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.
This is a superb recording of the Two-Part and Sinfonias (Three-Part Inventions) of Johann Sebastian Bach. Kenneth Gilbert is a wonderful interpreter of Bach's keyboard music and in this recording plays an instrument made in 1671 by Jan Couchet that was subsequently enlarged in 1778. The Two-Part Inventions and Sinfonias consist of 15 parts; they were written as technical exercises and as composition demonstration pieces originally for his son Wilhelm Friedemann. The various pieces were probably written separately and were gathered together by Bach in major/minor key sequence and published in 1723. The recording is clear and well balanced. Kenneth Gilbert plays beautifully; the music is lively without being ostentatious.
Simone Dinnerstein has been described as “a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess” by Slate magazine and praised by TIME for her “arresting freshness and subtlety”. The New York-based pianist gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations which she raised the funds to record. Released in 2007, it ranked No. 1 on the US Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many ‘Best of 2007’ lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her follow-up album, The Berlin Concert, also gained the No. 1 spot on the Chart.