Alon Sariel’s CD Plucked Bach for Pentatone (PTC 5186985) provides a discovery of sounds one does not often associate with JS Bach.

The Israeli multi-instrumentalist has arranged both the Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 and the Cello Suite No. 2 in D Major, BWV 1012 for Lute (one Allemande in the G Major for Archlute) in addition to one section of the Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011 for mandolin, and two Gavottes from the Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012 for guitar. A Sarabande at the end of the Cello Suite No. 2 in D Major is given a hauntingly deeper sound by the use of an Oud, a fretless string instrument of Eastern provenance.

Alon Sariel plays elegantly, with complete command of the style of the still youthful Bach, with a technique ever at the service of the music while seamlessly moving from instrument to instrument. His handling of fast-moving passages is nimbly accurate, his ability to seamlessly spin a flowing legato uncanny given the occasionally unwieldy nature of the various instruments he plays.

Conceived as a vehicle for the mandolin, the six-movement Mandolin Partita by Alon Sariel is a delicately conceived work that through six movements redolent of Baroque music mines both the joyfully lighter and the lyrical sound of the smallest of all plucked instruments.

Alon Sariel’s Plucked Bach reveals though the course of twenty-one tracks the art of a masterful musician.

Rafael de Acha (c) 2022

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