All this is a far cry from, say, Glenn Gould’s egotism in the 48, or the sort of performances that can make genius a pejorative term. Qty. The 1998 edition of that catalogue mentions Haussmann's paintings as original sources for the work, and likewise the Bach … Lindsay Kemp (February 2001). Noté /5. Bach’s cantatas (nearly 200 sacred and a good handful of secular ones survive) are all the more remarkable when you think that this was real bread-and-butter stuff, produced for the church services every week. The obbligato contributions of flautist Karl Kaiser and oboist Katharina Arfken‚ furthermore‚ are outstandingly musical. On the other end of the spectrum, the peroration offers a luminous solace – and what collective beauty Bach Collegium Japan bring to the heart-stopping ‘Mein Jesu, gute Nacht’ – to the redemption that will follow. Both are uncomplicated, utterly instinctive musicians with a sure technical command and sound stylistic sense, and in works as robust and complete as these, that is most of the battle already won. Both recordings include the two Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, BWV1021 and 1023 (for which Podger and Pinnock are joined by a discreet and sympathetic Jonathan Manson on viola da gamba), but Manze and Egarr’s inclusion of the dubious BWV1024 is not echoed here; instead we get two of the three versions of BWV1019 whole, with the glorious extra movement required to make up the remaining version added at the end. Never miss an issue of the world's leading classical music magazine – subscribe to Gramophone today! Its emotional intimacy and urgency are better suited to the agility and immediacy a one-to-a-part performance brings, and the result can be a deeply compelling human drama. Several choices reveal sincere reflection about how Bach might have expected such concertos to be played during his years of service at Cöthen, such as the use of low ‘Cammerton’ pitch (A=392) and Werkmeister III temperament, and a decision to tune the viola da gamba and violone grosso to ‘Chorton’ (ie up a third) in order to better exploit the sonorities of open strings. So often the blend of a madrigal-sized choir detracts from a necessary corporate impact but such is the keen characterisation of the text and the willingness to “come and go” in the texture that the Ricercar Consort convey, in the exultant framing movements and “Omnes generationes”, a rare combination of visceral rhythmic verve and vocal energy. Rob Cowan (December 2003). Now Murray Perahia enters the fray with a version that isn’t just colourful, or virtuosic, or thorough in terms of repeats, but profoundly moving as well. He has a way of accenting without jabbing the keys, tracing counterpoint while keeping the top line well to the fore. The chorales of Bach are much more complex than the simple style found in [1], but also Bach’s techniques can be made rather concrete. The musicians convey it with infectious zeal in the white-hot conviction of tenor Makoto Sakurada’s open-throated Daughter of Zion sequence (from No 19, ‘O Schmerz!’); illuminated by light and shade in the instrumental accompaniment, soloist and chorus combine in an essay of unbearably imminent suffering. Indeed, Harnoncourt is unique in his decisively pictorial and luminous landscape (in the more perennial oratorio tradition), alongside a highly developed ear for charting the work with kaleidoscopic, if occasionally maverick character. As for the E major and A major Concertos, elegance is more of the essence than fire, but there too Perahia delivers. If the early critical rhetoric of Vol 1 (Cantatas Nos 4, 150 and 196 – 6/96) was one of astonishment that a Japanese choir could sing such perfect German or that Japanese instrumentalists could comprehend ‘style’ so effortlessly, it soon became apparent that the world is smaller than we think and that Suzuki’s subtle and embedded understanding of Bach was yielding an important set of new recorded ‘texts’ in a global musical language. The only period recording to touch Podger and Pinnock for technical assurance is that of Fabio Biondi and Rinaldo Alessandrini, but in both sound and interpretation it is heavy-handed compared with the spontaneous musicianship and airy texture on display here, and rather meanly it gives the six obbligato sonatas only. Bach mediates between the French and the Italian styles in the course of the six works, and Levit doesn’t miss a trick. I like very much Levit’s ornaments and embellishments in general. That might account for Murray Perahia – 70 next April – calling time on Sony Classical after an apparently happy marriage of 43 years. Certainly, the Mass in B minor. Note, too, Pobłocka’s swaggering D major Fugue and how each entrance of the D minor Fugue’s exposition is consistently phrased, down to the slight tapering of the trill. Lindsay Kemp (November 2005), European Brandenburg Ensemble / Trevor Pinnock. Butt plays a modern replica of a large Mietke harpsichord like one purchased by the Cöthen court in 1719 and his flexible performance of Bach’s cadenza in Concerto No 5 has a rare extemporised atmosphere of exuberant fun; the amusement of the orchestra is almost tangible in the closing ritornello. Do you go for a radical interpretation set to make people jump, laugh or recoil in surprise? No complete series can deliver equal inspiration in every volume but Suzuki and BCJ have created an indelible mark on Bach’s recorded vocal landscape. So we leap from the dizzying heights of the outlandishly difficult trumpet-writing that colours the second Brandenburg Concerto, to No.6, which gets its dark shades from the lack of violins. Yet no music is more demanding to realise in sound, nor quicker to reveal inadequacies of perception. From her 1658 Stainer she produces a sound that is period-instrument clean (even at times a little wiry), but can summon warmth of tone and tonal strength when she wants. He played those sonatas as though he had lived with late Beethoven a long time and had perceived and understood everything. His Bach has a peerless lightness, grace and natural beauty, the reverse of Teutonic earnestness and heaviness. Her C major Prelude unassumingly unfolds at a moderate pace, resonating less like a piano than a murmuring organ, while the C major Fugue sounds like a madrigal featuring four distinct yet unified voices with prodigious breath control. Gardiner challenges orthodoxy in how these a cappella holy grails are fundamentally signposted and he does so, almost always, with persuasive passion and genuine zeal. If the listener is often left gasping, this is caused not only by vocal singularity of purpose but by the discreet and graphic responsiveness of the instrumental continuo players, among whom the bassoon here (and in Komm, Jesu, komm) contributes with knowing effect. Menu de navigation ouvert. We then get another dash of cold water in the C minor Prelude and Fugue from Book 1. In this presentation the Passion – the service, not the oratorio – starts with an Easter chorale, first in Bach’s organ setting (played by Butt) and then sung by a congregation (actually the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir) alternating verses with a solo Mulroy. Any list of great Bach recordings is, of course, going to be subjective, but we hope that this list will give a helpful guide to those embarking on their first excursions into Bach's music, as well as those looking to add to already expansive record collections. This is particularly evident in faster movements such as the fierce and brilliant fugal Gigue that concludes the Third Suite, or, in the E minor Fifth Suite, the extended fugal Prelude and the outer sections of its Passepied I. To me they work precisely because he teases so much out of each line. Some players have been too inclined to make heavy weather over this piece and I have sometimes been driven to despair by the seriousness with which the wonderfully unbuttoned Quodlibet (Var 30) is despatched. Lindsay Kemp (November 2001), Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists / Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Ólafsson’s notes tell of his discovery of Bach pianists as different as Edwin Fischer, Rosalyn Tureck, Dinu Lipatti, Glenn Gould and Martha Argerich. In truth, all the recent recordings of these sonatas have had their merits. Alongside the top-class and pliable choral singing of Polyphony comes the roll call of exceptional soloists – Nicholas Mulroy among them. Yet, when it came to the quality of his work, he produced more jewels than Bvlgari. Jed Distler (March 2019). Cogent examples of this include the E major Invention’s subtle off-beat accentuations between the hands, the C major’s unpressured dialogues, the D minor’s incisive vitality, and the F major Sinfonia’s easy bounce and gentle spring. So, ideally, you ought to listen first to Shibe’s previous two recordings to get the most out of this one. As a matter of tactics disregarding the printed order of the works, this second disc opens in the most effective way with a joyous performance of the ever-invigorating E major Preludio. International licensing, If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to, JS Bach: the 2020 Editor's Choice recordings, Recording Bach's Three-Part Inventions at home. This recording is not merely music therapy, however, but a genuine musical experience. But the instant he touches the piano such information becomes irrelevant. How do you embark on a new addition to the vast pile of Brandenburg Concerto recordings? This is an impressive and enjoyable CD that easily bears repeated listening – certainly I’ve played it many times already, and not just for reviewing purposes. James Jolly (January 2014), Vienna Concentus Musicus/ Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Leonhardt Consort / Gustav Leonhardt, In the 19 years since its inception, this cycle of all of Bach 's sacred cantatas in 45 volumes and on 83 discs has enriched the catalogue incalculably. The close, with its ingeniously compressed lines and the composer’s outrageous sign-off, literally spelling his name (B is B flat and H is B natural), is celebrated in some style by Suzuki. Monica Huggett’s musicianly readings are very rewarding and are warmly to be recommended. Each chorale is written to provide idiomatic opportunities to focus on intonation, balance, and expression, respectively. Butt makes a nice point in his booklet-note about how Bach’s Passion performances would have brought together in one project local singers of all abilities, from the soloists to the ‘motet choir’ to members of the congregation; and if his aim here has been to position this in the listener’s imagination and suggest the element of inclusive community that any Passion performance ought to have, well, it works for me. The orchestra is as skilled and musical as you like in their obbligatos, and exquisitely responsive to Gardiner’s subtle shapings – the string accompaniments to Christus’s recitatives, for instance, normally thought of as ‘haloes’, have never sounded so alert to the meaning of the Word. The performances, which were recorded during the tour, started to emerge on disc in 2005 and the first volume secured Gramophone’s Recording of the Year; the entire project was given a Special Achievement Award in 2011. The playing of the Gigues in the Partitas – and the final Capriccio in No 2 in C minor – invite the performer’s virtuosity as a welcome guest to the feast. Ah yes, ‘intellectual’ pianists, I hear you mutter. Lindsay Kemp (April 2017). Commenting that it is impossible to know the precise chronology of the Toccatas‚ Hewitt plays what she calls ‘an arbitrary sequence’‚ modestly aiming for a ‘satisfactory recital’. If on the piano, however, which isn’t a second-best, I incline to those exponents who are not apologetic about their instrument and at the same time show awareness, relish even, of what the best harpsichordists have achieved, from Gustav Leonhardt to Andreas Staier (I mention two exceptional players who have made complete sets). Mayhew Lake - G. Schirmer, Inc. For full band, brass choir, woodwind choir or even smaller ensembles, these 16 Bach chorales are the perfect way to begin any rehearsal. In the booklet he explains his thoughts about historically informed performance practice (one voice per part, following the evidence outlined in the writings of Joshua Rifkin and Andrew Parrott), and discusses his choice to make the first recording of Rifkin’s recent edition (which reconstructs Bach’s score c1749, without later accretions). Levit doesn’t disappoint. Less consistent are the solo movements. The aching ‘Erbarme dich’ of alto Eleanor Minney and violinist Kati Debretzeni expresses it perfectly, assuming the pain further unto itself in a barely breathed da capo, like a wounded bird. Top-notch recording quality, too. Elle ne contient que les chorals harmonisés à quatre voix. Noté /5. Here is the exception. Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 – … While all four of Bach’s have a kind of courtly nobility beyond that they range enormously: from the gracious sequence of dances in the First; via the catchy ‘Badinerie’ for flute that ends the Second; to the trumpets-and-drums opening of the Third; and finally the heady grandeur of the Fourth, easily one of the best Bach works, rivalling Handel’s most opulent creations in terms of pure pomp. Nicholas Anderson (April 1994). Andras Schiff, like Perahia, commands a wide range of colours, though the binding force of Perahia’s concentration – always a boon in his latest recordings – leaves the stronger impression. Johann Sebastian Bach: Chorales: Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh’ allzeit (Cantata, BWV 103) 30. The result is a potent artistic synergy between the musicians. If that sounds a little dry, then just remember this is Bach we’re talking about. This Perahia does with sovereign command, and his perceptive programme notes help illuminate the complexion of his thinking. How scrupulously she observes Bach’s moderato qualification in the C minor Toccata’s Allegro fugue‚ how delicate and precise her way with the same fugue’s return. That generosity of artistry directly results in some movements that are not only opened up to the listener as the masterworks they are but as paeans of heart-cracking joy. The B minor Corrente and D minor Allemande, for example, become more expressive through this subtle phrasing, and her G minor Presto and E major Prelude are not merely mechanically fluent. That certainly does not imply any absence of virtuosity: there have been few recordings of these pillars of the repertoire so impeccable in intonation and so free from any tonal roughness. On the evidence of this powerful, superbly framed and exceptionally judged account, Masaaki Suzuki may instead have reached a point where, over decades of intensely dedicated Bach performance, a revisiting simply became a necessary rite of passage – as it has for many before him. The sound quality is right on the mark and it verily feels as if one is present as he recorded it. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (November 2015), Jaime Martin fl Kenneth Sillitoe vn Jakob Lindberg theorbo ASMF / Murray Perahia. Levit’s musical personality is as integrated and mature as his technique. Perhaps no pianist since Charles Rosen has so persuasively demonstrated that this contrapuntal encyclopedia is to be heard as well as read. The great unfinished fugue is especially fascinating, gradually accumulating kinesis until the surge of B-A-C-H pulls us towards its unattained apotheosis with the force of the Severn Bore. The cello suites had never been recorded until Fred Gaisberg, after protracted efforts, finally persuaded Casals to play them for HMV: Nos 2 and 3 in London in November 1936, the rest in Paris in July 1938 and July 1939. None of those principles would be quite so valuable if the music-making wasn’t charismatic and refreshing. view details. The carefully balanced Sony recordings keep the sound frame tight and lively. He could be brilliant in execution – his technique was second to none, as he proves throughout this set – profound in utterance, aristocratic in poise and wonderfully coherent in his understanding of Bach's articulation and phrases. When these four sing together in the choruses, to be joined by four more ‘ripieno’ singers, their sound is pressing and urgent but never hectoring, so that whether representing a crowd baying for blood or a group of chastened or horror-struck sinners, they come across as a gathering of real people rather than a disembodied chorus. The solo movements are also bursting with personality, soprano Anna Zander delivering a robustly fluent “Et exultavit” and her counterpart, Maria Keohane, a sensually captivating “Quia respexit”, whose oboe d’amore obbligato dovetails her lines with imploring beauty. As you would imagine, surprises abound – some of which take a little getting used to. Choral versions of all these chorales may be found on YouTube by searching for the BWV number. In Anderszewski’s hands the First, Third and Fifth very much occupy their own worlds in terms of mood. His account of Kempff’s transcription of the chorale prelude Nun freut euch is less anchored by the chorale tune itself and more flighty in effect than Kempff’s own performances (Eloquence). There is no doubt, however, that both elements pay off here. Perahia brooks neither distraction nor unwanted mannerism. The faster movements are perhaps the most successful, full of buoyancy and energy without seeming rushed or pushed. Harnoncourt’s recording, taken from live performances in the Musikverein last Christmas, succeeds in this regard with uncanny freshness and generosity. Bach developed these movements to make thrilling conclusions, just as he had made the opening of each work something imposing and unexpected. Lionel Salter (January 1998). Invigorating, virtuosic playing of this kind deserves to win friends, and my recommendation is that, whether or not you already possess one or more recordings of the Goldbergs, you make a firm commitment to add this one to your library. Here, as elsewhere, her discipline is no less remarkable than her unflagging brio and relish of Bach’s glory. The Aria's return, too, is overwhelming in its profound sense of solace and resolution. This Bach recital, first issued in 1980, reissued in DG’s Galleria series and partially celebrated (the C minor Partita) in Philips’s Great Pianists of the Twentieth Century, is now revived on DG’s The Originals. Description. Fine recorded sound and strongly commended on virtually all counts. The recorded sound is full and forward. Tempos are brisk; but while there’s certainly not much risk of listeners thinking any of them too slow, neither does any one of them sound too fast, at least not the way they are performed here. His performance of the unaccompanied A minor Partita, for example, is nothing short of commanding: the control in articulation and breathing allows the phrasing to be flexible and unfussy. While Bach may have conceived his Inventions and Sinfonias as teaching pieces, Till Fellner’s intelligent and characterful pianism consistently embraces the music behind the method book. Achetez neuf ou d'occasion The excellent declamation, impeccable shaping of contrapuntal lines and flawless tuning of the Retrospect choir comes to the fore in the festive opening and closing choruses; the notably clean transparency between all four parts is achieved partly by an entirely male alto section but also by Halls’s astute ability to convey each strand of vocal and instrumental detail. Lindsay Kemp (April 2019), Alina Ibragimova vn Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen. The reconstruction then ends with a few liturgical nuts and bolts and a final chorale for the congregation. The soloist, Pierre Hantai, is a member of a talented French musical family who studied first with Arthur Haas, then with Gustav Leonhardt. And if that were not enough‚ the Freiburgers also give one of the most satisfyingly thoroughbred accounts of the Violin and Oboe Concerto that I have heard. The fashion these days is to return to Bach’s own transcriptions for keyboard as a repository for some speculative reworkings, and this approach inspires Alina Ibragimova’s varied, committed and poised readings of five solo concertos. A very different kind of dance reveals itself in the Gavotte II of the Third Suite, a musette in which he takes a more impish view than many, the sonorous drone effect contrasting delightfully with the tripping upper lines. Bach is given extensive treatment clearly showing the functional harmony that is implicit in his music by a thorough harmonic analysis underneath each phrase. ‘When in trouble, play Bach’ – wise advice from Edwin Fischer to a pupil. Fittingly, there is a long silence before the limpid Gavotte. Wednesday, January 6, 2021. You want to avoid weight, to find instead phrases of lightness and simplicity. History has not judged kindly the revisiting of major Bach choral works by eminent conductors. Combining old and new isn’t unusual because in the early years of period performing practices, the likes of Thurston Dart, Raymond Leppard and George Malcolm married a harpsichord to modern strings and wind. Everything here is energy, though the exuberance is of the grounded kind that never gets out of hand. Ewa Pobłocka’s name first came to my attention back in 1980, when she tied for fifth place in that year’s Warsaw International Chopin Competition, and Deutsche Grammophon issued a selection of her performances from that event on a bygone LP. Indeed, his ‘Ach mein Sinn’ conveys as rarely before the blend of inner mournfulness and savage panic which Bach inspires with this terse chaconne-inspired movement. With Levit, if you start at the beginning, you go on to the end; no question. She is adept at balancing the interplay of internal parts and at preserving continuity of line (as in the D minor Sarabande) and rhythmic flow despite the irruption of chords: only in places in the gigantic C major Fugue did I feel this under strain and at the start of the B minor Bourree lost. If they had wanted to be pedantically completist about it, we would have the Fifth Brandenburg and the Triple Concerto; instead we get the three known violin concertos plus the three most convincing reconstructions from harpsichord concertos, supplemented by a reconstruction of the putative early violin version of the B minor Flute Suite, and all neatly interspersed with arrangements of two of the organ sonatas and a clutch of cantata sinfonias (including the rarely heard, trumpet-and-drum-laden BWV1045, a violin concerto movement of some flashiness). Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano have gone for the latter approach and succeeded brilliantly. Butt and the Dunedins might not change any entrenched minds; but the climax of “Gratias agimus tibi” is as bold, resonant and glorious as anything one would expect (and not always get) from larger forces. He brings considerable character to the theme of the Aria variata, tending to choose faster tempos than Angela Hewitt (Hyperion, 10/04), to thrilling effect in Variations 2, 7 and 9, while Var 6 has a limpid beauty. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (May 2013), Sols; Concentus Musicus Wien & Arnold Schoenberg Choir / Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Bach puts the theme through myriad permutations of mood and speed, and when the theme returns unadorned at the end, the sense of a momentous journey is complete. It contains 149 chorale harmonisations (not 150 as is written on its title page) and originated around 1735. “Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben” (Bach’s model for the Agnus Dei of the B minor Mass) has wondrous unison playing from the first violins and sweet eloquence from Iestyn Davies; the accompaniment of flutes, oboe and upper strings for Sampson’s singing in “Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke” is also interpreted perfectly. David Vickers (Awards issue 2013), Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Petra Mullejans, Gottfried von der Goltz. Right now I can’t stop playing these discs. His command of colour is as striking here as it was on his recent CD of the Goldberg Variations (Sony Classical, 12/00), especially in the Adagio, which approaches cantorial heights of intensity. The Prelude is judged to perfection, combining energy and brilliance, the Fugue a model of crisp detail. Nikolaus Harnoncourt recorded the Christmas Oratorio 35 years ago (and there was a live Unitel video in 1981) but this is a musician whose third reading of the St Matthew Passion in 2000 plumbed depths of understanding and characterisation of a quite different order from his previous accounts. This might seem a time-honoured ambition and yet, for all the admirable qualities of, say, the RIAS Kammerchor under René Jacobs or the more recent reading from Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent, neither of these brings as ambitious a kaleidoscopic challenge to the listener in identifying renewed character and meaning as Gardiner aspires to. Bach was particularly admired for his keyboard skills, not least his knack for improvisation; much of his organ music probably started out life as just that – a doodle turned into something mighty. Her tendency to push the tempo contributes to the fireworks in the outer movements: an admirable riposte to the tyranny of the metronome! At every turn you get the sense of Bach flexing his compositional muscles in these early keyboard suites. By contrast, the F major Prelude and Fugue amounts to a masterclass in how to imbue détaché articulation with the utmost colour and character, not to mention trills that are impeccably precise yet never mechanical-sounding. As a necessary corollary‚ her performances could hardly be more stylish or impeccable‚ more vital or refined; and‚ as a crowning touch‚ Hyperion’s sound is superb. Passions are large-scale choral works telling of the suffering and death of Christ, and none come finer than those of Bach, of which two have come down to us: the St John and the St Matthew. Gramophone readers may be familiar with her acclaimed performance of Panufnik’s Piano Concerto with the composer conducting (RCA, 5/92), and a terrific recital of Polish songs where the pianist supports the mezzo-soprano Ewa Podles´ (CD Accord, 10/99). The source material comes from three popular melodies from Percy Grainger, reharmonized. This truly astonishing performance was recorded in 1981, 26 years after Gould's legendary 1955 disc. J.S. Bylsma's tempos tend to be faster than those of Fournier – that, after all has been a trend in baroque music over the past 20 years or so – but his conception of the music shares ground with that of Fournier. Are there any caveats? The Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes are a set he prepared in Leipzig during his last decade, from earlier works … But not once in the course of these three themes and 99 variations did I feel that such qualities were being self-consciously underlined. Sample what he does with the Fifth Suite’s bustling Bourrée, glistening and playful. This is not, by the way, a polite way of saying that the performance lacks expressive variety or that performing standards are modest. 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