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<<  -- 2 --  Tess Crebbin    PASSION FOR BACH


Ever since, I've been starting my days listening to Miller's arrangement of Albinoni's Adagio in G minor [listen -- track 2, 2:30-3:42], and mornings just got finer. Revelation: Dominic Miller is a classical guitar virtuoso of the finest who also happens to play guitar for someone named Sting. Sting, who? He's the guy who joins Placido Domingo for Schubert's Ave Maria on Shapes. Since he does not have an opera voice, this is one track I personally can do without. As for Miller: he is a genius. To paraphrase a Washington Post critic: if he were a share, I'd take out a loan to buy him.

Take the first track, Bach's Mass in B minor, that Miller arranged for guitar by cleverly orienting himself on the flute rather than the chorus theme. He asked a collaborator to re-write the main theme for strings and thus created a reversal of main and counter theme, so that the flute becomes the main guitar theme and the strings reflect the chorus. 'After playing with it some more, we added a rhythm guitar,' Miller says. 'I attached myself to the counter melody on the flute and tried it on the guitar, which worked perfectly, with each phrase more uplifting than the last.' [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:08.]

This, by Miller's admission, is his favorite track on the CD. Mine is the second, Albinoni. 'This has got to be one of the most emotive and inspirational melodies of all time,' Miller says of track two, Albinoni's famous Adagio. His next comment, 'it came to me as no surprise that Albinoni was one of Bach's influences', suggests that he must have only recently discovered him. The discovery has done Albinoni proud since the Argentine-British guitar virtuoso has taken the original and re-worked it for guitar with such sensitivity as one can only muster for a piece of music when, rather than needing to ponder over it in scientific terms, one can go straight to the core, guided by an intricate feeling for its essence. Harmony and counterpoint must have been among Miller's favorite subjects at music school (Guildhall) because his understanding of both is so impeccable that he does not mutilate when he arranges or restructures but, rather, he enhances in a way that leaves one in awe. The guitar, under the skilled guidance of Miller, suddenly offers a myriad possibilities even for a perfect piece like Albinoni's, elevating it to greatness yet again -- only to greatness of a different kind.

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Copyright © 10 August 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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