Wanda Landowska brought the Goldbergs out of hiding on the harpsichord in the '40s and Glenn Gould made them a bonafide hit on the piano in the '50s, opening the floodgates for keyboardists of all stripes. So, in one of his earlier recorded voyages into the classical world, Keith Jarrett is up against an imposing legacy as he tackles what has become the most famous set of variations in Western music. First, he chooses to play them on a double-manual harpsichord – which makes the task somewhat easier, avoiding the finger-tangling cross hand difficulties that can trip up a piano performance.
Jarrett plays brilliantly.
Personally, I love Jarrett's playing; he is one of the most sensitive and lyrical of contemporary pianists, and his long illness has deprived us of what would surely have been a larger body of baroque music recordings. So make your own mind up.
I highly recommend this collection to lovers of Bach, Jarrett and the diabolical harpsichord.
Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has recorded Bach before, on both piano and harpsichord. His interpretations are not jazz versions of Bach but are played straight. In this case you might say relatively straight, for Bach's sonatas for violin and keyboard, BWV 1014-1019, were written for a harpsichord and are generally played that way; somehow the ear is jarred more by the piano here than in Bach's solo keyboard music (which Jarrett has also recorded). Jarrett fans will find the evidence of his characteristic style not in rhythmic inflections toward jazz but in his way of sustaining notes, which is never excessive.
Two of vibraphonist Gary Burton's albums from 1969-1970 are reissued in full on this single CD. Burton teams up with pianist Keith Jarrett for five numbers (including four of Jarrett's originals) in 1970, using a quintet that also features guitarist Sam Brown, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bill Goodwin. The other session has more of an avant-country flavor, with Burton, Swallow, and Goodwin joined by guitarist Jerry Hahn and violinist Richard Greene; Michael Gibbs and Swallow contributed most of the obscurities. Burton was at his most explorative during this period, which is why he can be considered one of the pioneers of fusion (although his music never really fit into a tight category). This is excellent music that mostly still sounds fresh.
It is 22 years since Savall and Koopman first recorded the Bach gamba sonatas, in the days when Koopman still looked like he should have been presenting The Old Grey Whistle Test. This release for Savall's own Alia Vox label, however, is right up to date, a tame-haired Koopman and an amazingly unaltered Savall having set them down at the beginning of this year. The recording's quick turnaround is a fitting reflection of the state of the musical relationship that has obtained between these two ever since they first performed together in 1970 after only half an hour's rehearsal. Make no mistake, these Bach performances are right in the slot.
Many works by the Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri are completely inspired by the style of ‘Tango Nuevo’ in terms of form and harmony, as is also the case with the tango mass Misa a Buenos Aires, composed in 1996. In his Misatango the composer combines the text of the Latin mass with the traditional music of his homeland, making the classical Roman Catholic mass, such as it has been set to music for centuries, appear in new apparel. Martin Palmeri was recently awarded First Prize in the Choral Arrangement Competition organized by AAMCANT, as well as First Prize in the National Choral Arrangement Competition by The National University of Rosario. Several of his works have been recorded, and he regularly takes part on the adjudication of choral festivals across Europe. It is fitting, considering Palmeri’s stylistic influences, that the ensemble led by Ulrich Stotzel has chosen to juxtapose works by Astor Piazzolla and Ismael Spitalnik with Palmeri’s mass.
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.
When he originally recorded this album in 2006, cellist Matt Haimovitz, a player with an insatiable musical curiosity, was already exploring more unusual repertoire. In this case, he tackles Mozart’s enchanting and strangely neglected Divertimento, K. 563, with its sublime, slow second movement, plus a trio of Mozart’s arrangements of preludes as well as ingenious and miraculously handled fugues by Bach. Haimovitz is joined by Jonathan Crow (violin) and Douglas McNabney (viola), who play as one yet also each bring an attractive personality to the music. This is wonderfully generous chamber music-making, and a joy to eavesdrop on.
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.