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Watch: Chris Thile Discusses, Performs Bach in Wall Street Journal Feature

  • Monday, August 26, 2013
    Watch: Chris Thile Discusses, Performs Bach in Wall Street Journal Feature

    Mandolinist Chris Thile is the subject of a feature profile recently published in the Wall Street Journal. The article examines Thile's recently released solo album, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, on which he performs Bach works written for solo violin, and explores his interest in transcending the boundaries of musical genres and his ability to do so.

    "The great musics of the world are great for very similar structural reasons: good melody, good harmony, and a balance of feminine and masculine energy," Thile tells the Wall Street Journal's Robbie Whelan. "What makes one type of music classical and one bluegrass and one folk—these things aren't what's important ... My thesis statement would be—Bach didn't write Baroque music. He wrote great music."

    In two companion videos to the article, which you can watch below, Thile further makes that case and demonstrates why it is true.

    "At times, Mr. Thile's new record has the same technical 'wow factor' as his work with his band, Punch Brothers," writes Whelan. "On the 'Presto' from Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G minor, for example, Mr. Thile's fingers trace Bach's elegant melody lines and near-nonstop arpeggios at an off-to-the-races tempo, up and down the neck of his instrument—not unlike a bluegrass fiddle tune."

    Whelan continues: "At other points, such as the 'Allemanda' from the Partita No. 1 in B minor, Mr. Thile plays in a purely Baroque vernacular, shedding any trace of bluegrass and making his mandolin sound stately and delicate, not unlike the lutes played by Bach's Renaissance forebears."

    Read the complete article, including thoughts about Thile from Yo-Yo Ma and T Bone Burnett, with both of whom he has collaborated, at online.wsj.com.

on August 26, 2013 - 12:09pm
Excerpt: 

Mandolinist Chris Thile is the subject of a Wall Street Journal feature profile examining his new solo album, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, and exploring his interest in transcending the boundaries of musical genres and his ability to do so. "My thesis statement would be—Bach didn't write Baroque music," Thile says. "He wrote great music." In two companion videos to the article, which you can watch here, Thile further makes that case and demonstrates why it is true.

Copy: 

Mandolinist Chris Thile is the subject of a feature profile recently published in the Wall Street Journal. The article examines Thile's recently released solo album, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, on which he performs Bach works written for solo violin, and explores his interest in transcending the boundaries of musical genres and his ability to do so.

"The great musics of the world are great for very similar structural reasons: good melody, good harmony, and a balance of feminine and masculine energy," Thile tells the Wall Street Journal's Robbie Whelan. "What makes one type of music classical and one bluegrass and one folk—these things aren't what's important ... My thesis statement would be—Bach didn't write Baroque music. He wrote great music."

In two companion videos to the article, which you can watch below, Thile further makes that case and demonstrates why it is true.

"At times, Mr. Thile's new record has the same technical 'wow factor' as his work with his band, Punch Brothers," writes Whelan. "On the 'Presto' from Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G minor, for example, Mr. Thile's fingers trace Bach's elegant melody lines and near-nonstop arpeggios at an off-to-the-races tempo, up and down the neck of his instrument—not unlike a bluegrass fiddle tune."

Whelan continues: "At other points, such as the 'Allemanda' from the Partita No. 1 in B minor, Mr. Thile plays in a purely Baroque vernacular, shedding any trace of bluegrass and making his mandolin sound stately and delicate, not unlike the lutes played by Bach's Renaissance forebears."

Read the complete article, including thoughts about Thile from Yo-Yo Ma and T Bone Burnett, with both of whom he has collaborated, at online.wsj.com.

Publish date: 
Monday, August 26, 2013 - 11:00
Article Type: 
featuredimage: 
Chris Thile 2013 h by Brantley Gutierrez

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