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As with so much mainstream repertoire, the catalogue is so full of recordings — good and bad — that there often has to be some form of abstract justification to qualify any further additions. But the extraordinarily resonant sound he makes is probably less to do with the instruments than with the playing itself, which is warm, expansive, generous and friendly.
That is not to say that this performance is not of the highest level intellectually and technically: it is, and largely because of its appreciation of these suites as not just dances but discourses almost verbal in their directness. It is as if all the work that Watkin has ever done on these pieces has been absorbed absolutely and then reproduced in a performance that is able to be completely original in its voice at the same time as never producing a phrase that jars in its unsubtlety, or presents an ego that overarches the music.
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. If you only buy this disc for the Prelude of the C major Suite, for exactly that reason, it will be money well spent. At once we can recognize Podger's splendid rhythmic and tonal vitality not merely Bach's marked terraced dynamics but pulsatingly alive gradations within phrases , her extremely subtle accentuations and harmonic awareness note her change of colour at the move from E to C sharp major in bar 33 , are all within total technical assurances.
In the sonatas she shows other sterling qualities. This disc is a natural for my Critic's Choice of the year. With these impressive performances on her beautiful-toned Amati of the Solo Sonatas and Partitas Monica Huggett sweeps other baroque interpretations off the board. 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. Her rhythmic flexibility very marked in the Chaconne may upset some traditionalists, but it gives her readings a thoughtfully spontaneous air, and is always applied to clarify the phrasing.
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.
This is a glorious disc.
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Simply glorious. 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. Common to all is a sense of being fleet but never breathless, with time enough for textures to tell.
At every turn you get the sense of Bach flexing his compositional muscles in these early keyboard suites. And how Anderszewski can dance — at least at the keyboard — in a movement such as the Prelude of the Third Suite, urged into life through subtle dynamics, voicings, articulation and judicious ornamentation. 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. The way he has considered the touch and dynamic of every phrase means that these are readings that constantly impress with fresh details each time you hear them.
In fact the effect here is truly meditative. Fittingly, there is a long silence before the limpid Gavotte. Are there any caveats? Some might find the basic pulse of the First and Fifth Sarabandes perhaps too slow. To me they work precisely because he teases so much out of each line. And at every turn, he harnesses the possibilities of the piano in the service of Bach; the result is a clear labour of love, and one in which he shines new light on old music to mesmerising effect, all of which is captured by a warmly sympathetic recording and an engaging booklet-note by Mark Audus.
That might account for Murray Perahia — 70 next April — calling time on Sony Classical after an apparently happy marriage of 43 years. In the booklet interview Perahia reveals that his first encounter with Bach in concert was as a teenager when he heard Pablo Casals conducting the St Matthew Passion at Carnegie Hall. Perahia and Casals, though temperamentally very different, have in common a sense of bringing across Bach the man rather than Bach the god. As we expect from Perahia, everything sounds natural and inevitable. Or sample the Sarabande of the same suite, simultaneously intimate yet with true gravity.
Take the gigues, for instance. Preference will come down to personal taste. With some artists, you have a sense that their personality comes across most strongly in the main structural movements of the French Suites — the opening allemandes, pivotal sarabandes and closing gigues. But one of the delights of this set is what Perahia does with the in-between movements. Or take the pair of Gavottes from the Fourth Suite, the first purposefully busy, the second a moto perpetuo of sinew and determination, but both having — that word again — a real sense of joy.
Again, examples are manifold, but to take just one, try the Courante of the Sixth Suite, its streams of semiquavers and interplay between the hands a thing of delight. At the double bar, before the section repeat and before embarking on the second section, we get the slightest of hesitations, Perahia pausing just long enough to let the music breathe. All this would count for little were we not able to hear him in such beautifully immediate sound.
Of all the current doyens of modern Bach performance, Masaaki Suzuki knows no limits to his explorations.
The Pastorale, with its exquisite musette-like opening, whose subsequent C major movement trips along in a manner organists seem universally reluctant to pursue, is simply a pearl. The Fugue from the above-mentioned D minor is a case in point: the glistening parallel motion over the pedal at 3'20", often a bloated gesture, enticingly holds back to set up the rich-textured gravitas that follows. Inexorable momentum here is born of fervent authority, a virtuosity of combined effects without gratuitous excess.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Stravinsky was beguiled by the possibility of its intertwining lines in his inventive homage of , with its supra-polyphonic interpolations.
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Truly symphonic in grandeur, the work is harnessed impressively by this exceptionally experienced Bachian. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood October For the keyboard player, an engagement with Bach is a constant from childhood, and it becomes essential to daily life. For Beethoven, for Mozart in his maturity and for Chopin, it was the same.
Yet no music is more demanding to realise in sound, nor quicker to reveal inadequacies of perception. Which brings me to Igor Levit — and not a moment too soon, you may think. He played those sonatas as though he had lived with late Beethoven a long time and had perceived and understood everything. His versions of the six Bach Partitas show a comparable address and maturity.
Above all, they are fresh and joyous. How demanding they are. Complex music — but not complicated. Where other practitioners offer regular accents and a perhaps over-cautious traversal, tethered to the notes, Levit never fails to project a commanding overview — an aerial perspective, almost — in addition to the detail of phrasing and articulations and the nooks and crannies of melodic lines. Only the most gifted interpreters manage both. It energises his performances and makes them seem to inhabit a state of grace.
And it contributes to our enjoyment in another way, drawing us on as we listen and keeping us curious as to what lies around the next corner. A first impression might be of quicker tempi than usual and of a fleetness that challenges us to keep up. Yet one quickly registers that nothing, in fact, is rushed or driven too hard — not a phrase or a paragraph, nor even most important the execution of an ornament.
They are always a living feature of the line, arising from within, not stuck on from without. The majestic Sarabande of No 1 in B flat disc 1, tr 4 gets a minimum of graces in its repeats — barely noticeable indeed. Bach developed these movements to make thrilling conclusions, just as he had made the opening of each work something imposing and unexpected.
They help to make each partita announce itself as something ambitious and a unity, not just a succession of dances. With Levit, if you start at the beginning, you go on to the end; no question. Harpsichord or piano? Forget it. Or rather, let us have both. Well bravo to them. Bach, after all, can do the rest. Tempos, too, have a sense of rightness about them; the slightly excitable Pinnock of old has now become a fine and subtle judge of forward motion, shown to greatest advantage perhaps in his perfect reading of the giant Allemande from the Fourth Partita, a piece so hard to steer between the hasty and the leaden.
And he can sparkle when he needs to; try out the fizzing Corrente of the Sixth Partita. These are performances of enormous distinction, then, and it is a pleasure to welcome Pinnock back after such an absence. Yet even they will surely admit that these slightly later studio recordings carry an extraordinary authority and panache. It only remains to add that the dynamic range of these towering, intensely musical performances has been excellently captured by DG. His sonority is as ravishing as it is apt, never beautiful for its own sake, and graced with a pedal technique so subtle that it results in a light and shade, a subdued sparkle or pointed sense of repartee that eludes lesser artists.
Again, no matter what complexity Bach throws at him, Fischer resolves it with a disarming poise and limpidity, qualities as natural as they are profound. Impossible, however, not to mention in passing his ethereal start to the set that light, bouncing staccato above a singing bass-line in No 1 , or the disconsolate, phantom yet ordered voice he achieves in No 4. The contrapuntal flow of No 7 — initially grand, then reflective and finally free-wheeling — is realised to perfection, and what a virtuoso play of the elements he recreates in No 15!
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Turning to Book 2, you could hardly imagine a more seraphic utterance in No 3, later contrasted with the most skittish allegro reply. Since then she has pursued a steady and successful career as both soloist and chamber musician, with a sizeable discography to her credit. I hope that will not become the fate of this remarkable release. Her Bach has everything going for it: pianistic resourcefulness, keen polyphonic acumen, impeccable taste and an ability to imbue each Prelude and Fugue with a distinct point of view borne out of musical considerations.
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You notice this from the start. 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. Her E minor Fugue keeps the motoric momentum in the foreground without losing melodic direction, while her intriguing interplay of voices in the F minor Prelude retains textural distinctiveness and cogency throughout.
She holds interest in the long and difficult-to-sustain A minor Fugue by terracing the dynamics and incorporating myriad alternations of touch and timbre. I look forward to Book 2. Jed Distler March This Perahia does with sovereign command, and his perceptive programme notes help illuminate the complexion of his thinking. And while Glenn Gould achieves formidable levels of concentration especially in the second of his two commercial recordings for Sony , his gargantuan personality — utterly absorbing though it is — does occasionally intrude. Perahia brooks neither distraction nor unwanted mannerism.
Yes, there are fine-tipped details and prominent emphases sample the wildly accentuated bass-line in Variation 8 , but the way themes are traced and followed through suggests a performance where the shape of a phrase is dictated mostly by its place in the larger scheme of things. The opening Aria is crystalline, lively in tone and with a distinctly singing bass-line.
The first repeat is rather softer, whereas the first repeat of the first variation incorporates various added ornaments, a trend that registers time and again through the course of the performance. Middle voices are brought to the fore in Variation 3 and where, in Variation 4, Hewitt opens boldly and softens for the first repeat, Perahia reverses the process. Perahia never strikes a brittle note and yet his control and projection of rhythm are impeccable. He makes points without labouring them, which is not to deny either the brilliance or the character of his playing. Like Hewitt, he surpasses himself.
A quite wonderful CD. One of the first things to strike the listener in this new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations is the fine quality of Bruce Kennedy's copy of an early eighteenth-century instrument by the Berlin craftsman, Michael Mietke. Its character, furthermore, is admirably captured by the effectively resonant recorded sound, a shade too close for some ears, perhaps, but not for me. The soloist, Pierre Hantai, is a member of a talented French musical family who studied first with Arthur Haas, then with Gustav Leonhardt.
His approach to the Goldbergs is tremendously spirited and energetic but also disciplined. What I like most of all about this playing, though, is that Hantai clearly finds the music great fun to perform. 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.
Hantai makes each and every one of the canons a piece of entertainment while in no sense glossing over Bach's consummate formal mastery. Other movements, such as Var 7 gigue and Var 11, effervesce with energy and good humour. Yes, this is certainly the spirit which I like to prevail in my Goldberg Variations. The case was never solved, but those three individuals have remained the major suspects since the murderous act. The intimacy of two violins working together through tribulations and trials, romance, and violence seems to be a good starting point to explore the characters found in these works.
https://alevenen.ga Hopefully that is evident in our approach: to go beyond the technical challenges that they demand and convey a sense of who the man was and the relationships that he had. As a student she won every major Canadian music competition and in [ As a concertmaster, soloist, and chamber [ Jean-Marie Leclair. Gwen Hoebig Karl Stobbe. Release date February 02, Periods Baroque.
Genres Chamber Music Violin. Download the booklet. Buy the album. Archambault — CD. ArkivMusic — CD.