Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Sometime around the early 1720's, J.S. Bach wrote a four-movement suite for flute, to be played unaccompanied by any other instrument, called Partita in A minor, BWV 1013. Sometime around 2016, Cheticamp, N.S. classical musician Maxim Cormier decided he should record it. Only he plays guitar. To throw another curve at the project, instead of playing the pieces like most classical guitarists, on nylon strings plucked by fingers, Cormier used steel strings a flat pick. If that wasn't causing enough trouble, he also recorded a couple of other Bach works, one a solo piece for lute, the other for keyboard, also done with the same guitar technique. So you have a young guitar hotshot, basically messing with 300 years of tradition, and Bach to boot.

Cormier is already a favourite musician on the East Coast, working in jazz and world music, as well as classical. His desire to do things differently led to his playing classical guitar with a flat pick, and it's not just a worthy experiment, it's a revelation. The tone, the crispness of the notes, the occasional vibrato, it all combines for a mesmerizing listening experience. There's a wonderful, fast pace at times, and combined with the metallic quality, it almost sounds like a plucked keyboard. That hypnotic quality comes into play on the final track here, a version of the Bach/Gounod version of Ave Maria, where he is joined by mezzo-soprano Aurélie Cormier. It's captivating and quite accessible as well, the solo beauty of the guitar work not a stretch for anyone, no matter your tastes.

No comments:

Post a Comment