Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1
Few contemporary musicians evade classification with the playful panache of virtuosic mandolinist Chris Thile. He’s won GRAMMY®s for progressive bluegrass and collaborations with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and has played with jazz, rock, and folk icons. (All of which gives credence to the weighty claim by producer T Bone Burnett that Thile is a “once-in-a-century musician.”) And while Thile’s catalog demonstrates an irrefutable technical command, his arrangement of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas (a canonical piece of early eighteenth century violin literature) displays a deep, surprisingly vibrant connection to the music. Even with the quickened movements of Sonata No. 1 and Partita No. 1—which suit his formidable technical prowess—Thile retains a lighthearted touch. The result is an effortless, airy collection that—like the artist himself—transcends musical conventions.