The violinist Chiara Zanisi works with the finest early music ensembles, notably the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra under Ton Koopman, with whom she has just finished a long tour performing the Six Brandenburg Concertos. She now devotes her first solo recording to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin. Alongside her is Giulia Nuti, among the most brilliant harpsichordists and scholars in Italy, whose solo CD Les Sauvages: Harpsichords in pre-Revolutionary Paris (DHM) won a Diapason d’Or, among other awards. The kernel from which this project grew is their strongly shared idea that, in addition to great stylistic richness and invention, Bach’s music possesses an aura of magic and an almost divine form.
"Bach's unfinished Art of Fugue, published for still-debated reasons in open score, has been performed and recorded in dozens of different instrumental versions. But this one, by the veteran Akademie für alte Musik, founded in the former East Berlin, is unique; few others have differentiated the fugues by instrumental forces deployed, and perhaps in none has the overall effect been quite so kaleidoscopic as this one. (…) The sound engineering, a product of Berlin's Teldex Studio, is a major strong point." ~allmusic
"…an hour of wonderfull Bachplaying on an assortment of ‘wrong’ instruments (…) This is an unusual Bach disc, but one which both revels in the music of the moment and reveals its timelessness." ~Gramophone
…Balsom's tone is tighter and darker than André's, and she excels at legato playing, while remaining within an appropriate style. She is not as "punchy" as André often can be. Given her age and her educational background – she was a pupil of Håkan Hardenberger and John Wallace – she is likely to be a versatile and stylistically informed player no matter what she does. This is an impressive CD, and while it touches no deep emotional wells, it invites the listener to stay tuned!
"…Preston's playing is lucid, alert, and incisive, and his choices of stops produce clear tones that make the counterpoint utterly transparent. If one listens to several discs in a row, Preston's consistently bright sonorities and mostly brisk tempos may seem a little predictable, but any perceived lack of variety is certainly compensated by his skill and thorough mastery of this massive body of work. These recordings present the organs in nearly ideal conditions, with superb sound quality in moderately resonant spaces and without the usual blemishes associated with church recordings, such as the noises of the instruments' mechanisms or random background distractions…" ~AMG
This is the fourth volume of ATMA's ongoing Bach Cantata cycle and it is a big improvement over Bach: Cantatas BWV 1, 82, 147 - Montréal Baroque because Eric Milnes has moderated his previous excesses of interpretative choices. Now pauses fit in the overall conception of phrases and the longer line is immediately identifiable without recourse to a score…