Why transcribe and perform the sonatas and partitas for solo violin on the guitar? It is surely the works themselves that provide the justification; their indestructible melodic poetry and their rich implied counterpoint at which the original violin can only hint.
Many guitarists have already gone where more cautious spirits would fear to tread and made their own transcriptions; this new version carries the imprimatur of David Russell, one of the most internationally acclaimed guitarists of his generation, who writes that Francesco Teopini ‘plays with a beautiful sound, faithfully recorded. His interpretation shows a deep understanding of these major works.’
In a useful booklet-note, Teopini himself notes that these works are now standard repertoire for guitarists, even mandatory for the sake of personal development, as perhaps Bach is for every musician regardless of instrument. His arrangement is relatively discreet, adding just a few more bass notes to amplify chords in movements such as the famous Chaconne which is the climax of the cycle. Elsewhere he has borne in mind the art of the clavecin, which no less relevant to the guitar as an instrument of Bach’s time than the original violin. There is naturally greater opportunity for ornamentation, which Teopini takes with discretion.
Italian by birth, Teopini himself is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, currently resident as a teacher and performer in Hong Kong, with a repertoire ranging from Bach through the Classical Spanish repertoire to contemporary works, several of which he has commissioned and premiered by composers including Gian Claudio Mantovani and Fausto Tuscano.
The 6 Sonatas and Partitas enjoy an iconic status: in few other works Bach achieved so much with such restricted means: less is more. The emotional range of these works is astonishing: from the carefree joy of the stylised dances to the human tragedy and redemption in the famous Chaconne.
For other instrumentalists it is tempting to play these monumental works as well, and classical guitarist Francesco Teopini wrote his own transcription for solo guitar, carefully including all of Bach’s notes and counterpoint. The result is astonishing: Teopini achieves an intense, dramatic and idiomatic performance, doing full justice to the richness of the original string version.
Famous Grammy winner guitarist David Russell said of this recording: “His interpretation shows a deep understanding of these major works..beautiful sound, faithfully recorded, congratulations!”.
The booklet text by the artist describes in the process of transcription in detail.