Old Bridge Music

Breaking Bach

Breaking Bach

£8.99£12.50

Breaking Bach, Chris’s solo album of his arrangements for steel-strung flatpicked guitar of sonatas and partitas written by JS Bach for solo instruments is quite ground-breaking – a recording of this music on steel-strung flatpicked guitar has not previously been attempted.

* * * * THE SCOTSMAN
* * * * * FOLK WALES
* * * * RnR MAGAZINE
* * * * SPIRAL EARTH
* * * * 5PLANÈTES

Album of the Week, RTÉ Lyric FM

Scroll down for Reviews and Tracklist.

SKU: OBMCD23 Categories: ,

Description

Breaking Bach, Chris’s solo album of his arrangements for steel-strung flatpicked guitar of sonatas and partitas written by JS Bach for solo instruments is quite ground-breaking – a recording of this music on steel-strung flatpicked guitar has not previously been attempted.

It was the perfect lockdown undertaking. These sublime pieces could be played entirely solo and there was no shortage of time to explore them in detail. They were written for solo instruments, each note implying both melody and harmony. Chris has developed complex cross-picking techniques to delineate their harmonic shape, making audible what was always implied.

He says: “The first, and most important, thing for me to point out is that this is not a classical guitar recording. The pieces contained herein were all composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) for solo flute, cello or violin and would ordinarily be considered to be ‘classical’ music. However, I am most certainly not a classical guitarist and have never been trained as such. My background consists of quite a wide variety of things: swing jazz, folk, bluegrass and traditional music from Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere all played with a flatpick (plectrum) on a steel-strung acoustic guitar. Many recordings of this music exist played by really excellent classical (nylon-strung) guitarists who, of course, would never dream of going anywhere near a plectrum, or steel strings. It’s been a fun project and I hope people like it.”

It is generally asserted that steel strings were first used on guitars in the late 19th century, but Máire has come across evidence showing that guitars were being strung with steel as far back as the 18th century. On 13 June, 1768, John Bardin, bookseller in Castle Street, Cork City, Ireland, advertised his wares as follows in the Cork Evening Post: “genuine Roman fiddle strings, harpsichord wire, brass, steel and silver strings for the guitar, directions for all sorts of instruments, simple songs”- quoted in Susan O’Regan, Music and Society in Cork, 1700 – 1900 (Cork University Press, 2018), p. 15.

It is therefore possible that Chris, in making this recording of the music of J S Bach, is merely reviving a lost tradition of classical music performance on steel-strung guitar!

Click to read Chris’ biography.

Tracklist

Excerpts from Violin Partita No 3 in E major, BWV 1006
1.  Preludio
2.  Gavotte en rondeau
3.  Bourrée
4.  Gigue

Excerpt from Violin Sonata No 3 in C major, BWV 1005
5.  Allegro

Excerpts from Cello Suite No 1 in G major, BWV 1007 (transposed to D major)
6.  Prelude
7.  Courante
8.  Gigue

Flute Partita in A minor, BWV 1013
9.  Allemande
10.  Corrente
11.  Sarabande
12.  Bourrée anglaise

Excerpts from Violin Partita No 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
13.  Allemanda
14.  Corrente
15.  Gigue

Excerpt from Violin Sonata No 2 in A minor, BWV 1003
16.   Allegro

Review Extracts

“This audacious and eminently enjoyable hijacking sees Chris Newman… lend a distinctively ringing but also regardful character to this hallowed canon… establising a brightness and brio that pervades these interpretations.”

* * * * THE SCOTSMAN 7 August, 2021 (print edition); 30 July, 2021 (online edition)

 

“Dazzling… utterly breathtaking… a triumph.”

* * * * * FOLK WALES

 

“Life-affirming… (Newman’s) achievement is colossal… Elegant, stylish and unmistakeably from the heart.”

* * * * RnR MAGAZINE 

 

“Groundbreaking – a magnificent tour-de-force…

The elegance and refinement of Chris’s playing artfully conceal the seamless technique and effort expended, and the whole exercise sounds as natural as breathing… Chris’s stylish, supremely skilled fretwork is irresistible, with its swing in the step and rhythmic buoyancy… A toweringly impressive achievement… Outstanding.”

THE LIVING TRADITION August / September, 2021

 

“Twelve tracks sweep by in unplugged splendour… Chris Newman is in a class of his own.”

* * * * SPIRAL EARTH

 

“Un album fort original et novateur…”

* * * * 5PLANÈTES

 

“Astonishing”

FOLK LONDON August / September, 2021

 

Read Interviews & articles re Breaking Bach here.

Watch interviews re Breaking Bach here.

Listen to extracts on this sampler – or on iTunes.