Likely to Become Bach Favorite for Guitar
rodboomboom | Dearborn, Michigan United States | 04/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always enjoyed Parkening and others who do Bach on the guitar. Here, noted classic guitarist Isbin provides a beautifully crafted and performed set of baroque favs on guitar.She plays with controlled passion and clarity, and to my ear her Bach is even more clean and phrased superior to Parkening's. The selection is well chosen, with great addition to instrument's reportoire of Vivaldi's Concerto in A major.I find her Albioni's Adagio very well done! The dynamics are well done as well as tempo in this spirited rendiiton.Ms. Isbin certainly is one of the premiere performers of this instrument, and here is a well done collection from the baroque era, which many of us consider to be one of the best."
C. K. Russell | Germantown, MD USA | 08/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kudo's to Ms. Isbin, her masterful playing brings warmth to the classical pieces thus removing the pretense and stiffness generally assoicated with classical music"
J. H. Walsh | Nahant, MA USA | 03/30/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I heard this recording on NPR, starting midway through the second movement of the Vivaldi concerto. I have listened to this piece for fifty years and knew what it was within a second. I was zipping down the interstate in a relatively quiet car and was struck by Isbin's sensitive interpretation and scribbled a note to myself to order it right away. When it arrived I played it in the quiet of my home only to discover how devastatingly unbalanced the recording was. it was as if Isbin were standing two feet in front of you and an ensemble of talented little people accompanied her in another room.
Who could have made this terrible aesthetic mistake? Perhaps it's Isbin, because that's the way she hears it. But Vivaldi was writing for a sound created by the relationship between the solo instrument and an accompanying string ensemble (although I have heard a version for two mandolins). Try imagining the second movement of Beethoven's 9th from the point of view (point of hearing) of the tympanist. It might not be exactly what Beethoven had in mind.
My wife and I heard the BSO and Levine perform the Gurreleider on a Thursday night a few years ago. We were overwhelmed by its power and beauty. We couldn't wait to hear it again on the live radio performance the following Saturday night. What a disappointment! The soloists were heavily miked and you could have no sense that there were 150 singers and more than a hundred other musicians on the stage.
As with so much in life and in music, proportion is everything.
The Isbin lacks a sense of proportion to the ear. It does not succeed in presenting the music even though it shows her technical competence."