Gidon Kremer has again recorded the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin of Bach and while his facility and technical grace are intact, in this recording he appears to have been deeply influenced by his time with the moderns (Adams, Pärt, Schnittke, Piazzola, Glass, et al). For this listener it seems that studying and performing these contemporary composers' manipulation of sound and instrumental scope has enriched Kremer's thought about the perfection of Bach. Not everyone will agree with Kremer's approach to these works on this new recording, but for those who know Bach's solo violin pieces there are pleasures in store. Remaining technically suave and with a luxuriant tone, Kremer seems to be communicating with the psychological Bach, offering different tempi and more soulful approaches than those of his colleagues. The results are mesmerizing. Highly recommended.
There are many apocryphal stories in the classical-music world, but the one in which Frederick the Great challenged Bach to improvise a six-part fugue on a theme of the king's own invention is true, and The Musical Offering was, after a period of further reflection, the result. As with all the works of Bach's later years, the work is both great art and a "teaching piece," which shows everything that he thought could be done with the king's theme. The Trio Sonata based on the theme is the only major piece of chamber music from Bach's last decades in Leipzig, and that makes the work and essential cornerstone of any Bach collection. This performance, led by Neville Marriner, is both polished and lively, and very well recorded. At a "twofer" price, coupled with The Art of Fugue, it's the preferred version of the work on modern instruments.
BBC New Generation Artist Beatrice Rana sets her sights on Bach in this dignified reading of the Goldberg Variations. Treating every ornamentation and run with stately regard, Rana delivers a deep, meditative interpretation. Its closing “Aria” sounds so delicate that it feels at risk of floating away.
Marc and Pierre Hantaï meet for a new fraternal adventure around the tutelary figure of J.S. Bach. These pieces for flute and harpsichord, whose writing is certainly one of the most accomplished of the baroque repertoire, allow at the same time the most touching expressive possibilities.
When it came to writing Passions, C. P. E. Bach was certainly far more prolific than his father, whose St. Matthew Passion is by far and away the model against which all others are currently measured. He wrote 21 of these, or rather, he wrote bits and pieces of each one, the rest of which was cobbled together from works by his contemporaries and even his father.
Thomas Dunford continues to expand his discography on Alpha with a programme of solo lute works by J.S. Bach, recorded in the ideal surroundings of the Salle de Musique of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. He performs an original composition by Bach for lute, the Suite in G minor BWV 995, as well as his own arrangements of the (Cello) Suite BWV 1007 and the famous Chaconne from the Partita BWV 1004 – the latter piece has a notorious reputation for being (virtually) unplayable, at least on the violin!
Transcribing compositions was a common practice in the Baroque era, and Johann Sebastian Bach frequently recycled his own music, perhaps most famously in his versions for lute. This 2017 Linn release by lutenist William Carter offers meticulous performances of the Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001, and the Suite in E major, BWV 1006a, both adapted from the original versions for unaccompanied violin, and the Suite in G minor, BWV 995, arranged from the Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011, for unaccompanied cello.