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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
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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
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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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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Violin Solos - Released October 5, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month
A student of the last student of Ysaÿe, American violinist Hilary Hahn has played Bach's solo violin music since she was nine, and inaugurated her recording career seven years later with a recording of half the cycle of six, in 1997. That recording rightly won acclaim with its flawless technique and Apollonian lines straight out of the best of the French violin school. Uniquely, she has returned to complete the set 21 years later, and the results are marvelous. It's sometimes hard to pin down the ways in which Hahn's style has changed, but it has to do with a kind of inner relaxation, with a willingness to let the meter vary a bit and pick it up again in the longer line. The flawless tone is still there, but it's not so much an end in itself. It's not an accident that some of the graphics picture Hahn smiling, nor that her quite relevant notes to the album detail the long creative process that went into making it. Sample anywhere, but you could try the very beginning, the first movement of the Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001, where Hahn takes just a bit of time, draws you in, and lets the rest of the movement flow from there. Decca's engineers do excellent work in a Bard College auditorium that one might not have picked as a venue for this. A superb release from one of the preeminent violinists of our time. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 10, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
Having already attracted attention for his exceptional gifts, Bach entered the service of the Weimar court at the age of twenty-three. This was the start of the period known as his ‘early maturity’, in which his formal and expressive experiments reflect a significant interest in French music and ‘la belle danse’. The close intertwining of French and German styles is the dominant feature of this third volume in Benjamin Alard’s recording of the complete organ and harpsichord works. ‘A remarkable complete set of Bach’s keyboard music is gradually being built up.’ – ResMusica. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released September 24, 2012 | Evil Penguin Classic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
OK, are you ready for something completely different? From someone who has already recorded two complete sets of Bach's six suites for solo cello, BWV 1007-1012, no less? Where to begin? Dutch historical-performance specialist Pieter Wispelwey disregards the long performance tradition associated with these six suites, which seem like cousins to Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin but are actually quite different in character (there are no sonatas, for one thing). Even players of the Baroque cello sometimes seem to have Pablo Casals' magisterial recordings in their heads, but Casals is not in the building at all for these readings. They seem to rest on three principles. First and foremost, Wispelwey has drawn on Baroque theories of rhetoric in constructing his interpretation. These were certainly in the air when Bach composed these works, although why they should apply specifically to the cello suites is less clear. Each phrase in Wispelwey's reading is like a spoken utterance. Notes are cleanly cut off, with very little legato, and the tempo is freely varied as speech might be. Second, Wispelwey's tempi are unorthodox in the extreme, tending mostly toward the fast side. Plunge in and sample the opening movement of the Suite for solo cello in G major, BWV 1007, for an idea of what you're getting into here. Third, although Wispelwey is not the first performer to de-emphasize the dance rhythms in these suites, he diverges from them to an unusual degree. Each of the dance movements is almost a character piece in the vein of Couperin, but with an entirely different set of instrumental textures. Throw in growling cello textures due to A=392 tuning, said to be authentic to the city of Köthen where the suites were written, and you get extremely un-song-like utterances throughout. It may all seem to add up to something with only a passing resemblance to what Bach wrote, but Wispelwey has the chops to pull this off, and there's an appealing sense of drilling deep into the music here. The sound from the ominously named Evil Penguin label, way too close up, is a disincentive even so, and this is probably not a good choice for those new to the music. Listeners will ultimately have to make up their own minds about this experiment, but it commands attention. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 5, 2019 | Alia Vox

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Johann Sebastian Bach’s Saint Mark Passion is part of the catalogue compiled by his son Carl Philip Emanuel. The piece was performed on March 23, 1731 in Saint-Thomas of Leipzig, two years after Saint Matthew. Though the performance is well-documented, the music has completely disappeared, with only a libretto by Picander from 1744 remaining. It is therefore the interpreter’s task to recreate the piece, using older compositions. This is what Jordi Savall managed to do in the “pasticcio” manner used by Bach himself when he composed such masterpieces as Christmas Oratorio de Noël and Mass in B Minor. The process is tricky because even though it relies on a precise musicological study, the result remains just a hypothesis. This recording is not the first attempt, and others have tried before with varying efficiency and authenticity. What we know for sure is that Bach wanted his Saint Mark to sound different, with less choir and more choral, which was familiar to the audience.In his work, Jordi Savall used the 1744 libretto. He found inspiration in Funeral Ode, Saint John’s Passion, and Matthew, as well as in a few cantatas. Jordi Savall offers a new light and an original “recomposition” of the piece. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 7, 2012 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Musica Ficta

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Having studied with the greatest performers and teachers, Paolo Zanzu is now one of the major figures in the harpsichord world in Europe and in the world. He is an inspiration as a teacher and a concert artist. Of the three great collections of keyboard suites that Bach produced, the English Suites were probably written first – around 1720 at Köthen. While we may marvel at their imposing architecture, along with their lyricism unfettered by formal constraints, or indeed the tender grace of their galanteries, what really makes these pieces unique is their power, their grandeur and above all their unbridled virtuosity, which together make them a landmark in the keyboard repertoire. © Musica Ficta
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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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Classical - Released August 23, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - Released September 6, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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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Classical - Released September 25, 2012 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released October 6, 2014 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
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Classical - Released November 18, 2016 | Glossa

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Chamber Music - Released October 1, 2018 | Aeolus

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
No need to dwell on the The Art of Fugue’s one thousand and one secrets, whether real or presumed: let’s just play it, pure and simple. For too long, many considered it had been created more so for the eyes and mind than for the ears, and what a mistake that was! Bob van Asperen proves it once again with his incredibly deep 1741 Christian Zell harpsichord. Van Asperen only plays fourteen of the definite, finalised manuscript’s “contrapuntus”, adding a canon found annotated on the same manuscript, which was itself finalised. The other contrapuntus and canons in The Art of Fugue are drafts at various degrees of revision, and it is known that a monumental triple fugue remained unfinished. As a complement, the harpsichordist had the surprising yet outstanding idea to combine Berhard Klapprott and a second harpsichord to play two mirror fugues from other manuscripts, which require a large number of playing fingers. The sound disparities between both harpsichords help the listener follow Bach’s titanic contrapuntal inventions. It’s clear this music wasn’t intended for the eyes alone… © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 5, 2011 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released April 17, 2012 | Alpha

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It would be hard to conceive of more annoying graphic design that proffered on this release from the Zig Zag Territoires label, identified with a big "ZZT" (no, that's not an electric shock warning). There, however, the list of complaints pretty much ends. This little program of solo cantatas and organ works by countertenor Damien Guillon and his historical instrument group Le Banquet Céleste was beautifully recorded in a small Strasbourg church and it's an intimate gem. Front and center is Guillon's singing, which is sweet, nicely rounded in the high tones, and couched in an attitude of relaxed calm. Organist Maude Gratton offers a trio sonata and a sparkling rendition of the Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, which ends the program on a unique rousing note. The instrumentalists have a sensuous sound and are so well coordinated with Guillon that they seem like extensions of his singing. With the emphasis in recordings of Bach cantatas having long been on the grand conceptions of the charismatic figures who have undertaken complete Bach cycles, a small, unified, and beautifully executed recording like this one comes as a breath of fresh air, and it represents the French way with Bach at its best. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 30, 2012 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio