passacaille, and does not have the usual Courante that most Baroque Suites possess. As with all such Baroque Suites the individual movements are very different from each other with an introductory Prelude, followed by a quite fast Allemande, with complex rhythms in certain places. Then there is the Sarabande, which is at a slow pace but full of very small notes in rhythmically complex groups. The gigue is not here the closing movements as it so often is but its serious nature is not quite the same as most gigues that are often there to provide a relatively vivacious finale to the suite. Here the job goes to the Passacaille which in complete contrast is dramatic, slow- moving and serious in nature, and based on a small bass – lined theme, over which De Visee provides us with multiple variations.

The Bach half of the CD is probably better known by most guitarists starting as it does with the marvellously played Prelude Fugue and Allegro, all three movements full of constantly involving themes and multiple voices all with their own musical lines. With any Bach on the guitar it is never even remotely easy to play, and yet our guitarist makes it sound so! Moreover the interpretation is phenomenal and one of the best I have heard, and moreover he takes the final Allegro at a significant pace that few have in the past.

The recording closes with the thirty + minutes of Bach’s Violin Partita No2 in Dm which of course is the one with very famous Chaconne as its closing movement, a piece that I think most players have at least had a go at some time in their career!

The Partita does follow the usual Bach pattern in the first four movements, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue, before the immense Chaconne that takes up almost 14 minutes of playing time. After the complex opening Allemande, the very fast paced Courante again shows Barrueco’s manual dexterity and seemingly effortless musical interpretation. As usual, the Sarabande is serious, and very slow, with plenty of grandeur as it progresses, while the Gigue by contrast is swift in its passagework and dances along very nicely. The final Chaconne is, in my estimation, (and I suspect in many other guitarists’ estimations too!) in another compositional world entirely, and is the very best of Bach’s instrumental writings. Barrueco plays the many different sections beautifully, and really manages to keep it sounding like one large piece rather than one of several different bits, that can happen when players fail sometimes to get it just right.

So in summary, this is a lovely CD full of wonderful pieces, some of which you may not know, but all of them interpreted in the very best of ways, and so this is definitely one to search out for!


Chris Dumigan




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