Once again, the protean malleability of J.S. Bach's genius is demonstrated by the unusual transcription of his work - in this case, the Violin Sonatas and Partitas - to another instrument, the mandolin. The Punch Brothers' mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile was first drawn to Bach by the rhythmic “groove” of Glenn Gould's 1981 re-recording of The Goldberg Variations. Thile's country and improv roots lend more rubato accents than some might prefer, but he liberates the pieces from their conservatoire corsets. The dazzling deftness of his fingering in the Presto and Double Presto sections evokes a kind of giddy delirium and his feathery technique wrests the tenderest of emotions from the second Sonata's Andante.
Download: Sonata No. 1 in G minor; Partita No. 1 in B minor