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Bach: "Italian" Concerto; "French" Overture; Other Works for Harpsichord / Devine

Bach
Release Date: 05/27/2014 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 802   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Devine
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The ‘Italian’ Concerto and ‘French’ Overture included on this disc together make up the second part of Bach’s Clavier-Übung, composed, according to Bach himself, ‘for music lovers to refresh their spirits’. Here Steven Devine’s performances show that these works do far more than simply refresh spirits. The ‘Italian’ Concerto has long been thought a product of Bach’s extensive study of Vivaldi’s concerti.

It is full of allusions to the style of the Italian orchestral concerto but the idiomatic keyboard writing, particularly in the exquisitely ornamented slow movement, clearly shows the work’s conception as a virtuoso keyboard piece. The large scale of the ‘French’ Overture’s opening movement is unprecedented in the work
Read more of Bach, being his longest single keyboard movement. It is grandiose and imposing in character and stands in contrast to the seven shorter, more delicate dance movements that follow. Alongside these largescale works are the Aria variata ‘alla maniera italiana, the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV903, and the Fantasia in C minor, BWV906.

Steven Devine plays a double-manual harpsichord by Colin Booth (2000) after Fleischer (1710), which throughout the program allows him to bring out Bach’s idiomatic contrasts in dynamics and color.

Reviews:

It's a lineup oozing virtuosic exuberance, and, as in his heel-kicking additions to the ouverture's Echo, Devine can do 'brilliance'; but he's never interested in virtuosity for its own sake.

– BBC Music Magazine

Follow closely and you'll notice how Bach's harmonic governs the harpsichordist's phrasing. Devine is at his best in the French Overture, his intimately scaled fingerwork and adroit contrapuntal acumen between the hands place the attractive Colin Booth double manual harpsichord centre stage.

– Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Overture in the French style in B minor, BWV 831 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Devine (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Italian Concerto, BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Devine (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 906 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Devine (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738; Leipzig, Germany 
4.
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Devine (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
5.
Aria Variata in a, BWV 989 "In the Italian Style" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Devine (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1714; Weimar, Germany 

Sound Samples

Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903: Fantasia
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903: Fugue
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Aria
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 1
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 2
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 3
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 4
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 5
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 6
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 7
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 8
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 9
Aria variata in A Minor, BWV 989: Variation 10
Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 906: Fantasia
Concerto in the Italian Style in F Major, BWV 971, "Italian Concerto": I. [Allegro]
Concerto in the Italian Style in F Major, BWV 971, "Italian Concerto": II. Andante
Concerto in the Italian Style in F Major, BWV 971, "Italian Concerto": III. Presto
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: I. Overture
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: II. Courante
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: III. Gavotte I-II
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: IV. Passepied I-II
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: V. Sarabande
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: VI. Bourree I-II
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: VII. Gigue
Overture (Partita) in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831: VIII. Echo

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