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Jason Vieaux, 'Bach: Violin Sonata No. 1: IV. Presto'

Electric guitar wizards such as Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen aren't the only shredmasters who can melt your face with a killer solo. The classical guitar has its heavy hitters and virtuosic repertoire too – it's all just a few decibels softer.

Consider Jason Vieaux. The Grammy-winning co-founder of the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music is known for his formidable technique and his transparent, soulful playing, whether in a Spanish fandango or music by Pat Metheny. Still, it's the sturdy, all-encompassing music of J.S. Bach that has been a constant for Vieaux. "Every note gives the feeling that Bach has totally been there, done that, but somehow 1000 times more," Jason writes in the booklet notes to his new all-Bach album. For this final movement from his Violin Sonata in G minor, what Bach was feeling must have been something akin to euphoria. The notes cascade in waterfalls, and in Vieaux's immaculate, joyful performance you hear all of Bach's interlocking voices, propelled by a steady beat and singing line. This is guitar playing at its most shred-worthy and satisfying.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.