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3 Trio Sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach Arranged for two guitars by Gregg Nestor

3 Trio Sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach Arranged for two guitars by Gregg Nestor

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Publication's Style: Spiral Bound Score with parts
Pages: 86
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
General Description: Baroque Trio Sonatas for 2 Guitars
Catalog Number: 74614
ISBN: 9781625590565

The Bach Trio Sonatas bring back a lot of happy memories. My guitar duo version dates back to September/October of 1975. and they were the very first serious pieces of music I arranged.

The "Trio" of the Sonatas refer to their initial creation as Organ Sonatas by Bach, and the primary three contrapuntal lines for left and right hands and equally active organ pedals made them quite unique, allowing for almost acrobatic feats for the hapless organist. Two of the Sonatas (BWV525 and 529) are well known to guitarists in their lute and harpsichord versions as recorded by Julian Bream and George Malcolm.

For guitar duos, care should be taken in execution to try and match the timbres of the basses of both instruments and to give the illusion of a single bass line supporting the structure of the works.

Gregg Nestor - April, 2014

Gregg Nestor's masterly arrangement of three of J. S. Bach's Six Trio Sonatas, published by Clear Note Publications, has not left my music stand since arriving by mail last week. The choice of music, the skill of the arrangement, and the quality of the publication, all combine to make this a precious addition to my library of Bach works for guitar.

Bach historians, such as Philipp Spitta, recount that the six sonatas were intended to "complete the education of his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann." Scored for pedal clavier with two manuals, and composed between 1722-1727, the music occupies the highest echelon of Bach's work. Comparable in quality to the six violin sonatas, this music was evidently irresistible to Julian Bream, who recorded two of them (BWV 525 and BWV 529) with harpsichordist George Malcolm.

Mr. Nestor has arranged three of the sonatas for two guitars, with each guitar playing one of the clavier parts, as well as tastefully distributing the pedal bass between both players. Sonata I (BWV 525) has been transposed from E flat major to G major. This astute decision of key change makes the whole eminently more playable, and also adds to the expressive depth, especially of the second movement, an Adagio, played in E minor rather than C minor. The Adagio itself is one of the timelessly inspiring Bach slow movements, its heartbreakingly touching melody unfolding with the absolute genius of Bach's greatest compositions.

There are many facets, in addition to the choice of music, that make this publication one that I think will endure for a very long time indeed. Among them, the musical engraving is first rate. The spacing, size of music font, notational detail, and the inclusion of separately bound individual parts, all contribute to making this a thoroughly first rate contribution to the guitar world.

Gregg Nestor's fingerings, both as to technical and musical concepts, are indicative of his stature as a highly accomplished musician and guitarist. Personally, when I sight read new editions of guitar music, I am always wary that the fingerings will be problematic, and, with very few exceptions, even when the music is worthy of playing, I end up with a complete re-fingering due to the limitations of the arranger. No two guitarists will ultimately finger passages in the same way. But Gregg's fingerings are truly an education and adventure of the best kind. It takes but a few measures to realize that the reader is in good hands, and that trust is not broken at any time.

I highly recommend this publication to every guitarist who loves Bach. Once you start in you will not be able to put it down. And before long, performers, teachers, and students everywhere will be getting together to study, play, perform, and hopefully record this music.

By Jeffrey Goodman on April 16, 2014

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