From the irresitably forceful opening bars of the English Suite's prelude to the throbbing repeated octaves of the D minor concerto, Richter shows why many of Bach's works are ideally suited to the piano. The Bach concerto is often regarded as a student piece, or relegated to refined performances on the harpsichord. Not here – the bookend movements are as maniacal, pulsing and driving as the best of John Coltrane or Prokofiev. The CD is worth it just for those movements, but Richter's treatment of the English Suite is equally enlightening, especially the Prelude and Gavotte.
Carmignola’s fiery and successful “Vivaldi con moto” is followed by a more subtle and traditional Bach Concerto recording, a Co-Production between Deutsche Grammophon and Deutschlandfunk. Carmignola and Concerto Koln bring new and outstanding colors into this often recorded repertoire, and their temperamental performance introduces a sparkling and thrilling interpretation of Bach’s concertos. Carmignola is a unique artist and one of today’s most charismatic and captivating violinists, prompting The Strad to say “Timing is everything, and Carmignola has the timing of Sinatra. Rubato, portamento, pauses, tight-rope showmanship.” For the Double Concerto, Carmignola is joined by Mayumi Hirasaki on the first violin.
For those that prefer to hear these works on piano rather than harpsichord, you can hardly find more enjoyable, illuminating, and elegant performances than these. Andras Schiff has surely become one of the most prominent proponents of J.S. Bach on the piano. He is a true master, and the Bach Concerto recordings with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, led by Schiff himself, exemplify this and count as essential listening.
The programme chosen for this CD by the eminent early music specialist Rinaldo Alessandrini and performed by members of his hand-picked ensemble Concerto Italiano illustrate most of the forms that instrumental music adopted in the course of the seventeenth century. Amongst the composers featured are Giovanni Gabrieli, Frescobaldi, Zanetti, and Torelli, as well as lesser known figures of the period including Giovanni de Macque, Evaristo dall’Abaco, and Giovanni Bononcini.
Recordings of Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Op. 56, by a piano trio rather than by a group of virtuosi (a configuration that almost always misunderstands the work) are not abundant. Still rarer are those like the present release by the Storioni Trio, a Dutch group that takes its name from the maker of the 1790s instrument played by the violinist (and strung, like the viola, with gut strings). Pianist Bart van de Roer plays an 1815 Lagasse fortepiano. This recording is part of a series devoted to Beethoven's piano trios, but the Triple Concerto actually is more comfortable in those surroundings than when forced to keep company with the likes of the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61.