Bream: "A Bach Recital for Guitar" (Chaconne BWV 1004, etc.) - HMV CLP 1929
Jacket GOOD / LP EX / UK pressing
This handsome LP from His Master’s Voice, a license from Westminster (CLP 1929, English EMI pressing, black label, mono) entitled “A Bach Recital for the Guitar” features the great Julian Bream in an extraordinary and path-finding program, recorded in 1956. This is exalted playing by any measure and devotees of Bream, the guitar, or Bach will not be disappointed.
Included are the following works of Bach:
Chaconne, from the Partita No. 2 in D minor for Solo Violin BWV 1004
Prelude for Lute in C minor BWV 999
Sarabande, 4th Movement from the Suite for Lute in E minor BWV 996
Bourée, 5th Movement from the Suite for Lute in E minor BWV 996
Prelude and Fugue (1st and 2nd Movements) from the Partita for Lute in C minor BWV 997
Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro for Lute in E-flat Major BWV 998
Wrote the critic M.M. in his July 1960 review for The Gramophone: “Julian Bream uses a wide range of tonecolour, a superlative technique, and a good sense of eighteenth-century style to present an all-Bach programme—a welcome departure from the thirty-seven short pieces chosen from five centuries that so often seem to make up the guitar's LP. Musically, it is of course the Chaconne that is outstanding. It has been argued (not, happily, by the author of the excellent sleeve-note) that the music was written with the lute in mind in the first place. The argument remains entirely unconvincing, though the many beauties of sound of the present performances might at first sight seem to support it. Yet they stem in great part from a most skilful arrangement, offering in re-figuration and added harmonic support a hundred felicities to set against one incomprehensible plain wrong note. The whole benefits greatly in depth and richness of sound, too, both from downward transposition of an octave and from the tuning down to D of the guitar's low E string. Indeed, considering only the music as such, this is a splendid exposition of the Chaconne, suffering only perhaps from some degree of over-deliberation in the performance; there are times when the piece is made to seem long-winded.
“This accusation could not be levelled against the supporting programme, for the movements are all taken from those bits and pieces which Bach either did write for the lute, or possibly wrote for the lute, or could have written for the lute. They vary somewhat substantially in quality, but not in the benefits they derive from extremely stylish performance; and all the music alike on this most welcome disc enjoys an outstandingly good quality of recording. May it prove to be only the first of a series.”
And Wrote the critic Ewan McCormick for MusicWeb-International.com: “Bream is…adept in the larger scale pieces at delineating the structure over a longer timespan; here his virtues of clear rhythmic articulation, dynamic contrast and an ability to clarify the music’s contrasting strands are used to great effect. These virtues are equally in evidence in the solo Bach items on the second disc. Some items are played on the guitar, some are transposed; here there is a palpable sense of discovery and exploration, and the music gives Bream free rein to demonstrate his already formidable virtuosity.”
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is GOOD. There is bumping/wear at corners, wear along the open edge of the jacket, creasing, a minor bend to the lower-right corner, scuffing and a small price sticker to the rear panel, as well as some discoloration to the same. However, despite this small laundry list of cosmetic blemishes, the album remains quite solid (no seamsplits) and presentation worthy – overall, still a decent copy.
The condition of the LP itself is similarly EXCELLENT. Although the surfaces are not always CD silent, in general the playback is superb. If you must have a flawless copy, you are advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this is an excellent collector's copy.