washington post
October 8, 1995


For Other Instruments

Before sound recording was invented, transcriptions, particularly piano transcriptions, made music accessible at home to those who could not go to hear it in concert halls or opera houses. Today, transcriptions are no longer needed for that purpose, but they do enlarge options for relatively neglected instruments, and they can give a fresh sound to and shed light on well-known works.

Transcriptions are vital to guitarists so their programs can be as varied and interesting as pianists' and violinists.' Some of the most fascinating guitar records on the market are devoted entirely to transcriptions. [Another review omitted] But an even more exciting disc-because it faces more serious challenges and meets them brilliantly-is "Johann Sebastian Bach: New Transcriptions for Guitar" (GSP 1012CD). Among the works Philip Hii has transcribed and performs are the formidable harpsichord Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and the even more formidable Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565. Even in a dazzling performance, BWV 565 loses something when it is shifted from the organ to the guitar, but Hii makes it sound as if it had been composed for his own instrument-no small accomplishment

- Joseph McLeilan

Washington Post Staff Writer

© 1995 The Washington Post