£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
French Suite no. 1 in D minor, BWV 812 [21:07]
French Suite no. 2 in C minor, BWV 813 [15:03]
French Suite no. 3 in B minor, BWV 814 [16:52]
French Suite no. 4 in E flat major, BWV 815 [17:14]
French Suite no. 5 in G major, BWV 816 [17:53]
French Suite no. 6 in E major, BWV 817 [17:42]
Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 [7:33]
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [20:02]
Andrea Bacchetti (piano)
rec. March 2011, Fazioli Concert Hall, Sacile
SONY CLASSICAL 88691965102 [70:26 + 63:10]

Experience Classicsonline




Andrea Bacchetti’s Decca recording of Bach’s English Suites has been around for a few years now (see review), and is still one of my preferred piano versions of these works. Now it is joined by another two disc Bach set, this time on the Sony label, and of the French Suites along with a few extras to make for decently respectable playing duration.
 
Bacchetti’s location for his solo recordings is more often than not the Fazioli Concert Hall in Secile, and with another Bach expert who favours Fazioli instruments in Angela Hewitt it was inevitable that I would reach for her big box of Bach by way of comparison. Hewitt’s non-pedal clarity allied to a remarkable sense of line and sensitivity of touch is always a draw, and with the French Suites there is also a timing and restraint in her ornamentation which raises each of the movements into fragrant slices of poetic communication.
 
This is a hard act to follow, and there are of course other names which have to be mentioned. Glenn Gould is exciting and marvellous in my opinion, but also such a unique case that he has to exist almost in his own bubble of Glenn Gould-ness - influential perhaps, but also inimitable. András Schiff on Decca is also a leading contender, though I’ve become less enamoured of the rubato undulations in his playing over the years, and while his playing is very fine I don’t hear the same sense of communication as from Hewitt. Gorgeous recordings from other such as Andrei Gavrilov on Deutsche Grammophon take up the slack for listeners who prefer a lusher piano sound with some subtle use of the sustaining pedal, and nothing wrong with that, at least not in this case. There is the other category of player which seems determined to torture the rhythm of the music as much as possible and in every bar, and alas, Wolfgang Rübsam on Naxos is well-nigh unlistenable for this reason.
 
So, where does Andrea Bacchetti sit amidst this pantheon of the great and the ghastly? His opening Allemande from the Suite No. 1 declares a lyrical approach, far removed from Gould, and richer in texture than Hewitt or Schiff. This warmth of expression is allied with superb evenness of touch and rhythmic pace - by no means machine-like, but always stable. Bacchetti can take elements from Gould’s playing, and you can hear some sharper articulation in the second movement Courante which invites comparison. Bacchetti is almost exactly twice as slow as Gould in this movement however, something which allows him to play with dotted rhythms and a greater sense of variation in this and many of Bach’s other miniature worlds. You don’t have the feeling of the music dragging, as Bacchetti keeps up the rhythmic energy and an uplifting sense of the music always being expressed and enhanced rather than rendered and overcooked. His ornamentation is effective and elegantly restrained, by no means interfering with Bach’s melodic shapes or counterpoint.
 
The crucial Sarabande movements are the emotional heart of each Suite, and Bacchetti moves the listener by allowing the music to speak for itself, but also allowing his instrument to sing in its most natural way. More often than not he somehow manages to make the subsequent Menuet movements sound almost equally beautiful, extending the atmosphere of the slow movement, and somehow allowing its resonances to permeate and linger beyond its actual duration, like the memory of a smile. The Gigue movements have their dance quality, though Bacchetti rarely lets his hair down. There is contrast enough though, with a lively Courante in the Suite No. 3 and other more forcefully delivered movements. This is music which allows all facets of the pianists’ art to shine, and Bacchetti is very much on top of his game in this recording.
 
CD 2 brings further riches, and though the tempo of the Gavotte in the Suite No. 5 might initially appear to be a little under the expected tempo the performance fits right in with the sense of air and openness Bacchetti gives to these pieces. The final famous Gigue has wonderful energy. The French Suite No. 6 comes from a different session to the others, with a little shift to the left in terms of stereo balance. It is in fact the same recording as that to be found on Bacchetti’s recording of the Two-Part Inventions & Sinfonias on the Dynamic label (see review). This mild shift is nothing to concern even dedicated headphone listeners like myself, and the performance is another generous gift for serious Bach fans.
 
Listed as ‘Bonus Tracks’, the extra music further revisits the Partita No. 2 BWV 826,which we’ve also already heard on that aforementioned Dynamic disc but is in this case a different recording, with a slightly slower Allemande. This Sony recording marginally closer and perhaps the more lively and interesting sounding of the two, but with a near enough identical timings between the two versions there isn’t a great deal to choose between them. My comments on the Courante in the Partita are less applicable in this more recent recording, for while the ornamentation is still pretty intense and the tempo is similar there is a greater sense of control. The Toccata BWV 914 is delicious, and a substantial extra morsel to add to the mixture. The alternative for this is on Bacchetti’s release of the complete Tocattas (see review) where the works are presented with separate tracks for each section rather than the single track we have here. Again there is little to choose between the versions, the later recording a touch more compact, and with a significantly swifter final Fuga a 3 accounting for a reduction of about 1 minute in terms of overall timing.
 
Andrea Bacchetti’s Bach recordings are almost invariably something rather special, and this set of The French Suites is a recording to keep alongside the best. With decent notes on the music and the artist to go along with piano sound of vibrant and colourful high quality, this is the kind of refreshingly honest Bach which can refresh the soul and enhance your day no end.
 
Dominy Clements
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.