I had been listening to this cd for just a couple of minutes, when I realised that Andrew Maginley had gone straight past many of the lute cds I have in my collection. The mellow timbre from his magnificent Andrew Rutherford lute transformed everything; here was Bach sounding more like Bach than Bach! I felt I was listening to a lute transcription written by Bach himself from his First Solo Cello Suite. I have cello versions of the six Suites for Solo Cello recorded by Steven Isserlis, and those of David Watkin, all great favorites of mine. On subsequent listens of Maginley's cd, I realised that he was playing the First Solo Cello Suite on his baroque lute so as to retain the warm, golden tone and character of the cello, and the direct beauty of the melodies. Thanks so much to Andrew for doing this, he has created a lute recording of this Suite of great beauty and moving emotional power.
Sylvius Leopold Weiss' lovely Sonata no. 36 in d minor and Adam Falckenhagen's Sonata no.5 in F Major are the other two works on the cd. Again, Maginley exploits the deep resonance of his lute, tuned in d minor, to bring out the drama and beauty of Weiss' often recorded Sonata. It's no wonder it has been recorded so often, it is one of the most beautiful and immediately accessible of Weiss' Sonatas. The Falckenhagen Sonata in F Major has a weightiness and grandeur to the playing, which emphasizes its dramatic qualities. As with the Weiss, Maginley plays a bit more slowly here relative to some of the other lutenists, and allows for a rethinking of the composers' intentions .
All together, Maginley's performances are scrupulously considered and emotionally heartfelt. The Bach is a revelation. I'll be listening to this cd for a long time to come.