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GRAMOPHONE ( 09/ 2019)
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JS Bach: The Lute Suites Product Image

Code-barres / Barcode : 7318599922850


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Reviewer: William Yeoman

He is one of those guitarists – others are Sharon Isbin, definitely Tilman Hoppstock, who provided the booklet notes – who successfully combine historically informed practice with modern guitar technique to produce something original. But Halász’s lavish ornamentation – his trills, turns, mordents, divisions, appoggiaturas, arpeggiation, notes inégales and all the rest – nearly amount to recomposition. Even campanella effects, changes in tone colour and that kind of almost capricious rubato that Segovia was famous for (‘it may not be of any structural importance, but let’s just stop here to savour this note for its own sake’) are ornaments of the sort you might almost equate with the burr and shavings left by a burin’s incisions in metal, were they not themselves so precisely weighted to reveal the import of a phrase or a progression. The C minor and E major Suites are arranged by Ansgar Krause, the other two by Halász. All are performed in their original keys. The preludes – especially that of the E minor Suite – are suitably improvisatory, declamatory and dramatic; the faster dances are ecstatic, the slower ones intensely meditative.

Only Hoppstock is as prodigious an embellisher. But he is less demonstrative, even circumspect. Halász is more individualistic, extrovert. This is not a criticism of either; it is merely a question of taste. The discerning listener will love both.

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