Lara St. John has gained a reputation for being both a willowy sex symbol (witness the revealing pictures that adorn some of her albums) and a top-flight young violinist who is especially adept at Bach -- an outward contradiction that has made St. John resistant to pigeonholing and has kept critics waffling. Re: Bach will do nothing to quell that debate. To the contrary, it is likely to inflame it. Here, St. John teams up with producer-arranger Magnus Fiennes, the man behind Bond, the comely female string quartet who play classical themes spiked with pulsating dance beats. Not surprisingly, Re: Bach follows a similar scheme, lacing tunes from J. S. Bach with pop-style production that borrows from jazz, world, and other styles to reinterpret the composer's music in a contemporary vein. Sometimes the results are striking. When a tabla (an Indian hand drum) enters to accompany a St. John solo on "Bombay Minor," the outcome is an ear-opening hybrid, a piquant mix of instruments that blend together like spices in curry. Other tracks are less innovative but never fail to give Bach an original spin. More highbrow than Bond, the album samples both well-known and unfamiliar themes from the Baroque master. It also benefits from St. John's skillful playing, however augmented by Fiennes's handiwork. Re: Bach may well prove controversial, yet St. John is clearly not about to shy away from any succès de scandale; indeed, whatever she does next, odds are it won't be standard issue.
Performance CreditsLara St. John Primary Artist,Violin
Trilok Gurtu Percussion,Tabla,Vocals
B.J. Cole Pedal Steel Guitar
Laurence Cottle Bass Guitar,Fretless Bass Guitar
Andy Findon Flute
Brian Gascoigne Organ,Synthesizer,Marimbas,Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
Robbie Hay Jacobs Cello
Greg Knowles Dulcimer,Cymbalom
Chris Laurence Double Bass
Chris Lawrence Double Bass
John Themis Acoustic Guitar
Philip Todd Flute
Tim Vine Clavinet,Wurlitzer,Wah Wah Clavinet
John Parricelli Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar,Classical Guitar
Paul Clarvis Percussion
Magnus Fiennes Synthesizer
Anna Noakes Alto Flute
Ric Featherstone Synthesizer
Yoad Nevo Synthesizer,Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar
Matthew Sharp Cello
Aziz Chabadiss Ney,Ney Flute
Eddie Hessian Accordion
Robbie Jacobs Cello
Dario Rossetti-Bonell Guitar,Classical Guitar
Christopher Lawrence Double Bass
Dario Bonell Classical Guitar
Lawrence Cottell Bass,Fretless Bass Guitar
Pandit Danesh Percussion,Tabla
Christopher Laurence Double Bass
Phil Todd Flute
Robbie Jacobs Cello
John Paracelli Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar
Pandit Danesh Percussion,Tabla
Krzysztof Chorzelski Viola
Technical CreditsTrilok Gurtu Vocal Effect
Johann Sebastian Bach Composer
Haydn Bendall Engineer
Brian Gascoigne Arranger,Programming
Magnus Fiennes Arranger,Programming,Producer
Jonathan Stokes Engineer
Jeremy Caulton Executive Producer
Ric Featherstone Programming
Laura Kszan Packaging Manager
Yoad Nevo Programming
Jeff McLaughlin Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Re: Bach based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
The electronic back beats and synthesized accompaniment are at best distracting, and at worst, overpowering, some of the most beautiful playing. This CD went to the trash can after one listening.
I have loved Bach for many years. Lara's take is both refreshing and inviting. Great for cruising down the freeway after work!
I purchased this album from Barnes & Noble in Orlando for my father's radio station, and we are already using it on air. I don't know how they did it, but they have made Bach smoothly palatable to the average person, while also including a few raw arrangements like the duet with Trilok Gurtu, an amazing Indian tabla player who I've seen in concert. That was a surprise! We need more modern Bach recordings like this. If you enjoy Bach's intricately stable geometric compositions, there will be at least two or three cuts on this baby that will delight your ears and mind. Too bad Hilary Hahn was unable to create on this level.
"re: Bach" is loud, crass and full of bad ideas of what to do with Bach's music. And it is almost completely lacking in charm and nuance. The sound of the violin - which can be heard throughout the album and has the lead melody most of the time - sounds positively ridiculous inside the pop environment, pretending to be a cool sax or jazzy flute. And it's sound?! St. John is probably the only violinist I know who can make a Strad, the most beautiful sounding violin in the world, sound crude. The only redemption is the Indian tabla player, as unlike St. john, doesn't make a fool out of himself. But even he doesn't make "re: Bach" worth your hard- earned cash.
Exposing Lara as a dim-witted, foolish musician, this recording can only harm her already diminishing career. It’s puzzling that there are some out there who find this recording to be anything more than banal, outdated pop music. Certainly among the weakest recordings Sony ever released. I’ll be very curious to see what will be her next release for Sony. In fact, I'll even be surprised if there will be a next one, after such a complete dud.
I found this album to be a great delight. Arabic and Indian influences abound. The duet with Trilok Gurtu is amazing. If you enjoy Bach, you have to like at least one cut on this baby.