In the Inventions, Jansen is an equal partner with violist Maxim Rysanov and cellist Torleif Thedéen in performances of wit, feeling, and subtle grace. In the Partita and especially its excruciatingly ecstatic Chaconne, Jansen delivers consummate musicality and surpassing emotional honesty. Decca's sound is close and evocative.
The Inventions and Sinfonias are fairly low profile works of Bach's and, unfortunately, not often performed. However, we should know that Bach did not reserve all his best composition into his larger scale pieces but also ensured that his shortest, least grandiose, pieces were put together with the same dedication and quality. And so it is with the Inventions and Sinfonias. Invention is the term Bach used here to refer to a short Prelude-like piece with two independent voices - one from the left hand one from the right which are generally working fairly independently.
The Ensemble Pygmalion directed by Raphaël Pichon commences its collaboration with Harmonia Mundi with this new recording of J.S. Bach’s lost music to the Köthener Trauermusik (Cöthen funeral music), BWV 244a. Founded in 2006 at the European Bach Festival, Ensemble Pygmalion is a combination of choir and orchestra - all young performers with experience of authentic instruments and period-informed performance. Its repertoire concentrates primarily on Johann Sebastian Bach and Jean-Philippe Rameau.
I've been listening to Brandenburgs non-stop for the past three weeks, for some reason. I love the Ristenpart recording, and I like the Britten version even better in some ways. This Baumgartner recording has a certain elegance. The pace is a tad slower and the ambience a bit thicker. The second movement of the first Brandenburg hits that emotional place a bit better than in the Britten version. I would be hard pressed to say which I prefer overall, but on first listening I sure loved this recording.
Johann Sebastian Bach played the violin “cleanly and with a penetrating tone…” At the time his son CPE Bach wrote this phrase to a musicologist and Bach’s early biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel in 1774, the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin were known to a relatively small but steadily growing circle of enthusiasts. Although the demand problem was eventually solved by the appearance of the first printed editions around the turn of the century, it took another five decades before Bach’s sonatas and partitas came to the attention of a broader public. Arrangements of the violin solos for other instruments offer new expressive opportunities. For this album, Florian Klaus Rumpf has transcribed and recorded the first three of the six violin solos for the mandolin. Florian Klaus Rumpf decided to begin studying mandolin at the age of seven. In 2006 Florian entered the University of Music and Dance in Wuppertal, where he studied the modern mandolin and a wide range of historical instruments, including the six-course Baroque mandolin and the 8-course mandolone. He is in high demand as a soloist, tutor, and conductor of mandolin orchestras.
Gustav Maria Leonhardt was one of the best-known leaders of the Early Music movement. A harpsichordist and organist and later a conductor, he was credited with being one of the most important figures in establishing the Netherlands as one of the main centers of period music performances. He had a classical education, then entered the Schola Cantorum in Basle. There he studied organ and harpsichord with Eduard Müller.