Bach’s music is no stranger to transcription; the composer himself visited upon some of these concertos diverse transformations, from cantata sinfonias to chamber concertos, in most cases adding or subtracting parts and instruments. The Amsterdam Guitar Trio, having around 18 strings at their disposal, may fairly and completely play the notes pretty much as Bach wrote them, but bring a new and diverting palette of instrumental colour.
That palette, at once vigorous and yet pastel-shaded, is even more germane to the musical ‘Impressionism’ of French composers at the turn of the 20th century. Debussy is claimed to be the father of the genre, but he hated the term and all its soft-focus implications of Monet made music (and music making money). Accordingly the AGT’s transcriptions are notable for their rhythmic vivacity.
We don’t hear much from the Amsterdam Guitar Trio these days – they gave their last concert in 2003 – so this reissue of two long-deleted albums is all the more welcome. Concert-goers in London and Amsterdam in particular will recall a dynamic ensemble, full of style and good humour that spills over into these recordings.
“The Amsterdam Guitar Trio have had the same personnel since their formation in 1978, and their members were fellow-students. They possess both technique and musicality in abundance and their ensemble has a
unanimity of which any chamber ensemble, of whatever composition, might be proud.”
“Virtuoso playing, extremely well recorded”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.