Peter Croton
lutenist - guitarist

Bach on the Italian Lute
Guild GMCD 7321
Ordering information -

In the UK:
In the USA:
In Switzerland:
In Germany:
In France:
In Japan:
In Sweden:
In Denmark:
In Norway:

Digital download:

Track list


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)


01 Präludium in C minor (BWV 999)


Suite in C minor (BWV 997)

02 Prelude

03 Sarabande

04 Gigue


 “Pièces pour la luth à Monsieur Schouster”

Suite in G minor (BWV 995)

05  Prelude, tres viste

06 Allemande

07 Courante

08 Sarabande

09 Gavotte, Gavotte en Rondeau

10 Gigue


Suite No. 1 for Violincello (BWV 1007)

Arranged in C major for lute by Peter Croton

11  Prélude

12  Allemande

13  Courante

14  Sarabande

15  Menuet 1 & 2

16  Gigue


17 Bist du bei mir from the Clavier-Büchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach

by Heinrich Stölzel (1690 1749)

Arranged for solo lute by Peter Croton


Excerpts from reviews:

CONCERTO June/July 2009

original in German

"...The outcome was stunning: it turned out that Bach’s music works quite well on the Italian lute. How beautiful Bach’s lute suites can sound on the Italian lute is demonstrated by the present recording by Peter Croton, which from beginning to end is an exquisite listening experience… Thanks to Croton’s subtle and transparent playing, the Suite in g-minor, perhaps the most pensive of Bach’s works for the lute, comes across not at all as cumbersome, but rather as stimulating, leading the listener to reflect, to step back a moment and listen in a concentrated manner. The Preludium from Suite 1 for cello,  adapted by Peter Croton for Italian lute, signals the transition to a lighter, more extroverted mood, a mood which, thanks to his elegantly attractive manner of play, Croton emphasizes but never exaggerates. And in the dance movements Croton uses the entire range of dynamic resources offered by the liuto attiorbato in order to do justice to Bach’s varied musical language. Peter Croton concludes the recording with his own adaptation of “Bist du bei mir” from the Anna Magdalena Bach Book for Clavier… a fitting close to this program in which Peter Croton’s exceptionally refined and singing manner of playing is especially highlighted."

International Record Review
May 2009
"Croton's performances are superb. Not only does he play very cleanly, with very few loud finger squeaks or mis-struck notes, but his solid, round tone and measured, unrushed manner allow the instrument's dark sonorities to saturate Bach's harmonies."

“Modern lutenists have for years been faced with the challenges of adapting Bach’s lute suites for the German baroque lute. On this album, the excellent Peter Croton sheds new light on these works by presenting them on an Italian Lute, an instrument also used in Germany during Bach’s lifetime. The selected works are performed without modification and in the original keys. This is a recording of intimate timbres and subtle expression, evoking the Lautenwerk, a keyboard instrument for which J.S. Bach apparently composed these works. In addition to performing three original lute works, Peter Croton has transcribed Bach’s delightful first cello suite for the Italian lute. The CD closes with his arrangement of Bist du bei mir, one of the most beautiful and popular songs of the Baroque era. These are intelligent, sensitive and lyrical performances of some of the most challenging and expressive music ever written for the lute. The beautifully recorded pieces are wonderfully calming and prove beyond doubt that ‘Bach teaches us how to be pious’.”

German Lute Society

Lauten-Info 1/2009

original in German

(Croton’s) approach emphasizes a spoken, rhetorical manner of playing and use of suitable affect in the dance movements. This results is a very warm, lively interpretation that often allows the music an astonishing amount of breathing space, while lending the dances a feeling of supple and spirited movement. The result is an extraordinarily differentiated recording, which makes undisturbed, concentrated listening a pleasurable experience.

The French Lute Society, March 2009

Complete original review in French

"Goal of this innovative CD: to play Bach on the archlute … The overall result is that Bach’s music sounds particularly easy and comfortable in the original keys… the Suite BWV 997  is tranquil, the resonances of the long bass strings permitting moderate tempi and therefore a good understanding of the compositional structures. The Suite BWV 995 in g-minor (especially the Prelude) sounds even better, being rich in noble harmonies and solemn cadences. The très viste sounds clear, and the dances flow naturally, with good spirit, good rhythmical sense, and particularly well-realized and well-integrated ornaments. The Suite BWV 1007 for cello (arranged by Peter) reconciles us with the single strings because they approximate more closely the deep and compact sonority of the original instrument. The interpretation is very lively (Courante, Menuets) and even more fluid and less heroic than on the cello! The disc concludes with “Bist du bei mir” from the Anna Magdalena Bach Book, a beautiful song of popular origin, arranged here with majestic arpeggios which become more and more luminous. Bravo to Peter Croton for this innovative and pleasing CD!

Early Music Magazine, July 2010

“…Peter Croton's Bach on the Italian lute, which greatly pleases the ears even if it may ruffle the feathers of the purists. Here he gives enjoyable performances of three pieces (BWV995, 997 and 999) of the seven Bach works directed or arranged for lute in the composer's lifetime, plus Croton's own arrangements of the Cello Suite BWV1007 and of the lovely ‘Bist du bei mir’. He records in a wood-panelled room, much more authentic than the churches so often used for what is, after all, secular chamber music… The sound is indeed wonderfully clear, sweet and direct“                                                                                                                      “Musically the performances work very well… very liquid phrasing with a minimum of noise. Croton writes that his early background as a folk and jazz guitarist enabled him to understand the rhetorical modes of Baroque music, and indeed his performances have a uniquely expressive, rhythmically flexible quality… It's not a question of direct jazz influence, but of an effort to embody a mood and communicate it to a listener. The sound is another strong point. Grasping the point, seemingly elusive for so many musicians, that pieces of this kind would have been performed in a small "chamber" with likely wooden walls, not in a church, Croton chooses a wood-paneled room in a Basel studio and creates an intimate sound environment that perfectly complements his performances…”


Croton is good, clearly enjoying and understanding the music… The Guild recording is good, catching the darker tones of Croton’s instrument very well… The inclusion of a transcription of Bist du bei mir as the short closing item is a real bonus. It’s well played and correctly attributed to Heinrich Stölzel. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with the purchase of this Guild recording; I’ve enjoyed hearing it.