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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Italian Concerto in F major BWV 971
French Suite No. 2 in C minor BWV 813
Partita No. 6 in E minor BWV 830
Toccata in E minor BWV 914
Prelude and Fugue in C minor BWV 847 from The Well Tempered Clavier Book I
Elena Kuschnerova (piano)
Recorded at the Südwestrundfunks Kurhaus, Baden-Baden, March 2000
ORFEO C 547 011A [70.15]


Elena Kuschnerova has made an impressive start to her recording career for Orfeo. Iíve reviewed a Mussorgsky disc, which in addition to the ubiquitous Pictures turned up a slew of his little heard Klavierstücke. Here her focus is turned on Bach and she proves to be an adept and impressive exponent of the repertoire. One of her most impressive qualities is to maintain a perfect balance between matters of articulation and architecture. Her passagework clarity is not at the expense of depth of touch or of superficiality. On the contrary, itís at the service of her intelligent exploration of these works. So the Italian Concerto is not too fast but neither does she evince any sign of academicism through delayed entry points. There are no signs here of Kuschnerova using the Presto finale, for example, as a showpiece. Both here and in the Andante her playing is natural and unaffected; no over-emoted gestures cling to her Bach playing.

Her French Suite is similarly attractive with an acutely judged Allemande and the Minuet not over stressed. She meets the considerable and complex demands of the Partita in E minor in similar fashion. Though the Sarabande might be thought to exercise the most demands her negotiation of the opening Toccata and the lyrical ease of her Courante are equally fine. This is Bach playing that generates an unforced momentum whilst maintaining scrupulous concern over contrapuntal entries. All these performances were recorded in concert at the Südwestrundfunks Kurhaus in Baden-Baden. The sound is warm and no details are smudged.

Jonathan Woolf


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