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J.S. Bach: Lute Suites nos. 1, 2 & 3

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Frequently Bought Together

J.S. Bach: Lute Suites nos. 1, 2 & 3 + J.S. Bach: Lute Suites nos. 4, 5 & 6 + Bach: Sonatas and Partitas (lute versions)
Price For All Three: £40.40

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Product details

  • Conductor: .
  • Composer: J.S. Bach
  • Audio CD (11 Feb 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naive Classique
  • ASIN: B008R5OK9C
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,276 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Suite n°1 BWV 1007: I.Prelude 2:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Suite n°1 BWV 1007: II.Allemande 5:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Suite n°1 BWV 1007: III.Courante 3:21£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Suite n°1 BWV 1007: IV.Sarabande 2:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Suite n°1 BWV 1007: V.Menuet I - Menuet II 3:39£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Suite n°1 BWV 1007: VI.Gigue 2:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Suite n°2 BWV 1008: I.Prelude 4:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Suite n°2 BWV 1008: II.Allemande 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Suite n°2 BWV 1008: III.Courante 2:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Suite n°2 BWV 1008: IV.Sarabande 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Suite n°2 BWV 1008: V.Menuet I - Menuet II 3:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Suite n°2 BWV 1008: VI.Gigue 3:22£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Suite n°3 BWV 1009: I.Prelude 4:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Suite n°3 BWV 1009: II.Allemande 4:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Suite n°3 BWV 1009: III.Courante 4:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Suite n°3 BWV 1009: IV.Sarabande 3:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Suite n°3 BWV 1009: V.Bourrée I - Bourée II 5:05£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Suite n°3 BWV 1009: VI.Gigue 3:54£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

One of today s 'popes' of early and baroque lute playing, Hopkinson Smith returns to the magic masterpieces of Bach and records the renowned Suites BWV 1007, 1008 and 1009, transcribed by himself for the German theorbo... Bach was a musical ecologist, the masterful recycler of his own compositions, arranging more than a few from one instrument or combination of instruments to another. Many of his works seem conceived on a somewhat abstract plane, above and beyond any specific instrument, and it was completely natural for the pragmatic 18th-century mind and ear to adapt them to the instrument of its choice. Among the so-called official lute works of Bach, there exist two such adaptations: from the solo violin repertoire, the Third Partita, BWV 1006, becomes BWV 1006a for the lute, and the Fifth Cello Suite is transformed into the Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995. Of course, lutenists had been adapting music for their instrument for centuries. More than half of the continental lute music of the Renaissance is made up of adaptations of vocal works. In the French baroque, Robert de Visée couldn t stop making transcriptions for his theorbo of orchestral and keyboard works by his contemporaries. The great 18th-century German lutenist, Sylvius Weiss, a friend of Bach s, was said to have played violin concertos directly on the lute. These examples of adaptations are not given as a kind of justification for the present project as if the idea needed to be defended historically. It is more to guide the modern musical thinker (who sometimes knows more about authenticity than did the musicians of former times) to the state of experimentation and discovery that is completely natural for the musician: one sits alone with one s instrument without a score, playing melodies and harmonies that one has heard here or there and making them one s own.


We hear an increased maturity of thought allied to the introspective that was always a hallmark of Smith s playing... Smith is at his searchingly expressive best; but evening the quicker dances he offer a melancholic ambivalence that is wholly satisfying. --William Yeoman, Gramophone August 2013

Perf (4/5) **** / Rec (5/5) ***** For anyone knowing these suites well, this version will prove totally riveting... The recording is intimate without becoming oppressive... Smith s playing is profoundly sensitive. --George Pratt, BBC Music Magazine September 2013

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb 2013
Format: MP3 Download
First, I must admit that I have a strange quirk: I'm not particularly attracted to the sound of plucked instruments -- guitars, lutes, harps -- but for some reason, which I think I can discern, this album of the first three Bach lute suites (so often played nowadays by cellists) attracts me like just about no other plucked-instrument album I've ever heard. Needless to say, Hopkinson Smith is a master of his craft and art; it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job of playing this music. But perhaps the main reason I am drawn to this performance is that it is played on the theorbo, and particularly, as on this disc, the German theorbo with its thirteen (or sometimes more) courses of strings, the lower-toned of which are double-strung, that is to say, tuned in octaves. The German instrument differs from the more common French/Italian lute (sometimes called the chitarrone) in that those double strung courses give the instrument's lower tones a nobler, richer sound. And this is what particularly appeals to me.

All that said, one needn't say too much about the thrice-familiar Bach lute/cello suites. They are among the glories of music. Hopkinson Smith gives them a a fittingly glorious reading, intimate and emotionally expressive. There is little indication of the effort of playing them, which is so common for cellists who have to play lots of awkward double-stops, and so the music flows seemingly effortlessly and mellifluously.

This CD, and its companion of Suites 3-6, are a treasure.

Scott Morrison
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 10 May 2013
Format: Audio CD
This disc contains Hopkinson Smith's own transcriptions of the first three of Bach's Cello Suites, played on the German theorbo. Smith explains in his excellent notes that this is a theorbo (a larger cousin of the lute) with double courses on the bass strings, giving a deep, resonant sound. It is a lovely disc.

Hopkinson Smith is a master of the whole lute family and has been at the forefront of its music for decades. This is well up to his normal excellent standard. The transcriptions themselves are very good, adding harmonies to the lines sparingly and choosing to play just the single cello line quite often. I found this a very effective approach and Bach's music shines through the whole of the recording. Smith's playing is, of course, superb. It is quietly virtuosic, sounding wholly unforced and natural, and brings a sweet, almost guitar-like quality from his instrument. The sound of the theorbo is lovely but I have to say that I didn't find it especially deep or resonant - there is a somewhat deeper and richer sound on Pascal Monteilhet's theorbo recording Bach/De Visée: Suites for Theorbo and Nigel North produces almost as rich a sound on the lute Bach on the Lute. (This isn't a complaint, just an observation after the German theorbo's sound was such an important part of the decision to record these pieces.)

You can't go wrong with this disc of beautiful music played by an absolute master. I think I still marginally prefer North and Monteilhet's versions, but it's just tiny things like their slightly more restrained use of rubato and that's purely a matter of personal taste. This is unquestionably a five-star disc and very warmly recommended. It's excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Arthur on 19 Mar 2013
Format: Audio CD
For your information, these Hopkinson Smith recordings are of Bach's 'cello suites 1, 2 & 3 arranged by Hopkinson Smith for the lute and NOT Bach's lute suites which have BWV numbers 995 - 1000 inclusive, plus 1006A. Hopefully Amazon will correct the error and make my comments redundant.

That said, Hopkinson Smith is a very fine player. I own his recordings of Bach's lute music (most of which was probably written for keyboard. Bach owned a lautenwerk, or gut strung harpsichord which he used to simulate the lute. He owned a couple of lutes too.) The actual lute suites include Bach's own arrangement of his 'cello suite no. 5 which is excellent in Hopkinson Smith's version so I am sure this recording of the 'cello suites 1, 2 & 3 on the lute will be of the same quality.

You might also like to check out Nigel North's wonderful recordings, on the lute, of Bach's six violin sonatas and partitas (BWV 1000 - 1006) and of the 'cello suites, again on the lute (BWV 1007 - 1012) which are all available in one bargain boxed set.

Be sure to read the product description which clarifies matters.
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By Rufus on 16 Nov 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was a present for my other half. He was very excited and plays it at least once a day.! Brilliant playing. A joy to listen to.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a 'cellist, I've always loved the Bach suites, and I love how well they translate to different solo instruments. Hopkinson Smith has made a great recording on Lute, that brings out different aspects of the pieces from those we hear on bowed strings. A lovely collection.
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