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CD Feature/ Frati & Dadomo: "Bach for Mandolin & Guitar"

img  Tobias

Performing Bach on mandolin and guitar is asking for trouble. After all, it actually sounds like it could be fun; and “fun” is probably the last thing most would associate with Johann Sebastian. Some might even go as far as to claim that it would be wrong or historically incorrect to “enjoy” his music or to indulge in it. Listening to Bach, as the myth has it, is there to strengthen and enlighten the mind – and it should be hard work. If that is how you feel as well, then we strongly advise you to let this disc pass you by.

If, however, you’re not only open for something different, but share the view that entertainment and spiritual elevation do not mutually exclude each other, then it might just be the thing for you. And, lest we should forget, the two ladies leading this project are no lightweights or merely in it for a little distraction. Both respective soloists in their own right (Mandolinist Dorina Frati has recorded for some of the major labels in Classical Music), they form a closely operating duo since 1995 and given their approach to Bach a lot of thought. Not that they had to. As the booklet correctly points out, intuition has a tradition in itself when it comes to transcriptions and should in no way be regarded with degrading eyes. In fact, as time moves on, different instrumental combinations and adjusted arrangements may actually be better suited to carry the composer’s. Frati and Dadomo therefore sought less of a way to please musical theory, but to feel their way towards Bach and the hidden secrets in his pieces. Their conclusions are quite remarkable. If our ears are nor deceiving us and if it is okay to draw conclusions to someone’s personality from his music, then he might well have been a warmhearted and kind man (which was in a way to be expected), a person who surrounded himself with beauty (which should come as a tiny surprise) as well as a dreamer and a true romantic (which beggars belief). Indeed, the latter feat shines through a lot of the different tracks collected on this album and one can not help but suspect that quite a few of them were written not only to praise god, but also the loveliness of the ladies Bach invited for dinner in his youth. Especially the “signature song” of his oeuvre, the “Ciaconna” for solo violin appears to be a work of love, less of transcendence.

But maybe that iust a question of superimposed categories and all of these differences don’t exist in reality. Bach, who was a man of great faith and wisdom, must definitely have thought so. If one looks at him less through the glasses of worn-out cliches, but of humanity, then this addition to the many stabs at uncloaking the man behind the mask, is truly enlightening. And, on top of that, it is a powerful piece of music. What is wrong with having a little fun while you’re working?

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Dynamic Records
Homepage: Klassik Center Kassel

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