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Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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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 June 14, 2019 | ECM New Series

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As part of Keith Jarrett’s rather extensive project on the works of the Cantor of Leipzig, an interpretation on harpsichord of Livre I from J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier was recorded in February 1987 and released in 1988. The recording dates from the same time as this new piano version by ECM New Series recorded 7 March 1987 in Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Of the same fluid drive in terms of the discourse, it holds an irresistible energy and is a particularly welcome interpretation of these invigorating and interpretable fugues (in C flat Major). Everything seems to dance and be in movement (D Major). The same feelings found throughout the polyphonies of pianists such as Tatiana Nikolayeya and Samuel Feinbeg or even a harpsichordist like Gustav Leonhardt are not present here. For Keith Jarrett, Bach represents the triumph of structure, and he plays Bach above all to confront one of his own artistic missions: polyphonic elaboration. The works of the Thomaskantor work as a medium for his own musical creativity as a jazzman and improvisor. The poetry and emotion are nevertheless ever-present. This is a version that will give real pleasure to all lovers of Keith Jarrett’s, allowing the comparison of two interpretations realized within two weeks of each other. Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz 
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Violin Concertos - Released March 15, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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After the double album of the Violin and Harpsichord Sonatas with Kristian Bezuidenhout, here is the next instalment in a Bach recording adventure that began nine years ago with a set of the Sonatas and Partitas. Isabelle Faust, Bernhard Forck and his partners at the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin have explored a multitude of other works by Bach: harpsichord concertos, trio sonatas for organ, instrumental movements from sacred cantatas etc. All are revealed here as direct or indirect relatives of the three monumental Concertos BWV 1041-43. This fascinating achievement is a timely reminder that the master of The Well-Tempered Clavier was also a virtuoso violinist! © harmonia mundi
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Violin Solos - Released September 8, 2017 | Ondine

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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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Classical - Released October 2, 2015 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released August 19, 2015 | harmonia mundi

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It was 1987. A young harpsichordist, a thirty-one year old from Göttingen, Germany, dazzled the musical world with his brilliant version of the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, recorded by Reinhard Goebel and the musicians of the Musica Antiqua Köln, for Archiv Produktion. Since then, Andreas Staier has often returned to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He has succeeded at everything that he has tried; including Partitas, the Italian Concerto, the French Overture, Fantaisies - a piece attached to his youth (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 1988, 1993), the simply inexhaustible Goldberg Variations (harmonia mundi), through to his amazing recital – never to be forgotten – of the Sonatas (1997). Now, he is publishing a recording of the seven Concertos for (one) keyboard. In total harmony with his co-conspirators at the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Staier offers classical lovers releases like no other. He moves away from the light spirit of "entertainment" in Telemann – the historical founder of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig - for whom these concert works were originally executed. For Staier, these concertos betray an expressive depth, a contrapuntal density, which is incomparably sonorous. Listen, for example, to the Adagio in D minor. Here, the low rumble is tinged with tension and anxiety, under the cover of a singing lyricism. The addition in the last movement of the concerto, even in a relatively tortured cadence, is reminiscent of the young Bach (who was himself influenced by the "stylus phantasticus", or tempos retained, of E major, which goes on to reveal its full melancholic tone). For Staier, these stunning pieces are all authentic mini-dramas. We have long awaited such daring and original releases. © Qobuz
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 10, 2017 | SDG

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Recorded live at Pisa Cathedral in 2016, this recording of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, is of a piece with the touring Bach Cantata Pilgrimage recordings released in the early 2000s: it is rich yet lively, sung with precision yet a total sense of commitment in the moment. The singers -- the Monteverdi Choir of 30 with soloists all drawn from the choir, except for Jesus (Stephan Loges) and the Evangelist (James Gilchrist) -- performed from memory, and the feeling that the text is being communicated directly is even greater than is usual with Gardiner. An unusual feature of the recording is that the soloists are not single per part; the soprano solos are taken by no fewer than five different singers. Several (try Hannah Morrison in "Aus liebe") are lovely, and the effect of a space between the congregational chorales and the focus on an individual soloist is fascinating. The hair-trigger alertness of the chorus in the big numbers like "Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden?" is also extremely compelling. Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir offer Bach with the luxury of old-fashioned Romantic versions combined with the agility of historical performance, and they've never done the combination better than they do here. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 10, 2018 | Naxos

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Acclaimed for his recordings of the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Rübsam has also recorded some of Bach's keyboard music at the piano, though this 2018 Naxos album of the Goldberg Variations (Clavier Übung IV), BWV 988 is his first recording on a Lautenwerk or lute-harpsichord. The instrument was built for Rübsam by Keith Hill, following period specifications, and this modern copy offers crisp Baroque sonorities that permit the freely played melody and counterpoint to be heard clearly. The single-manual instrument's gut strings provide two timbres, and a set of brass strings provide sympathetic vibration to the rather dry plucked sound, giving it the ringing quality needed for cantabile playing. Rübsam also plays up the lute effect by articulating the voices with slight arpeggiation, which also gives a looser, nearly improvisational feeling to the voice leading and embellishments. Because the Goldberg Variations have been transcribed and arranged for many instruments and various combinations, this release may seem yet another attempt to bring novelty to an overly familiar chestnut. But Rübsam's unerring instincts and consummate artistry make this performance much greater than a gimmick, and listeners who prefer hearing the variations on a harpsichord will find the Lautenwerk to be a refreshing source for new ideas and expressions. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 9, 2015 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Concertos - Released April 12, 2019 | Alpha

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Over the past five years, pianist Anna Vinnitskaya has made three Alpha recordings dedicated to Shostakovitch, Brahms et Rachmaninov. Evgeni Koroliov is a great master of the piano, a great Bach specialist, whose recordings of Bach are an acclaimed benchmark. His piano duo with his wife, Ljupka Hadzi-Georgieva, has made its mark over the past few years in all the major international concert venues. Also a highly reputed teacher, Koroliov was Anna Vinnitskaya’s professor at Hamburg. ‘Though I no longer study with him, I still meet and talk with him several times a week,’ she confides. ‘That helps me further in my development, not just as a pianist but as a human being.’ These three Slavonic pianists, who for some time have been aiming to record the Bach concertos as a team, decided to invite a German ensemble that is itself highly expert in Bach interpretation, the Potsdam Chamber Orchestra; they recorded this double album in a legendary venue where some of the greatest artists have recorded: the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released August 2, 2019 | BIS

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As his long-term project of recording Johann Sebastian Bach's complete sacred cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan drew to a close, conductor Masaaki Suzuki returned to his first career as an organist, launching a series of Bach's organ music on BIS with the first volume in 2015 and a second in 2017. This 2019 installment features performances on the 1714 organ in Freiberg Cathedral by Gottfried Silbermann, an instrument from Bach's time constructed by one of his associates. Silbermann was noted for his early fortepianos, prompting Bach's pun that they had a "silvery tone." The same might be said for the bright registration of this organ, which is most noticeable in such brilliant works as the Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 531 and the Toccata in C major, BWV 566, though darker stops are used in the somber Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537 and the monumental Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582. Underlying the program is a focus on the pitch C, which helps to unify the contrasting major and minor modes through the parallel tonality. Yet even in the chorale preludes, which are centered in G major or E minor, there is a quiet, reflective mood that is enhanced by Suzuki's choices of appropriate tone colors to suit their devotional character. This BIS multichannel recording captures the organ with a wide audio range and clear details at all volumes, so this hybrid SACD is well-balanced for home listening. © TiVo
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Solo Piano - Released February 10, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 6, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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The cello has always been favoured by French musicians, ever since its invention in the 1660s in Italy, where it gradually supplanted the viola da gamba. Two Parisians, the Duport brothers, wrote the first sonatas for the new instrument and published an Essai sur le doigté (Essay on Fingering) which laid the foundations of cello technique. It is still a touchstone work today. And so, the "French cello school" conquered the world, with, in the 20th Century, figures like Maurice Maréchal, Pierre Fournier, André Navarra, Paul Tortelier and Maurice Gendron: and today it is doing if possible even better, as many new talents hatch. An heir to this long line and herself a radiant and warm character, Emmanuelle Bertrand is passionate about all music: she worked on Tout un monde lointain with the composer (Dutilleux), and is inspiring and creating new works. For this recording, she has chosen a baroque cello, with gut strings, and a 415 Hz tuning. Here it is the instrument that sets the agenda, not the performer. She has discovered a new freedom in this approach to the pages that she has played, like all cellists, since her childhood. Matured over long years, her performance of Six Solo Cello Suites crystallises perfectly around this fine Venetian instrument of the early 18th Century. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Duets - Released January 12, 2018 | harmonia mundi

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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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Classical - Released August 26, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released April 12, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released June 3, 2016 | Sony Classical

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It's not just any instrument on which the ‘bad boy of the organ’ Cameron Carpenter plays this selection of works by Bach: it is a custom-built instrument made to his exact specifications by the company Marshall & Ogletree. Supposedly "portable" - you still need some large trucks to carry everything - the console itself weighs no less than a ton. Still, the instrument can be dismantled into several pieces, comes with an incredible arsenal of special speakers, and a dedicated amplifier for a rich sound. This Op. 8 Marshall & Ogletree ‘Touring Organ’ is built, according to Carpenter, for ‘its emotional magnitude, its sonic range, its coloristic drama’. Purists of baroque music may flee in terror, just as they did in the days of the revolutionary Glenn Gould. With a hyper-modern view of his chosen musical arena and an orchestra composed of a seemingly infinite number of organs, this record is extravagant, intriguing. Bach as you've never heard before. © SM / Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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Here’s a repertoire that everybody knows about yet is completely neglected: the Bach cantatas. Granted a few have gained some importance, mostly thanks to the vocal qualities of singers who have seized it for a few decades – Fischer-Dieskau and Elly Ameling to name a few – while some complete works adorn aficionados’ collections. There is however enough content in these cantatas to “make up” about a dozen Passions or Oratorios on par with some of those we already know. Bach himself didn’t refrain from drawing from them to recycle arias, ensembles, choirs and sinfonias. Among some of the most famous, honoured in the 1950s by Fischer-Dieskau, are two cantatas for baritone: Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen (1726) and Ich habe genug (1727), both written with oboe and string accompaniment. It’s precisely with this roster in mind that the Freiburger Barockorchester serves Matthias Goerne, a disciple of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and… Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, him again! The German baritone, a regular on the world’s most prestigious scenes, doesn’t refrain from lending his immense voice to this almost-chamber music by giving it a character far removed from the lyrical style required by Berg, Wagner or Strauss. In addition, still with the oboe in mind, the recording includes the Concerto in A Major for Oboe d'amore BWV1055R, a modern reconstruction from a keyboard concerto in A major, which there is every reason to believe was itself recycled by Bach from an older concerto for oboe d'amore. The remarkable Katharina Arfken plays the oboe for the cantatas and the oboe d’amore for the concerto. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 3, 2017 | Sony Music Classical Local

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