Lily Afshar

Essential Bach Arranged For The Guitar By Lily Afshar
Mel Bay Publications. 114 pp.


This rather large volume includes the Cello Suites 1 and 3, the Prelude Fugue and Allegro, The 4 Lute Suites and an arrangement of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria. Over the years I have seen many different attempts at these marvelous works, so I wondered what Miss Afshar’s reasons were for attempting yet another.

The answer came immediately (as) I started with the Prelude to the first cello suite. Apart from the fact that the inclusion of ‘extra’ notes not included in the original cello version, were minimal, so no Duarte-six-string-chords here; the main difference was in her fingering. She has, at every possible opportunity, gone for cross string fingerings. This makes for fascinating playing; as apart from the fact that you have to rethink every single passage you have ever thought you knew, the end result is fascinating. It really does give the pieces a new lease of life and I did enjoy the experience of it. Whether I would have the patience after all this time of playing the pieces a certain way, is another matter entirely.

However if you are thinking of going for a Bach volume, and haven’t yet done so, this approach might absolutely suit you, and there is no doubt that it deserves to be popular, not least for the fact that it includes to my almost certain knowledge the first decent arrangement of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria that has ever come my way and I have seen a few really dire ones in my time.

by Chris Dumigan, Classical Guitar Magazine

– November 2013