Thile records Bach

July 8th, 2014  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

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.

(You may also want to check out Enrico Baiano’s Scarlatti recordings.)

Amazing solo violin arrangement

April 28th, 2010  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Leave a comment

Here’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine” for solo fiddle:

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.)

(Via 37signals.)


June 25th, 2009  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

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” (!)


RIYL: Music for the rest of your life.


June 12th, 2007  |  Tags: , ,  |  Leave a comment

Not only is this the best iTunes error ever, but I want to buy the CD.