Destiny 2022

Subtitled “J​.​S. Bach Lute Works on Electric Guitar” and bringing the Old Wig’s less celebrated pieces into the next millennium, a new collection of the German giant’s gems offers fresh air in the stifling atmosphere of here and now.


Bach’s oeuvre has long become part not only of classical but also of rock repertoire, the latter more often than not focusing on his organ favorites such as Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which is why this American artist’s approach feels so refreshing – and the title of his fourth album says as much. Transposing four lute pieces for the most part from into A-Flat Minor and D-Flat Major to accommodate another instrument’s capabilities, Harvey Valdes doesn’t simply play it all on electric guitar like your average Yngwies would; with no effect in use, he has completely removed blues sonics, that seem so inherent in his choice of tuned weaponry, from the 18th century gems, to concentrate on tone, rather than drive.

The result is strangely, if alluringly, clinical, albeit never sterile, the musician’s picking and strumming on the five-part Suite in C Minor, BWV 997 betraying the storm which rages beneath this calm surface, where bass notes delicately lull the melody and roll it from the dramatic “Prelude” to the exquisite “Sarabande” and the briskly elegant “Double” that sound robust in comparison with originals. Had they been delivered on nylon, not steel, strings, the difference could be less apparent, so the diaphanous and understated, while quite tangible – and familiar to many a listener – Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-Flat Major, BWV 998 suggests a similar tenderness, yet Prelude in C Minor, BWV 999 evokes a faux-cello twang.

However, the vibrant Fugue in G Minor, BWV 1000 unfolds into a finely detailed aural image and hints at fusion possibilities Valdes wisely chose not to pursue within this framework. He kept it clean – and that’s the beauty of Harvey’s handling of these immortal works.


March 25, 2022

Category(s): Reviews
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