Notes and Editorial Reviews
Cédric Tiberghien made his first impression on the recording scene five years ago with a Debussy recital (HMN 911717). In that repertoire, he displayed poise and strength, and does so again in the very different world of J. S. Bach. Tiberghien?s Bach is presented from the viewpoint of a 21st-century concert pianist, with scarcely a nod to period practice. There is minimal ornamentation throughout and no textual variation on repeats. Instead, Tiberghien gives us the grand statement. For example, at the very opening of the C-Minor Partita?s Sinfonia, he could be embarking on a Beethoven sonata: he plays it with serious tonal weight, eschewing the double-dotted rhythms generally employed in the French
. Abetted by a spacious acoustic, the sonority of his piano is closer to the organ than the harpsichord. The result is assured, bracing and exciting, but there is no denying that this approach wrenches Bach out of the 18th century once and for all. (Bach can take it, of course: he is the most resilient of the Old Masters.)
Tiberghien?s forthright pianism pays particular dividends in the slower movements of all three suites. He finds depth of feeling as well as depth of tone in the melodic line. In the sarabande from the Third Partita he displays real delicacy. Nevertheless, it is still very much a public utterance. By comparison, Richard Goode (in the Second and Fourth Partitas on Nonesuch) offers greater intimacy. Goode?s subtly detailed performances, more closely recorded than Tiberghien?s, reveal a sharper intelligence at work: a variation of dynamic here, a hint of
there add up to a more personal statement. In the Third Partita, I compared Tiberghien with another young lion of the keyboard, Piotr Andreszewski (on a Virgin release), and similarly found him more interesting in terms of subtlety and nuance. Again, this is partly to do with the cleaner recording.
All three pianists are virtuosos, and Tiberghien is by no means totally outclassed. (Another plus: none of them sings along in the background!) The young Frenchman is a powerful emerging artist, and although he may be more idiomatic in Debussy, his Bach is solid. The CD notes by Philippe Simon are informative.
FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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