J. S. Bach:

  • Sonatas and Partitas, adapted for mandolin.

The plucked and strummed instruments are among the oldest on the planet. The early keyboard instruments featured mechanisms that plucked the strings of the Cembalo, and the instruments that followed.

This album of three of Bach’s violin sonatas was recorded by mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile on August 5, 2013.

Bach, J S:

  • Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV1001
  • Partita for solo violin No. 1 in B minor, BWV1002
  • Sonata for solo violin No. 2 in A minor, BWV1003

Performed by Chris Thile (mandolin)

Chris Thile explains his connection to the composer:

“Bach was my first meaningful experience with—for lack of a better word—classical music. It was the second recording of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. Gould plays with the kind of rhythmic integrity that I had previously only associated with non-classical music: music with a groove, with a pocket, that made you move. Gould was playing that music like my heroes play fiddle tunes. It humanized the whole thing for me, and the heavens opened up and Bach came down. I started devouring all the Bach I could get my hands on.”

He continues:

“This record to me is … about Bach being one of the greatest musicians of all time, the solo violin music being some of his best work, and the mandolin having the potential to cast it in a new and hopefully interesting light.”

Chris Thile’s can really make the mandolin sing, and – for me – he brings a new character to the very familiar violin music. In the slower movements of these sonatas, Thile extracts a lovely, warm, harpsichord-like tone his instrument.

Here is Chris Thile with the E Major Prelude by J. S. BACH:



And next, here is Chris Thile talking about and playing the music of Bach on the mandolin:


Neat, Huh??


Finally, let’s listen to a piece that is slower: Chris Thile plays Bach’s ‘Sonata No. 1 in G minor’ – I. Adagio:



Tags: Chris Thile, Mandolin, Bach