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Classical - 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

Classical - Released September 4, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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To record the Golberg Variations, the absolute pinnacle of western works on harpsichord and the apotheosis of the Baroque era, is the ultimate dream for many musicians. Lang Lang, who admits to have studied the fourth section of the Clavierübung by the Cantor of Leipzig for over twenty years, is no exception. This collection offers two interpretations of the same work. Firstly, a studio version, captured beautifully at the Berlin Jesus-Christus Kirche in March 2020 under the supervision of Christopher Alder, in which Lang Lang displays more measured tempos, particularly in the the initial aria and the first variation. This approach begins to animate itself more in the next section before the first variation in G minor which is slow, sluggish-sounding and unrelenting, taking on a stubborn and repetitive saraband rhythm - a remarkable conclusion to the first section. The outburst of the French Ouverture of Variation 16 is nothing short of spectacular. The following variations pass quickly before the second variation in G minor (Var. 21, Conone alla Settima.), with its very depressive phrasing, an imaginary Tombeau which momentarily instills an impressive gravity. Lang Lang nevertheless remains indifferent to the intrinsic structure of the Goldberg Variations, organised into ten successive groups of three variations with each group finishing with an increasingly complex canon (from the Var. 3’s Canone all’Unisono to Var.27’s Canone all Nona). For the Chinese pianist, his expressive heart seems to concentrate on the three minor key variations, and he doesn’t hesitate to project a Baroque expressionism that finishes the Golbergs with a touch of pathos and romanticism alongside a rounded and silky sound.The energy of the Leipzig public, on the 5 of March 2020, adds a welcome characteristic. During the concert, recorded by Philip Krause, who also accompanied Alder during his studio recording, Lang Lang has fun with the polyphony, beginning with the Aria. Here, he dances and injects subtle variations into the accents, thus opening up a wider and more diverse field of expression (Var. 1, Var. 7). Mischievous (Variation 23 has 2 harpsichords!), Lang Lang lets his imagination run rampant and the emotion that ensues is truly striking (Var. 21, with its obsessive delays). A certain weight is lifted, even in the way the harpsichord sounds, which bears witness to how the Chinese pianist’s sound has changed over the last fifteen years. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice

Concertos - Released September 4, 2015 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica

Classical - Released April 10, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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It’s a strange feeling seeing Trevor Pinnock’s name again on the front of a Deutsche Grammaphon release, more than twenty years since the release of his numerous productions for the yellow label’s former sub-label dedicated to early and baroque music, Archiv Produktion – yet it’s also rather exciting. The artist produced the album himself with the help of renowned sound engineer and artistic director Philip Hobbs who has succeeded in capturing the beauty of his instrument built by David Way, modelled on an instrument by Henri Hemsch. This recording of Book I of J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, recorded at the Colyer-Fergusson Hall at the University of Kent in August 2018 and January 2019, was a dream come true for the British harpsichordist as he admits in the touching introductory text, confessing his lifelong admiration for the dual character of the first book. For example, some diptychs have a completely educational, almost formalist character which is ideal for those learning the art of playing or composition, while others, such as the final Prelude and Fugue in B minor are revelatory of a greater ambition for composition and innovation, and even border on the abstract, and are therefore more difficult for novice musicians to grasp. Pinnock also notes that this music is essentially intended to be listened to and shared in small circles between family and pupils, for example. The intimate tone is indeed striking when listening to this interpretation for the first time. The harpsichordist had no hesitation in including all twenty-four preludes and fugues from the first book, unified in their ensemble by a certain lightness. Even within the robust framework, his playing exudes happiness, a sense of joie de vivre, even in keys that are usually more melancholic (Prelude and Fugue in E minor(), subdued (Prelude and Fugue in B flat minor, sombre (Prelude and Fugue in F minor) or uneasy (Prelude and Fugue in G sharp minor), throughout the two hours that this First Book lasts. An enthralling version not to be missed. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

Solo Piano - Released September 11, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Bach’s St. John Passion, with its famous opening chorus traversed by shadows and light, is a powerful musical and spiritual reflection. Dramatic, grandiose, complex, resolutely theatrical: there has been no lack of superlatives to describe this supreme masterpiece of western music. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent present an accomplished reading that reflects their knowledge of the composer, based on extensive research and deepened by countless concerts. Soloists Krešimir Stražanac and Maximilian Schmitt demonstrate the breadth of their talents in the roles of Jesus and the Evangelist. © Phi

Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Bach to the Future gained considerable publicity from being the last recording made on the 1868 Cavaillé-Coll organ at Notre-Dame cathedral before the devastating fire of 2019. It might just as well, however, have become renowned if there had been no fire: it is one of the most exciting organ releases of recent years. Organist Olivier Latry became titulaire des grands orgues at Notre-Dame in 1985, when he was just 23, but he has lost none of his youthful brashness, indicated perhaps by the album's punning title. Latry explains his ideas in an interesting an readable accompanying note. More than in any other genre of classical music, a performance of an organ work is an interpretation by the player, who shapes its basic textures. Latry takes this idea and develops it, using stops that did not exist in Bach's time. Furthermore, he has familiarized himself with arrangements of Bach's organ works made for other media, including Leopold Stokowski's crowd-pleasing orchestral version of the Toccata and fugue in D minor, BWV 565, and Liszt's version of the Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 542 (presented here as two separate tracks, for Latry is unconvinced that they were meant as a unit). Latry incorporates sonorities of these into his organ performances; sample the blazing Toccata and fugue, a real thrill that, like everything else on the album, is recorded to the hilt. The result is an organ album of almost unprecedented textural breadth and brilliance. Latry has other unusual ideas, such as the organ performance of the six-part ricercar from the Musical Offering, BWV 1079, at the beginning, plunging the listener into a murky world of complexity, and the narrative treatment of the Passacaglia and fugue in C minor, BWV 582. Yet more is there for the listener to discover, all of it part of the story of the great Notre-Dame organ that will, thankfully, be ongoing. © TiVo

Classical - Released May 22, 2020 | Delphian

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Chamber Music - Released August 17, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 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

Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Bach celebrated his first Christmas in Leipzig (1723) in style. On the morning of 25 December, his cantata Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63 resounded in the church of Saint Thomas. It opens and closes on a great choir, a perfect prelude to the Magnificat, BWV 243A played at afternoon vespers. The young conductor Valentin Tournet (23 years old!) is particularly interested in the lesser- known aspects of Bach's great works. And so for his ensemble's first release, he has chosen to record the first version of the Magnificat. Written in E-Flat Major, a great key for horns, this score prefers recorders, with their pastoral timbre, to traverso flutes. Much less-played and - recorded than the revised version of 1743 (in D Major and numbered BWV 243), this score is offered here alongside four laude for the Nativity. Valentin Tournet brings courage and talent to these works and presents us with a particularly brilliant version, thanks to well-made, judicious choices. A viol player, he is sensitive to the vital energy which the cello unleashes, provided that it isn't overpowered by the organ (a positive organ has been selected for this reason). The piece's élan is all the greater because the soloists don't restrict themselves to their own arias, but mix with the choir. The continuity is total, and the emotion is truly collective. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz

Classical - Released June 14, 2019 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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 

Violin Concertos - Released March 15, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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

Classical - Released February 22, 2019 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or
Although we know of at least five concertos J.S. Bach wrote for solo organ we have no surviving Bach organ concertos with orchestral accompaniment. Contrast this with the 200+ cantatas: of these, 18 feature organ obbligato, which Bach uses as a solo instrument in arias, choral sections and sinfonias. The most obviously conspicuous date to 1726. In May to November of that year, Bach composed six cantatas which assign a prominent solo role to the organ. Most of these are reworkings of movements of lost violin and oboe concertos written in Bach’s time at Weimar and Köthen. Why Bach wrote such a number of obbligato organ cantatas in such a short period remains unknown. One possible explanation may lie in Dresden, where Bach had given a concert on the new Silbermann organ in the Sophienkirche in 1725. Some scholars think that, in addition to other organ works, he also performed organ concertos, or at least a few earlier versions of the sinfonias, with obbligato organ and strings in order to show off the organ. From the cantatas mentioned above, along with the related violin and harpsichord concertos, it is perfectly possible to reconstruct a number of three-movement organ concertos of this type. By using this method, we hope to bring some of the music which Bach may have performed in Dresden in 1725 back to life. © Ramée/Outhere

Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
“A great joy”: this is how Masaaki Suzuki considers this, his second recording of the St. Matthew’s Passion, made twenty years after the first one, in the Saitama Arts Theatre in Japan in April 2019 for the BIS label. A great opportunity to revisit the work, as in the elapsed time, the conductor and his orchestra have nearly completely recorded Bach’s choral music, including the complete masses and secular and sacred cantatas. As is his custom, Suzuki works with European soloists for this new recording, like the splendid young German tenor Benjamin Bruns, playing the stupendous part of the Evangelist. There are other familiar soloists that feature here, such as Carolyn Sampson, Damien Guillon, Makoto Sakurada and Christian Immler. There is nothing monumental about this new intimate and refined version, which follows the fateful narrative with great sobriety. There is nevertheless a fervent level of impulse, as well as a certain innocence within this resolutely pared back Lutheran perspective - there is never any real search for theatricality. The exceptional instrumental quality of the soloists of the Bach Collegium Japan and the soft touches of the two choral ensembles is also worth highlighting. © François Hudry / Qobuz

Chamber Music - Released June 7, 2019 | BIS

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In 1985 the Russian violinist Vladimir Spivakov published his own arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for a string trio at the time of the tricentennial anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. Dedicated to the memory of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould who recently died, this deft transcription has since made a tour of the world and many recordings have flourished. When it came to recording their Goldberg, the Zimmermann trio (Frank Peter Zimmermann on violin, Antoin Tamestit on viola and Christian Poltéra on cello) decided to propose their own version of the string trio which was, according to the musicians, “neither an arrangement nor a transcription, but essentially a unveiling of Bach’s score”. The result is splendid as much is the exceptional capture of the three Stradivarius instruments used in this recording by the engineers of BIS. There is a pleasant “grainy” sound in the air between the notes and the perfectly balanced reverberations. A total success thanks to the addition of high-quality instruments, instrumentalists and technique. © François Hudry/Qobuz

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released October 7, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio

Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
This recording was made in April 2019 at the Ernest-Ansermet Studio in Geneva, after five concerts in Switzerland during the preceding days. The desire to be as faithful as possible to the rhythm of the drama of the Passion and to the evidence of the musical sequences, which is easier to feel during a live performance than in front of the relative abstraction of the microphones, as well as a non-negligible time constraint (three and a half days in the studio for a work of 160 minutes), pushed the members of Gli Angeli Genève to record long takes, sometimes including up to 10 or 12 minutes of music, thus getting as close as possible to the feeling of a concert. In concert, with small vocal groups, Gli Angeli Genève systematically places the singers in front of the instruments regardless of repertoire, so as to give speech in music the most prominent place possible. When recording, since the audience’s crucial role cannot be replaced by the microphones, the musicians place ourselves in a large circle, all facing each other. They can see each other playing, singing, vibrating, breathing and reacting. The idea of reaction is central to this work where, when the action of the story is suspended, it is immediately replaced by emotion and poetic as well as musical beauty that Matthew’s story inspired in Bach and Picander. Airs as well as chorales. And within this circle they can react together, engage in dialogue, and see themselves feel the drama and powerful affects that mark the work relentlessly. And then they can share the pleasure and sometimes the awe - so beautiful is the music – of being able to live all this together. Forming a circle to make this music and observing the extraordinary musicians of Gli Angeli Genève at work led Stephan MacLeod (the conductor) to realise the extent to which The Saint Matthew Passion has structured the career and relationship to music of many of his colleagues. © Claves Records

Classical - Released May 27, 2014 | Telarc


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 - Exceptional Sound Recording - 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.