Magazine article Gramophone

Berlin Guitarist Hegel Pays Tribute to the Thomaskantor

Magazine article Gramophone

Berlin Guitarist Hegel Pays Tribute to the Thomaskantor

Article excerpt

JS Bach

Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV998. Suite, BWV1006a. Solo Cello Suite No 1, BWV1007-Prelude (a). Goldberg Variations, BWV988--Aria (a). Jesus bleibet meine Freude, BWV147 (a). Two-Part Invention No 1, BWV772 (a). Das wohltemperirte Clavier (a)--Prelude I, BWV846; Prelude XXI, BWV866. Cantata No 156--Sinfonia (a). Toccata, BWV565 (a). Orchestral Suite No 2, BWV1067--Badinerie (a). Orchestral Suite No 3, BWV1068--Air (a) ((a) trans Hegel) Martin Hegel gtr Acoustic Music Records (F) 319 1492-2 (58' * DDD)

It was no surprise to learn that the young German guitarist Martin Hegel has attended masterclasses with David Russell and Manuel Barrueco, two masters of the art of transcription of Baroque music for classical guitar. Hegel's transcriptions from the instrumental, choral and orchestral works of JS Bach demonstrate the same imagination and intelligence. Moreover, his playing has the same incisiveness and clarity, while his tone-dare I say it--is even sweeter.

Having said that, some are more successful than others. The Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No 1 is a guitar favourite; here a tuneful but not distractingly so bass-line gently animates the flowing semiquavers that are so tastefully executed by Hegel on his 2009 Karl-Heinz Rommich. The D minor Toccata, BWV565, is also a real treat, the declamatory opening seeming to spring organically from the preceding Prelude XXI from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier. But the Badinerie from the Second Orchestral Suite sounds like it would be more at home on a banjo.

Hegel bookends his transcriptions with two works Bach scored for the Lautenwerke or lute-harpsichord but which are today extremely popular among guitarists: the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV998, and the Suite, BWV1006a, originally for solo violin but transcribed by Bach himself. …

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