Mandolinist Chris Thile recorded some of the Bach solo violin sonatas and partitas last summer, and the result is just great; I’ve been listening to the album for the last month. Read a review at the New Yorker or the Nonesuch press release.
Two things always strike me about these kinds of arrangements: just how conventional the harmonies and voice-leading are in the best rock songs, and how much polyphony one can squeeze out of a single melodic line with occasional double-stops. Neither of these is a particularly new insight: after all, Duke Ellington’s songs have a great deal in common with Schubert lieder, and Bach wrote plenty of “polyphonic” music for solo violin. (I have even able to name-drop some of the latter while discussing concurrent programming.)
One of the finest achievements of western art is Bach’s d minor Partita for solo violin (BWV 1004); in particular, the Chaconne is technically dazzling, emotionally loaded, and sublime. (For a fun middlebrow musicological excursus on the piece and its relation to German chorales, check out the Hilliard Ensemble’s amazing Morimur album — but be sure to get it on a physical disc; the liner notes explain the project and are spectacular.)
Below are a few beats of Antonio Sinopoli’s guitar transcription of the Chaconne. Unlike Segovia’s famous and idiosyncratic arrangement, Sinopoli eschews scordatura and transposes to e minor; he is otherwise far more faithful to the original. The score I have was published by Ricordi Buenos Aires; it identifies the piece as “Chacona” and the author as “Juan S. Bach” (!)