Paul Galbraith Performs = works of MOZART: Sonata, K. 280; BRITTEN; BACH; ALBENIZ; RAVEL – Paul Galbraith, guitar – Mashulka Prod.

by | Jul 22, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Paul Galbraith Performs = MOZART: Sonata, K. 280 (trans. A); BRITTEN: Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70; BACH: Cello Suite No. 4, BWV 1010 in E-flat (trans. C); Chorale Organ Prelude on “Ich Ruf’ zu dir Her Jesu Christ”; ALBENIZ: Bajo la Palmera; RAVEL: The Enchanted Garden (from Mother Goose Suite) – Paul Galbraith, guitar – Mashulka Productions (no number, available from, 68:50 *****:

Anyone who has ever seen Paul Galbraith perform knows the slight quirkiness attendant his position of the guitar—he holds it in the manner of a gamba or maybe even cello, complete with floor peg to balance it. Well, why not—it does make sense and certainly looks comfortable. And of course he doesn’t play the standard six-string guitar but instead an instrument of his own invention with eight strings. [The peg sits atop a specially-designed box which acoustically amplifies the guitar…Ed.]
From his website: “The name Brahms Guitar derives from my arrangement of the Brahms Variations on an Original Theme Op. 21A for piano, which I had initially transcribed for the 6-string guitar. At the time, I felt the transcription had been somewhat of a breakthrough in my ongoing attempts to develop new repertoire for the instrument, to the extent that I began to think about having it published.” As a result of his discoveries, the sound from this instrument is broad, rich, and quite deep, giving us an extraordinarily resonant ambiance of great beauty. This recording, seemingly a vanity issue, was recorded at Capitol Records, and sounds wonderful, like aloe on the ears.
The program is also very ingratiating, the highlight probably the fiendishly difficult Dowland variations by Britten called Nocturnal, executed here with an unassailable savvy and exquisite sense of pacing. This might be the best reading since Bream. The Bach and Mozart are both arrangements, made to sound as if they were written for guitar, while the encores—Albeniz, Bach, and Ravel—are lush and enveloping.
It is no great thing to recommend a disc as self-recommending as this one is. Lots of enjoyment can be found here, beautifully recorded. [There is also a DVD video of most the same program…Ed.]
— Steven Ritter

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