Goldberg Magazine - Bach on the Lute Boxed Set
This 4-CD boxed set contains some of the best lute interpretations of Bach's music currently on the market. Considering that this repertoire has reached a notable popularity among the world's best lute players (who are recording it in increasing numbers), such praise is not a small compliment. As Bach had only written or arranged a few pieces for lute/Lautenwerk, North has made some excellent transcriptions of Bach's other works, namely the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001 - 1006) and the Suites for solo cello (BWV 1007 - 1012). He re-voiced original chords, created bass lines, and transposed certain pieces to fit the lute; the result is music that comes across as natural and idiomatic. The sound on all four discs is very intimate, but there is a notable difference in the resonance and tone colour between the first and last two CDs of the set. It was interesting to read that the first two recordings were played at pitch A415, while the third and fourth (recorded on the same instrument and in the same venue) at A392; the lower pitch simply made the instrument sound better. The performances themselves are truly exceptional. North strikes an effective balance between cool elegance and fervent emotion, and his
energy and momentum are constant throughout. North's technique is flawless and his sense of voicing early 18th century music is right on the mark (unlike many other recordings of this repertoire). Highly recommended!