An Audiophile Bach-On-Guitar Delight

Review by: Jens F. Laurson


Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

There is no dearth of discs of arrangements of Bach for guitar (Barrios, Segovia, and Tárrega most famously)–nor recordings thereof. Even the Sonatas and Partitas have been covered–by Eliot Fisk, Francesco Teopini, Mats Bergström, and others. But it is rare that a Bach guitar recital of such immediately arresting quality comes along, as this one from Bin Hu on the slightly obscure, Spanish Eudora label.

Bin Hu opens with the Bach-on-guitar evergreen, the Prelude from the Sixth Partita for Solo Violin BWV 1006, before taking on the first and third sonata en gros, making them glow in a bronze light. Thereupon Bin Hu delves, most impressively, into the Chaconne (from BWV 1004, here transposed to C minor) before leaving solo-violin territory and ending with David Russell’s transcription of the Sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata BWV 156, Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe. In the Prelude, Bin Hu offhandedly throws high notes into the mix that sound downright alien. (If he were playing violin I’d say they are produced by a left-hand pizzicato.)

Is the absorbing nature of the recital the result of the spacious, crystal clear sound? (Really a must for good guitar recitals.) Or is it due to Bin Hu’s pitch-perfect, airy, ductile playing, his innovative transcriptions (taking Bach’s own transcriptions of these works into account as alternate sources), or his historically inspired scordatura tunings? Presumably it’s a mix of all these qualities. In any case, it’s an audiophile delight.

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Recording Details:

Album Title: Ciaccona
  • BACH, J.S.:
    Prelude (BWV 1006); Sonatas (BWV 1001 & 1003); Chaconne (BWV 1004); Sinfonia (BWV 156)
  • Bin Hu (guitar)

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