The legendary Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire specializes in the 19th century and has turned to recording Bach in his eighth decade, apparently for the first time. All you can say is that it was worth the wait. His Bach is typically restrained, not unaware of the long tradition of Bach piano performances, but decidedly unlike anyone else's approach. In general, Freire is pianistic without applying a lot of pedal.
Bach’s keyboard works known as the English Suites offer a series of dance movements which, despite their name, owe more to earlier French and German models. This is the first of two recordings of the complete English Suites arranged for two guitars by the distinguished Montenegrin Guitar Duo. Transcriptions of Bach for solo guitar have been popular since the nineteenth century and the emergence of the guitar duo extends still further the potential for exciting and revelatory performances.
Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach’s second son Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788), Mozart said “he is the father, we are the children”. Indeed, Carl Philipp Emanuel is one of the major musical figures of this key period, the turning point between the baroque and classical aesthetics. Although he left a large body of work written for instruments of all kinds, the keyboard was always his favourite. He produced a number of collections for it, featuring numerous sonatas and freestyle works such as fantasias, a genre in which he excelled. Aline Zylberajch and Alice Piérot offer a selection of pieces for both violin and keyboard and solo keyboard, all composed during Carl Philipp Emanuel’s mature years, from the 1760s up until his death.
In a church in a quiet northern Italian town survives a hidden jewel: an organ dating from 1749 which is perfect for Bach’s music. In this recording, renowned Italian organist Luca Guglielmi presents a fine sequence of some of Bach’s finest keyboard works, played on the historic organ in the Chiesa di San Nicolao, Alice Castello. The programme is compiled from works by Bach collected by two eighteenth century scholars, Padre Martini and Friedrich Wilhelm Rust, which would surely have been performed in the famous Abbey of Montecassino, a magnet for musical travellers on ‘The Grand Tour’. Martini and Rust played a major role in the creation of the first collected edition of Bach’s works. Guglielmi’s neatly-structured programme includes the brilliant Fantasia Chromatica, the solemn Fuga sopra il Magnificat, the fine Fantasia pro Organo in C minor and the great Fantasia & Fuga pro Organo, as well as Preludes and Fantasias, Duetti from the Clavierübung and seven Chorales for the Catechism, all demonstrating the vivid colours of this remarkable instrument.
The new solo album of Toyohiko Satoh, the 72 year old Japanese lutenist who is considered my many as one of the most influential lute players of the last century, presents a well-known repertoire of baroque lute music. Mr. Satoh was the first lutenist to record Bach’s lute music on LP in the 70s (Phillips). Now he returns to this music 40 years later, delivering a completely different rendering of these iconic pieces. His playing has been influenced much by his studies of traditional Japanese arts such as tea ceremony, No-theater and Zen meditation. So here we are presented a recording that draws from the deep silence within, from the awareness of everything in the universe being connected, and from the understanding of Bach’s music as a universal, almost superhuman symbol of completeness.
One of the many delights coming from Frans Brüggen’s distinguished career has been the understanding which he brings to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach – such as here with the St. John Passion – whether on the concert platform or on record. Brüggen’s cultured feeling for Bach’s musical structures as much as for its style and expressive content permits a textural clarity enjoyed by few of his directing colleagues. A special wealth of experience in the music of Bach has also been gained by the members of the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century across the three decades of its existence and as part of its regular concert series (there have now been over a hundred of these tours!) and with a concentrated opportunity to focus on one work, Bach’s masterpiece was performed and recorded in Spring 2010.