Not everyone would have agreed with late conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham, that the harpsichord "sounds like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof." It is however, hard to deny the warmth and beauty these Bach Flute Sonatas take on with the Brasil Guitar Duo replacing the harpsichord - the most common accompanying instrument during the Baroque.
Bach never had a chance to compose for the modern-day guitar because it hadn't been invented. The closest he came was with his handful of works arranged or written for the guitar's small, sweet-sounding predacessor called the lute, going out of fashion in his day. How lovely to imagine what so many of his chamber works might have otherwise sounded like with lute instead of harpsichord. This recording of Bach Flute Sonatas gives us somewhat of an idea, though the lute is no contest for the big, rich sound of the guitar.
This rendition surely would have recieved the Master's blessing, not least because of the pure and fleet-tongued playing of Marina Piccinini, the first flutist to win the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant (1991). Piccinini has performed with the world's leading orchestras and is known for playing Bach. With this 2-disc set of Bach Flute Sonatas she does not disappoint. Joining her is the equally-agile and expressive Brasil Guitar Duo, having made their Aspen Music Festival debut last summer with Piccinini playing from these very works of Bach.
For lovers of flute, guitar or Bach, this CD is pure delight. For lovers of all three, it's a must-own.
The duo (without Piccinini) gives a recital April 7 at the Lakewood Cultural Center.
~ Monika Vischer