Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bach on the Mandolin

Ever since I discovered the acoustic folk/bluegrass/pop/newgrass group Nickel Creek, I have been a great admirer of mandolinist Chris Thile's virtuosity and musicianship. Of all his albums, my favorite is the one he hasn't recorded yet. You see, he is a master of playing Bach on the mandolin. Yet despite the demand of his fans, he has not recorded a Bach album yet. You can get a bit of a taste for Bach on the mandolin by watching this short clip from The Bach Project, a documentary in progress.

Here is a full-fledged performance of the second movement of Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto (written as a piece for small orchestra), performed by Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, his current recording and touring group of acoustic musicians.

Who would ever think that "bluegrass" Bach could sound so good?

For more incredible "bluegrass" Bach, check out Bela Fleck's CD Perpetual Motion. This would be a desert island CD for me. HIGHLY recommended.

Finally, the Oregon Symphony has just announced their 09/10 season concerts. The first concert of the season will likely be one of the best. Chris Thile (mandolin), Edgar Meyer (bass), Bela Fleck (banjo), and the Oregon Symphony performing, among other pieces, the West Coast debut of Thile's Mandolin Concerto - co-commissioned by the Oregon Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. The concert will be followed by a 1-hour improv jam session on stage. Wow! Tickets go on sale in August. You can get the rest of the details on the concert here.

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