Out now: Sean Shibe's "magnificent" new Bach recording

22 May 2020

On Friday 22 May, Sean Shibe celebrates the release of his new recording of Bach's lute suites arranged for guitar.

The disc has already received considerable attention from critics. Sean was the cover star of Gramophone Magazine's June 2020 issue, in which the disc was named Editor's Choice and described as "magnificent...Has the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro ever sounded so contemporary in its nostalgic sweetness and, in the final movement, sheer unabashed joy?".

The Times awarded the disc five stars: "This astonishing and adventurous guitarist plays with such depth of tone, colour and intricacies of touch that it is as though he’s at a harpsichord...Shibe’s music-making is masterful, beautiful and convincing in every way...What delights to pick out? There’s the Suite’s sarabande, filigree embellishments glinting like jewellery; or the contrapuntal play of its gigue; or the majesty of the E-flat minor Prelude and Fugue. Above all, Shibe awes us with the exquisite tone balance across the whole range, from dancing beauties up on top to bass notes that growl like a contented bear" while The Sunday Times writes "Commandingly impressive in slower movements... the clarity in his articulation of the most complex counterpoints is as exemplary as his gloriously warm timbre is alluring".

The Scotsman also gives the disc five stars: "there’s nothing more soothing than the sweet sound of unaccompanied classical guitar coupled with the logical weave of Bach harmony and counterpoint. Throw guitarist Sean Shibe into the mix and you have a divine threesome worth more than the sum of its parts."

Further accolades include Presto Classical Recording of the week, and Europadisc Disc of the year: "Few have recorded [these works] with such a thrilling combination of technical flair, finesse and blazingly evident musical sympathy. It’s almost as if this music was waiting for Shibe to come along, the results are that breathtaking...As throughout this phenomenal disc, Shibe demonstrates a musical maturity far beyond his 28 years, allied to a flawless technique that makes listening to it one of the greatest pleasures we’ve had so far this year. Certainly it’s one of the finest Bach discs to come our way in a long time, and another huge achievement for this uniquely compelling young artist. Recording and presentation are as exemplary as the playing." The disc also reached number 1 on the iTunes Classical Charts.

Sean's latest disc is his third recording for Delphian Records, and follows the success of his previous albums: Dreams & Fancies (2017) was nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award, named Editor's Choice by Gramophone Magazine and Instrumental Choice by BBC Music Magazine; and the revolutionary and experimental softLOUD (2018), whose juxtaposition of works for acoustic and electric guitar earned him the first ever Gramophone Award for Concept Album, and Best Recorded New Work at the Scottish Awards for New Music.

For previews and orders, visit the Delphian website here.

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