Notes and Editorial Reviews
A jazz and gypsy-music violist brings his versatility to Bach
Jean-Marc Apap has a varied background in which jazz, gypsy music and Argentine tangos have played important parts; his performances of Bach on the viola are forceful, direct and informed by a strong sense of rhythm. In the Suites there’s an issue as to what bowing patterns Bach intended – the surviving sources are often contradictory. Apap, however, goes his own way, ignoring many slurs and making up his own patterns in other places. When he opts for separate bows, in the first three movements of the C major Suite, for example, what’s gained in vigour is lost in elegance and poise, and those passages where separate bows are clearly intended (in the Corrente
of the C major No 3, for instance) don’t stand out as they should.
Apap tends to favour powerful accents, making little difference between strong and weak beats. Under this approach, the effect of the Gigues, and of the Minuets in the first two Suites, is almost brutal. Nor do the Allemandes give the expected impression of suave good breeding. The Sarabandes, on the other hand, have a noble dignity, even though Apap concentrates on long musical lines, rather than showing the eloquence of each phrase.
The three chorale prelude transcriptions for viola and string quartet sound lovely, as postludes to each suite (does any other composer provide such tempting material for the arranger?). They’re played with fine, clear tone and an expressive style that combines immediacy with restraint – the most persuasive tracks on the CD.
Duncan Druce, The GRAMOPHONE
Works on This Recording
An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV 653 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Jean-Marc Apap (Viola)
Written: by 1723; ?Weimar, Germany
Be the first to review this title