Bach meets Monk

Fire and fugue, swing and sonata – when jazz and classical meet

Author: 
William Yeoman

Bach meets Monk

  • Waltzes, No. 4 (1923)
  • Sonata for Guitar
  • (3) Sonatas and 3 Partitas, Sonata No. 3 in C, BWV1005, Adagio
  • (3) Sonatas and 3 Partitas, Sonata No. 3 in C, BWV1005, Fuga
  • Round Midnight
  • Afruitarra
  • Sonata, Lento
  • Barcarole
  • Libra Sonatine, Fuoco

This gorgeous, moody recital, captured live with – so the otherwise less than informative booklet-notes tell us – no cutting and little post-production, is a diverse one. Nevertheless, guitarist Augustin Wiedemann adopts a consistently lyrical posture throughout. The results are something special.

The opening Barrios is all insouciance, yet Wiedemann’s considerable musicianship is also capable of lending dignity to Giuliani’s far shallower Sonata in C. Dignity is hardly wanting in Bach’s Adagio and Fugue, from the Solo Violin Sonata, BWV1005: here Wiedemann renders the successive waves of tension and release with a touching warmth and a fearless use of variation in tempo and tone-colour. Fans of Barenboim’s Bach will relish this approach. And how effective to follow this with Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight (in Roland Dyens’s arrangement)! Wiedemann may not quite swing like Monk but the sensitive phrasing is utterly lovely.

Dyens’s “Fuoco” from Libra Sonatine and Buck Wolters’s Afruitarra really put both Wiedemann and the 1933 Hauser I – the mellow treble and rich bass of which have been captured to perfection on this recording – through their paces, resulting in some of the most exhilarating playing on the disc. The final work, the Lento from Dusan Bogdanovich’s Jazz Sonata, allows both Wiedemann’s and the instrument’s exquisite tone to shine through.

Munich-based Wildner Records is affiliated with the Hermann Hauser Guitar Foundation, whose aim is to “support and promote science and culture” within the fields of guitar and lute playing. If their issuing of this recital is anything to go by, they’re doing a wonderful job.

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