J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Bach to Nature

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Carol Adee
Individual Works:Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008
Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009
Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Well-Tempered Productions
Catalog Number:WTP 5171
Year Released/Recorded:1994
Total Playing Time:73:22
Comments:Review by Jan Hanford:

Performance: Exquisite
Recording: Excellent except for the bugs

This gorgeous recording of Carol Adee's transcriptions of Bach's solo cello suites for flute is a conundrum. The performance is stunning, as are the transcriptions. This is a wonderful addition to the repertoire of flute music and transcriptions of Bach's music.

However, the use of "sounds of nature" is questionable. At its best, the sounds of softly chirping birds in the forest are soothing and you can almost think all you did was leave the window open. There are some truly beautiful moments, one in particular when the chant of the insect sounds is in tune with the flute. Very unusual, haunting and still beautiful. But the sounds of the Brazilian rainforest really interfere with the music and some of the insect sounds are so realistic that I nearly started to itch and reach for the bug spray. Some of the birds are also a little enthusiastic and break the spell of the melodic flow of the flute.

Which, I suppose, puts this into the genre of "new age" classical/nature recordings rather than serious classical recordings. That isn't necessarily a bad thing and I assume there is a particular market for the genre. But the flute performance is so incredible it really seems a shame to spoil it with the distraction of the natural sounds. Without them this would be an outstanding, if not important, recording.

So, do I recommend it? Yes. The flute performance is so beautiful that I think it's worth hearing, even with the bug sounds. Hopefully, after a while you can learn to ignore them (much like Gould's humming or Arrau's raspy breathing) and enjoy the beautiful flute performance.

Acknowledgements:From the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:12/28/1997