Sid Nuncius wrote a great review on this CD (in the streaming section) that is very worth reading and nails just how great is Dunford's achievement. I had the great pleasure to hear these three pieces played live by Thomas Dunford at Wigmore Hall in London on May 17th 2018 and they were transcendent. The wonderful acoustics there provided a similar glow to what is heard on this recording, and the presence of a full house of about 600 added to the vividness of the live performance. To re-emphasize, Dunford's feeling for pulse and line could be called "cosmic" without much exaggeration. My wife, who has a degree in classical guitar from Stanford, turned to me after this concert and said "I think this is the best concert I've ever been to". It was hard not to agree. This is the point where mere words can't come close, and one should listen.
Thomas Dunford plays these arrangement for archlute really beautifully, in a perfect acoustic, superbly recorded. His playing is fluent, unfussy and direct. Five stars richly deserved. Strongly recommended!
I think this disc is a joy. It's wonderful music, excellently played and beautifully recorded.
Thomas Dunford is an excellent lutenist; here he has made arrangements of the First Cello Suite and the mighty Chaconne from the D minor Violin Partita, and plays Bach's own lute arrangement of the Fifth Cello Suite. It is magnificent music from start to finish and Dunford's arrangements capture the spirit of Bach's originals very well. He also plays beautifully; there is some quite marked rubato in his phrasing in places but he never forgets that these are dances and the essential pulse of Bach is never lost. There is plenty of depth here, too; for example, the Sarabande from the Fifth Suite has all the spiritual intensity you could wish for and the great Chaconne is quite stunning, including Dunford's fine decision to play the last, breath-holding note with no harmony or adornment whatsoever.
Dunford's theorbo has a wonderful, rich and mellow sound augmented by a resonant acoustic and superbly captured by Alpha's recording. I have loved Pascal Monteilhet's theorbo transcriptions of the Cello Suites for many years and this is at least their equal, I would say. It's a fabulous release and very warmly recommended.