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Bach Crossings / Duo Stephanie & Saar


Release Date: 03/27/2012 
Label:  New Focus   Catalog #: 124   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win HoSaar Ahuvia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Transcriptions of works of J.S. Bach for piano four hands by Gyorgy Kurtag, F.X. Gleichauf, and Max Reger.

The title of the album also alludes to the difficult hand crossings that Kurtág requires the performers to implement in his four hand transcriptions, as demonstrated on track one, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit from Cantata BWV 106, where the melody is played entirely with the arms crossed. The whimsical configuration of hand crossings in Gott, durch deine Güte, BWV 600 is visualized in the cover photo of the album. Of the fourteen Bach transcriptions represented here, three are by other important Bach transcribers: Franz Xaver Gleichauf and Max Reger, who represent a crossing of various approaches to
Read more Bach transcribing over the last two centuries. Two delightful “encores”, correntes by Girolamo Frescobaldi transcribed by Kurtág, pay homage to one of Bach’s sources of inspiration.

R E V I E W S:

"...a crossing of paths, crossing of minds and inspirations. The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is recast and given new light by one of the most creative living composers of our time, György Kurtág, and one who is obsessed with Bach... the sound is both modern and grand, strange yet familiar, just the thing for jaded Bachians. At the end the Duo throw in two Kurtág arrangements of Frescobaldi at his most delectable." - Laurence Vittes, Huffington Post [3/31/12]

“These well-matched artists found considerable expressive depth in Kurtág’s version of the Sonatina…The rapport between Ho and Ahuvia was readily apparent throughout their portion of the program; their music- making placed added value on elegance and subtlety” – The Baltimore Sun

“The duo gave beautifully understated performances” – The New York Times

When György Kurtág sets out to transcribe Bach for himself and his wife to play on the piano, something special happens: the fragile wit of Kurtág is married to the eternal genius of Bach and, unbelievably, something even greater than the individual parts emerges. Piano duo Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia must feel similarly about them, focusing on Kurtág transcriptions (alongside some of Reger et al.), in their delightful album, Bach Crossings. The performances are a few percentage points short of perfection, but the music isn’t. Bach–Kurtág is a bit like getting God injected into the ears.

– Jens F. Laurson, Listen Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 545 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
2. Pastorale in F major, BWV 590 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany 
3. Orgelbüchlein: Nun komm'der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
4. Orgelbüchlein: Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn, BWV 601 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
5. Orgelbüchlein: Gott, durch deine Güte, BWV 600 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
6. Orgelbüchlein: Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot, BWV 635 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
7. Orgelbüchlein: Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 614 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713-1714; Weimar, Germany 
8. Orgelbüchlein: Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714-1715; Weimar, Germany 
9. Orgelbüchlein: Alle Menschen müssen sterben, BWV 643 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
10. Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 687 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1739; Leipzig, Germany 
11. Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr', BWV 711 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Written: 1708-20 
12. Suite for Orchestra no 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Gavottes 1 and 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
13. O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
14. Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste, BWV 106 "Actus tragicus": no 2, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephanie Kai-win Ho (Piano), Saar Ahuvia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Stephanie And Saar
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Mühlhausen, Germany 

Sound Samples

Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106 (arr. by G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr, BWV 711 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot', BWV 635 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Pastorale in F major, BWV 590 (arr. F. X. Gleichauf)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn, BWV 601 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 687 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Gott, durch deine Gute, BWV 600 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Alle Menschen mussen sterben, BWV 643 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 614 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: III. Gavotte I-II (arr. M. Reger)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV 618 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. G. Kurtag): Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 (arr. G. Kurtag)
Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 545 (arr. F. X. Gleichuaf)
Toccate d'intavolatura di cimbalo et organo, libro primo: Capriccio del soggetto scritto sopra l'aria di Ruggiero (arr. G. Kurtag): Corrente quarta
Toccate d'intavolatura di cimbalo et organo, libro primo: Capriccio del soggetto scritto sopra l'aria di Ruggiero (arr. G. Kurtag): Corrente terza

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Bach seen from a special angle October 11, 2013 By Robert Glorieux (Merelbeke, Belgium) See All My Reviews "This CD, with transcriptions by different composers of some of Bach's monumental music is a pleasure for both ears. The pianists are so complementary in the approach of music that is beyond every standard that listening to those masterpieces opens a new world of Bach's genius (the merit goes of course also to the writers of these transcriptions but having taken Bach's music as a model proves the greatness of the Master in all his compositions). This is a CD that every Bach-lover (of which I am one of them) should buy and cherish. I will surely return often to these short but o so much astonishing and overwhelming melodies which will make my day as a happy one. There is no doubt about it : J.S.BACH belongs to the most highest level in musicmaking and it is not a coincidence that so many composers who came after him did write music with Bach in mind." Report Abuse
 Blasphemy gives way to blessedness August 15, 2013 By Julian Kerrell-Vaughan (SAI KUNG, Hong Kong) See All My Reviews "I believed I had misread the description when I saw the words, "The fragile wit of Kurtág is married to the eternal genius of Bach and, unbelievably, something even greater than the individual parts emerges..." Whilst I cannot agree that Bach can be surpassed, and whilst I remain shocked at the contention that listening to this music is "...like getting God injected into the ears..." I would be the very first to admit that this is sumptuous, glorious music that does transport one and that fills one with a rich, deep, glowing happiness. There is nothing of the heaviness of Busoni here. Despite the mellifluous honey that flows throughout, there is such a lightness and sensitivity to the music and the playing. I am sure that Johann Sebastian himself would have fully approved, though being a religious man as I would wish myself to be, I doubt that he would have stooped to the analogy of God using a divine hypodermic!" Report Abuse
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