Most helpful critical review
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Okay, but there's nothing new going on here ...
on 22 August 2013
Sid Nuncius is completely correct in saying that this lacks the emotional depth of a really good violin performance. And whilst it might be pleasant to listen to one or two tracks as a kind of "wow, he's a good player, I didn't realise you could play Bach on the mandolin" kind of experience, a whole album is a bit much. I know everyone thinks Thile is amazing, but I find his music and playing a bit boring. The problem with so-called 'virtuoso' players is that everything can become an exercise in technical expertise, and ultimately the music can take second place to the ego of the performer: I think that this has happened here.
Also, let's remember that this is nothing new - it's just that someone quite famous has done it. Mike Marshall (whose music is much better and more interesting than Thile's) has played Bach on the mandolin for years, and even published a book of arrangements of Bach's Partitas and Sonatas for mandolin some time ago. Marshall is a wonderful musician, possibly my favourite American mandolin player (although it's hard to beat a mid-to-late 1970s David Grisman).
And let's not forget the amazing Simon Mayor, who is a brilliant mandolin player, and has been including lots of classical content into his music right from The Mandolin Album in 1990. Mayor's playing is absolutely first rate - the music always shines through. And his mandolin tutor books have helped many aspiring players to learn the instrument.
Ultimately I'm sure that lots of people will purchase Thile's Bach album, but I doubt that it will get many repeat plays, even from mandolin players. Watch him play a few Bach tunes on YouTube first, and then decide if you really need a whole album's worth.