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! 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. 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.
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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.
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But, as I say, Hantai is careful to avoid anything in the nature of superficiality. Not for a moment is the listener given the impression that his view of the music is merely skin deep. Indeed, there is a marked concentration of thought in canons such as that at the fourth interval Var Elsewhere, I found Hantai's feeling for the fantasy and poetry of Bach's music effective and well placed such as in Var Little more need be said except that Hantai has taken note of Bach's autograph corrections to the text published in Nuremberg in or by Balthasar Schmid. 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.
The Ouverture Var 16 , the Quodlibet and much else here have an irresistible esprit , a happy conjunction of heart and mind. Another triumph for an enterprising label. Nicholas Anderson April This truly astonishing performance was recorded in , 26 years after Gould's legendary disc. Gould was not in the habit of re-recording but a growing unease with that earlier performance made him turn once again to a timeless masterpiece and try, via a radically altered outlook, for a more definitive account.
By his own admission he had, during those intervening years, discovered 'slowness' or a meditative quality far removed from flashing fingers and pianistic glory. And it is this 'autumnal repose' that adds such a deeply imaginative dimension to Gould's unimpeded clarity and pin-point definition. The Aria is now mesmerically slow.
The tremulous confidences of Variation 13 in the performance give way to something more forthright, more trenchantly and determinedly voiced, while Var. Variation 21 is painted in the boldest of oils, so to speak, and most importantly of all, Landowska's 'black pearl' Var. The Aria's return, too, is overwhelming in its profound sense of solace and resolution. Personally, I wouldn't want to be without either of Gould's recordings yet I have to say that the second is surely the finest. The recording is superb and how remarkable that what are arguably Gould's two greatest records should be his first and his last.
Now he confirms his appetite for the big entrance with three monuments to variation form, each rooted in its own century, yet all united by the harnessing of maximum variety, maximum discipline. But the instant he touches the piano such information becomes irrelevant. Certainly he can muster all the athleticism, velocity and finesse of a competition winner ready to burst on to the international scene. But like the rarest of that breed — a Perahia, say — his playing already has a far-seeing quality that raises him to the status of the thinking virtuoso.
There is, if you care to rationalise, a Russian depth of sound and eloquence of phrasing, tempered by Germanic intellectual grasp. There is also a sense of exulting in technical prowess and energy. But not once in the course of these three themes and 99 variations did I feel that such qualities were being self-consciously underlined.
Concerto No. 3 in D minor (from Marcello: Ob Conc) Sheet Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
But such fine nuances only emerge in the dutiful process of comparison, rather than in the wholly absorbing experience of Levit traversing another musical peak. Top-notch recording quality, too. If a finer piano recording comes my way this year I shall be delighted, but frankly also astonished. This included the concertos of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov and, in , he gave a New York recital entirely devoted to contemporary music. Here you will search in vain for the sort of muddles or confusions that would sometimes plague his performances evidence of his proud boast that he did little practice.
His Bach has a peerless lightness, grace and natural beauty, the reverse of Teutonic earnestness and heaviness. This is Bach-playing to listen to every day, fresh, spry and well modulated. The tripping, French swagger of Contrapuncti 2 and 6 and the smart Italian cut of No 9 fit neatly under the fingers. 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.
Perhaps no pianist since Charles Rosen has so persuasively demonstrated that this contrapuntal encyclopedia is to be heard as well as read. That impression is deepened by this disc: here is an artist who palpably adores and reveres JSB in equal measure, and makes sense of a programme that could have sounded bitty — 35 tracks, with the biggest work being the youthful Aria variata alla maniera italiana. From this, he has found his own way with Bach — highly individual but never mannered.
We then get another dash of cold water in the C minor Prelude and Fugue from Book 1. The Prelude is judged to perfection, combining energy and brilliance, the Fugue a model of crisp detail. Even an outwardly simple piece such as the A major Invention, BWV, is full of interest, the energy infectiously joyous, the trills razor-sharp. He ends his journey with the A minor Fantasia and Fugue, BWV, which again is unerring in its sense of build, the closing bars of the Fugue making a fittingly grandiose conclusion to the disc.
The best is as good as anyone anywhere — and the whole, of the six complete cantata sets, probably the most consistent. Now all 56 CDs have been gathered together in an elegant black box. But it is the impact of this music that makes it such an achievement: Bach squares up to the highs and lows of mankind, and our baser motives and higher aspirations are engaged with in a musical language that transcends the passing of time.
James Jolly January 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. Beside the more glamorous projects that have captured the attention in the sphere of period performance, the work of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt and their colleagues in Amsterdam and Vienna has progressed steadily and with consummate musicianship.
Each volume in this monumental project offers rich rewards and bears witness not only to Bach's unparalleled genius but to the remarkable consistency and imagination of the many performers who have contributed to it over the years. It is a series that was started long before cycles and integrales became the fashion and it stands to outlive many of the cycles that have come and gone during the last two decades.
James Jolly October While he has only recorded the work once before, in , performances of the work have peppered his career in all four corners of the globe. If there was anything Gardiner learnt from the monumental traversal of the cantatas during that great millennium year, it was to take longer-breathed interpretative positions with Bach and to know when to let the singers, especially, and the music do the work.
How can it be uncovered without pressing too hard on the tempi or under-curating those reflections of discrete stillness? Less consistent are the solo movements. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood December There are few who strive sincerely to juxtapose the bedfellows of academic rigour and inspired musicianship.
Given his recent Handelian activity at the helm of the Dunedin Consort and Players, some might have forgotten that John Butt is a Bach research specialist and author of the Cambridge Handbook on the Mass in B minor. This performance demands to be heard. Butt has considered every musical connection, context, texture and form. Each section of the Roman Ordinary is envisaged as continuous music, so there are no pregnant pauses between solo and choral movements.
Thomas Hobbs and Matthew Brook sing the principal lower-voice contrapuntal passages with sensitive blend and superb intonation: they also declaim their solo movements with confidence and eloquence. Once upon a time the bravery of minimal forces tackling this repertoire was ridiculed by sniffy sceptics.
The sonorities of full homophonic chords concluding the grandest choruses are thrilling, whereas the densely polyphonic choral passages always possess clarity and logic thanks to the disciplined interplay of the singers. Many excellent recordings of this monumental work cater for different tastes and priorities.
Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052R (Bach, Johann Sebastian)
Z II. Z I. Albums See All. Live Albums See All. Compilations See All. About Alessandro Marcello Music was not the livelihood for this Venetian composer. Arranger Robert Reitz — , reconstruction. Of all things here, scanning was rather difficult: The printing is pale, the paper yellowed. For the 3rd movement I used a different method. Arranger Robert Reitz. Plate N. XVIII 2.