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Solo Piano - Released September 7, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Solo Piano - Released September 11, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released October 7, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Le Choix de France Musique
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Duets - Released January 12, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
The six Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord BWV 1014-1019 (“obbligato” – compulsory – means the keyboard is fully scored, as opposed to basso continuo for which only the bass is scored, the rest being left to the discretion of the performer, who improvises) are some of these works that Bach kept revisiting and reworking. The oldest remaining source – from around 1725, through one of his nephews – already highlights the will to make these compositions evolve by refining them with successive adjustments. The work underwent another overhaul in Agricola’s manuscript, around 1741, while a copy made around 1750 by Altnickol reveals a third cycle status. An observation made by the musician’s second youngest son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach – “He wrote these trios just before his end” – seems to have been interpreted as proof that Bach was still working on these sonatas in the last years of his life. This new recording by Isabelle Faust, a great specialist of baroque interpretation, and Christian Bezuidenhout on the harpsichord, discretely reveals the extraordinary richness of these works’ three-voice writing, that resembles the format of a trio sonata. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 6, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Careful, you don’t want to miss this! For ten years, there have been so many Goldberg Variations invading the market, both on piano and on harpsichord, that we didn’t expect to be so surprised, to feel such amazement. After several absolutely fascinating projects, first with Pan Classics (Scarlatti, Soler), then a first album with Harmonia Mundi devoted to Padre Soler rare Sonatas (awarded with a Qobuzism), here again comes Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares—born in Vigo in 1983—playing Johann Sebastian Bach, with probably one of the Cantor’s most complex works; Diego Ares astonishes with his rigor, his imagination and his freedom, both in the phrasing, the registrations, the ornamentation, the sense of surprise (Variation 25). The harmonies sound implacable, often harsh, yet still radiate in a supreme way (Variation 28); this is the left hand, full and musical, but above all incredibly flexible, that is also able to rear up, to create sometimes surprising suspensions in time, always fluid and coherent, which opens real places of communication and distinguish the amazing narrative sense deployed by Diego Ares throughout this interpretation. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released October 13, 2017 | SDG

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
So much can be said about this new recording featuring among others − but as the pièce de résistance − Bach’s Magnificat, performed by John Eliot Gardiner, that we simply don’t know where to start! In 1983 – already 35 years ago! – Gardiner gave his first vision of Magnificat BWV 234 in D major; here the version in question is the BWV 234a in E flat major, the original and initial version, the – extended – one Bach wrote as soon as 1723 while the BWV 234 version (more often played nowadays) only arose from adjustments made ten years later. Of course one can debate on the advantages of one over the other but for this recording, Gardiner put emphasis on the brilliance, vibrancy and stunning virtuosity imposed by the E-flat major tone and vigorous tempi, in other words: undeniably modern! Magnificat is preceded by the Mass in F major, one of Bach’s four Lutheran masses, proper gems that are too rarely performed. It’s worth noting that most movements are recycled from previous cantatas, but with thorough rewrites of course! You’ll also find one of Gardiner’s favourite cantatas, Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt (Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes), BWV 151, composed for the Christmas period. With his English Baroque Soloists, his Monteverdi Choir and a broad group of soloists (the alto parts are given to a male voice, it’s worth mentioning in case… it’s not your cup of tea), Gardiner is once again standing on top of a great success.
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 9, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 17, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
What do you mean, “Six evolutions”? It’s an intriguing title, almost esoteric… The cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who needs no introduction after a worldwide career of some fifty years, pens here his third (and ultimate, according to him) recording of Bach’s Solo Cello Suites. The first, while he was in his twenties, gave rise to enthusiasm, the second—in his forties—gave rise to emotion, so what will this final vision give rise to, now that he is in his late sixties? Serenity and joy, probably, and the completion of a triple discographic evolution. That being said, we still cannot explain the “Six evolutions”, and you will have to dive into a small corner of the accompanying booklet to find an indication, giving little more information, it is true, since it comes with no clarification: 1) Nature is at play, 2) Journey toward the light, 3) Celebration, 4) Construction/Development, 5) The struggle for hope, and 6) Epiphany. Well… Whatever it be, and despite what he said—and the amazing quality of this interpretation—let’s meet in 2038 to find out if he doesn’t decide to give a new interpretation in his eighties! © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
We can only welcome the appearance of new recordings of Bach's Motets: these unique works which defy classification are also often difficult to date accurately. The common factor shared by those Motets which have survived to the present day (because many were lost) appears to be the purely choral conception of the musical discourse, from end to end, the absence of instrumentation - if they are played with instruments, the latter only back up the choral parts (excluding the BWV118, initially believed to be a cantata as it was written with a small musical accompaniment, but the form remains that of a short motet, hence the uncertainty about which classification to give it) - the deliberate archaism  of the words, and the likely funereal purpose of most of the works. The Norwegian Soloists' Choir (Det Norske Solistkor) is one of the foremost Norwegian musical ensembles and one of the best chamber choirs in Europe. The choir is just as comfortable with the classical/romantic repertoire as with contemporary music and makes frequent forays into music derived from romantic national folkloric works. The ensemble was founded in 1950 by the composer Knut Nystedt, who led it for four decades. In 1990, he was succeeded by Grete Pedersen, and she now directs the group - with the help of the Allegria Ensemble, also Norwegian - for this fine recording. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released October 11, 2007 | Mirare

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Violin Solos - Released September 8, 2017 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Of course, since years Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin have been recorded over and over again, including by world’s best and most prestigious solists. But when violinist Christian Tetzlaff releases a brand new recording, we can only say: “Friends, countrymen, lend Qobuz your ears”. Concerts with Christian Tetzlaff often become an existential experience for interpreter and audience alike; old familiar works suddenly appear in an entirely new light, also – of course – within the frame of a new studio recording such as this one. Essential to Tetzlaff’s approach are the courage to take risks, technical brilliance, openness and alertness to life. Such an interpretation becomes a real challenge for the aficionado and guarantees a brilliant musical adventure.
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Solo Piano - Released February 10, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz (pronunciation perilous for non-Poles, but try "BLEH-hotch") made his name as a young Chopin specialist, but has often featured Bach's Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971, in concert. The Bach-Chopin connection is one that would have made perfect sense to Chopin himself, and here Blechacz expands it to full program length, with impressive results indeed. He may remind you of Dinu Lipatti, another Eastern European Chopin player whose Bach was haunting: sample the gentle and yet awesomely clear first movement of the Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825. Blechacz's Italian Concerto has great forward urgency without ever breaking tempo. The program has an intelligent structure of its own, placing the rather rare Four Duets, BWV 802-805 -- essentially expanded two-part inventions -- at the center: the music seems to enter a deeper chromatic realm and then slowly depart from it with another partita, and finally, with the arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Dame Myra Hess, another pianist whom Blechacz may bring to mind. If it seems wrong to bring up these big names, well, just give the album a listen. With this release Blechacz definitively transcends young phenom status. The metal-oriented Friedrich-Ebert-Halle arena in Ludwigshafen is a bit large and impersonal for what Blechacz is trying to do here, although everything's clear.
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Chamber Music - Released March 11, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 4F de Télérama
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Duets - Released January 26, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
The Hantaï brothers – Marc on traverso and Pierre on the harpsichord – give us here everything Bach “really” composed for flute and harpsichord, as some possible falsely attributed works are not featured here. Compared to the violin – which counts six sonatas and partitas for solo violin and six sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord – the transverse flute may look like the forgotten sibling in the Kantor’s works. But at the time the transverse flute was still a very recent instrument, that had just come (back) from France (where it was called the “German flute”) and Bach only started using it in his cantatas around 1721-1722, and therefore only had a very limited dedicated repertoire. These four sonatas are anything but a collection. Two are missing to reach the sacred number of six. Furthermore, they were composed over a period of twenty years. And while one may be tempted to confer them the balance and symmetry desired by the arranger – two sonatas with obbligato harpsichord (BWV1034 and 1035), two with basso continuo (1030 and 1032), two in minor, two in major, two in three movements, two in four, two in E, and two fifths ascending or descending from this central E, etc. –, all of it might be merely fortuitous; they are rather a “blended” family. However these works for flute have in common the fact of being clouded by great uncertainty – whether it is about their chronology, the date of composition, the intended recipient, their form, their main instrumentation, their creation… So all is left for the listener is to experience them, performed here on a flute made by Joannes Hyacinth Rottenburgh (first half of the 18th century) from Brussels, and a harpsichord after Mietke (Berlin) made in 1702. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released October 13, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Bach (Johann Sebastian, that is) or not Bach? This is the question that the violinist Amandine Beyer and the ensemble Gli Incogniti asked themselves by seizing a handful of works long thought to be from the Kantor and that we now know to be from other composers—known, identified or not. Thus, the Sonata BWV 1024 may have “ended up” in Bach’s repertoire because a musicologist knew how to use the right scientific arguments (paper, copyists, geographical and historical contexts) to achieve his goal. The style of the composition, which admittedly is a bit reminiscent of Bach, cannot however quite fall in line with the musician’s writing style. Therefore, in order to avoid the sonata disappearing back into anonymity, it has now been attributed to Pisendel, rightly or wrongly. The Trio BWV 1036 is from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach—we were always quite sure of that, even if some less scrupulous releases have omitted the first name… The Trio BWV 1037 seems to be from Goldberg (the one from the Variations). The Suite in A major BWV 1025 is of somewhat ambiguous paternity, but it’s actually an arrangement Bach created for violin and harpsichord using the Suite SC 47 for lute that his friend and colleague Silvius Leopold Weiss composed. These are a few works that, after long being in the paradise of being attributed to Bach, are now in the hell of the “fake”, even if it’s not the fault of the composers that wrote them! What a pity… © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Award - Gramophone Editor's Choice
This was the second release by Italian pianist Beatrice Rana, who was in her early twenties when she recorded it in Berlin in 2016. A prodigy who was taking home top prizes as a high school student, Rana certainly gave herself the chance to fail spectacularly when she decided to record the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, of Bach, a gigantic work susceptible to multiple interpretations that poses challenges in terms of technical skill, cohesiveness, and overall spiritual grasp. Instead, Rana notches a substantial success and bears out the predictions of those who have been touting her as a major star. She thinks out her own interpretation of the work and carries it through, not relying on established schools. Rana overlays her own division upon the work's tripartite structure (with sets of three variations each capped by a canon), juxtaposing rhythmically free slower movements (which she makes quite expressive without having to take the big ones too slowly) with crisp, tough, contrapuntal movements that approach Glenn Gould territory. Sample the eighth variation for an idea of the Chopinesque treatment Rana gives the slower variations, bringing out the considerable chromaticism in the part-writing and generally expanding the scope of the work as a whole. The set follows a clear overall trajectory (this is often the bugaboo for pianists who take it on too early), and the reprise of the "Aria" at the end seems to take on a meditative, retrospective quality shaped by everything the theme has been through. Again, it hardly sounds like the work of a youthful pianist, and the entire performance is absorbing. Rana receives excellent support from Warner Brothers' engineering staff, working at Berlin's Teldex studios.
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Classical - Released September 21, 2018 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet
For the fourth time on the Phi label, Philippe Herreweghe presents three cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach – Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4, Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild, BWV 79, and Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80. Written at different moments in the composer’s life and based to a large extent on the works of Martin Luther, these cantatas reflect a marked taste for dramaturgy, vivid word painting and an invariably astonishing use of instruments and voices. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent give us an accomplished version of these masterpieces, confirming, if further proof were needed, their stature as ardent champions of Bach. © Outhere Music
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released May 25, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Bach's "Dialogue Cantatas" generally portrayed Jesus in dialogue with the human soul, first tormented and then at peace. The three cantatas selected here by Berlin's Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, which has, over the years since 1982 (with over a million records sold!) brought together musicians from the city's different orchestras – first those under Soviet rule and then all orchestras following the fall of the Wall – are a part of this genre; all date from the great Leipzig period, specifically the third cycle written by Bach for Leipzig in 1726. It will come as no surprise, hearing these cantatas, that the essence of the first arias is desperate, heart-rending: and as they go on, they move towards relief and joy. It is in these first moments that we see Bach at his most intense, most pained, most chromatic, terribly modern as well as at his most romantic, profoundly lyrical and yet rigorous in the musical discourse. The most superbly original piece is surely the Cantata BWV 49, which begins with a Sinfonia with obbligato organ – in which the listener will recognise the final movement of the Harpsichord Concerto in E Major, when Bach recycled it a dozen years later – and continues with an aria with cello and oboe, both soloists immersed in the soprano's joyous voice; and we finish on a magnificent chorale with an aria – the aria being for the bass of the solo organ, while the soprano part sings the chorale's theme from on high: a staggering display of modernity. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
Philippe Herreweghe's Bach performances are like no others: spiritual and deeply felt, but also scholarly, and thoroughly thought-through. They sound collaborative, with the vocal soloists given plenty of liberty, but they also give the impression that there is a singular will shaping the performance into a unified and wholly individualistic reading. Even the tone of the period instruments is subtly different: warm yet pungent, colorful yet blended, sometimes sweet, but more often tart. Listeners familiar with the Bach of Gardiner or Harnoncourt may at first be challenged by Herreweghe's approach, but the power of his performances may win them over. In this 1998 Harmonia Mundi recording of the Matthäus-Passion, tenor Ian Bostridge's account of the central role of the Evangelist is slightly to the left of center, more emotionally expressive, and more rhythmically pliable than most, but Herreweghe's interpretation can easily accommodate him. Collegium Vocale Gents' performance is equally distinctive, rounder but more penetrating in tone than most small choirs, with a blend at once richer and more astringent. Behind them all is Herreweghe, molding the performances with a sure hand, pressing toward the overwhelming climax of the crucifixion and the choral finale that follows. Captured in lush digital sound, this performance may not be for everyone, but it is likely to find many admirers.
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released February 16, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diapason d'or / Arte
The cantata Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (Jesus gathered the twelve to Himself) BWV 22, holds a historic place in Bach’s work. Indeed he composed it while still in Köthen, as an audition piece for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig, and then conducted it on February 7th, 1723, maybe even singing the bass part himself. Famously the city council, unable to convince its preferred composers – Telemann, Graupner and two others –, decided to settle with “mediocre” Bach… The gospel of the day first announces his death and his resurrection by Christ and his disciplines. A modest orchestra: voices, strings, one oboe and continuo, but the musical content is – like in almost all of Bach’s cantatas – amongst the best he’s ever written. For the same celebration, Bach composed a new cantata the following year, Herr Jesu Christ, wahr’ Mensch und Gott (Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God) BWV 127. But it has almost nothing in common with the previous piece: here Bach offers a very impressive reflection on physical death. Throughout his cantatas he called for a blessed death to free himself from the vicissitudes of life on Earth, but this now reveals how much he may have feared physical death itself. The aria ”Die Seele ruht” is one of these sublime moments suspended in time, an ineffable tintinnabulum, in which the soprano and the oboe dialogue on a harrowing theme while the flutes and string pizzicatos symbolise the passing of time with incredible beauty. Finally it’s with Die Elenden sollen essen (The miserable shall eat) BWV 75 that Bach started off his work in Leipzig, in St. Nicholas Church this time, as the cantatas were alternately performed in both churches. Probably because he wanted to start with a bang, he designed this cantata on a huge scale: fourteen numbers, divided in two parts. Of course Bach would have never been able to produce such vast and powerful partitions on a weekly basis, but there is a real substance to this Passion… and it’s with great passion that Philippe Pierlot, his Ricercar Consort and the soloists perform these masterpieces. © SM/Qobuz