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The Art of Bach / Anderson & Roe


Release Date: 01/13/2015 
Label:  Steinway & Sons   Catalog #: 30033  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg AndersonElizabeth Joy RoeAugustin Hadelich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In an instance of programming wizardry, the “exhilarating” (Gramophone) Anderson & Roe Piano Duo has crafted an album showcasing the immense stylistic and expressive variety of Bach’s art. Where else can one find the apex of scholarly composition, The Art of Fugue, featured alongside one of the monuments of sacred music, the St. Matthew Passion? From heartfelt cantatas and virtuosic concertos to feats of contrapuntal aplomb, this versatile compilation sheds new light on Bach's art and ultimately reveals the matchless brilliance of the man, heard through the dynamic interplay of Anderson & Roe.

R E V I E W S:

The U.S. branch of the Steinway piano firm has issued a series of piano recordings that is has
Read more carefully curated so as to reflect the company's roots in the music scene of a century ago, or a bit more. This gives the label's output a satisfying coherence as well as bringing forth some intriguing individual concepts. This release by the Anderson & Roe piano duo is a representative example that might appeal to those who've had their fill of severe historical-performance approaches to Bach. It wouldn't have been strange in the 19th century to present an evening of Bach's music on two pianos, for that medium was a common one for bringing music of large dimensions into the home or a small community venue. Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe thus capture a slice of the American musical past, but they also expand upon it creatively, which is what brings projects like this to life. They employ the talents of a variety of arrangers, including themselves, and they cover such unexpected items as the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, in a suite of their own devising. The result is a program that views the range of Bach's creativity under a different lens from those anybody else has used. As the graphics have it, "Where else can one find the apex of scholarly composition, The Art of Fugue, featured alongside one of the monuments of sacred music, the St. Matthew Passion?" Throw some chorales into the mix, and there will be an idea of the considerable appeal of this release, recorded at the ideally sized Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, the State University of New York.

– James Manheim, All Music Guide

For their third Steinway & Sons release, the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo dedicate their uncanny ensemble prowess and canny programme-building to JS Bach. The eloquent reserve of Kurtág's so-called E flat Sonatina leads into the C major Concerto for two keyboards (sans orchestra), which stands out for the duo's gorgeously calibrated legato slow movement, plus relaxed propulsion and playful conversational ease in the fugal finale. While the idea of five St Matthew Passion numbers arranged into a two-piano suite is tantamount to box-office poison, it actually works. What is more, the duo's restraint and taste reveal how the music's expressive poignancy stands up without sung texts. Perhaps more varied phrasings would have brought out more of the Art of Fugue Contrapunctus IX's vivacity but the pianists' double-dotting in Bach's two keyboard arrangement of the three-voice mirror fugue allows the music to dance off the page. Subtle dissonant inflections and feathery staccato articulation distinguish a selection of Canons based on the Goldberg Variations' ground. A specially arranged aria from Cantata No 127 (with the excellent violin soloist Augustin Hadelich as special guest) gently wanders into Romantic pianism's registral extremes. The duo link the outer movements of the Bach/Reger Third Brandenburg Concerto (what a tempo for the final Allegro!) with a cadenza that liberally quotes from the Chromatic Fantasy's arpeggiated chord sequence. And why not? After all, Bach borrowed - indeed, stole - from himself all the time. Certainly he would have embraced Anderson & Roe's ingenuity and musicianship.

– Jed Distler, Gramophone

"On The Art of Bach, the dynamic interplay of pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe lends a tantalizing new dimension to J.S. Bach’s unmatched counterpoint on this expansive portrait of classical music’s most omnipotent figure. During this excellent recording, the duo present original and reimagined versions of his music while reframing it in a modern context.Overall, The Art of Bach offers listeners a new way of hearing Bach's works on piano from one of today's most exciting duos." – Paula Edelstein, LA Music Examiner

"This contemplative, refreshing album from Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, partners since 2002, has—unusually—several transcriptions of sacred pieces. “God’s Time is the Best Time” makes for a tender prelude to the bright and cheerful Concerto in C for two keyboards. Some of the phrasing in its first movement is, I think, meant to sound impetuous, but it often comes across a little abrupt, especially in contrast to the mellifluous slow movement. In the nimble finale, one of the duo’s best characteristics is on display, the ability to bring clarity of line to textures that could easily sound cluttered. The homophonic writing in pieces like St. Matthew’s Passion can be even denser, and the pianists outdo themselves in illuminating the music’s salient points. These five movements are sublime... Max Reger’s transcription of the Third Brandenburg Concerto is a glittering, fantastic ending to this gorgeous-sounding release."

– The Absolute Sound Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste, BWV 106 "Actus tragicus": no 1, Sonatina in E flat minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Mühlhausen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: György Kurtág 
2.
Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in C major, BWV 1061 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 18 Minutes 03 Secs. 
3.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 47, Erbarme dich by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged as part of a Suite for 2 Pianos by Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe. 
4.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 55, Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 1 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged as part of a Suite for 2 Pianos by Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe. 
5.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 58, Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 4 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged as part of a Suite for 2 Pianos by Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe. 
6.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 63, O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 1 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged as part of a Suite for 2 Pianos by Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe. 
7.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 75, Mache dich, mein Herze by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 5 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus no 9 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1745-1750; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
9.
Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus no 13 - Rectus by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1745-1750; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
10.
Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus no 13 - Inversus by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1745-1750; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
11.
Canons (14) on the Ground from the "Goldberg Variations", BWV 1087: Excerpt(s) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Canons 10, 12, 6, 11, and 14 
12.
Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott, BWV 127: Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano), Greg Anderson (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 8 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe 
13.
Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208 "Hunt Cantata": Schafe können sicher weiden by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Mary Howe 
14.
Brandenburg Concerto no 3 in G major, BWV 1048 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Greg Anderson (Piano), Elizabeth Joy Roe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1711-1713; ?Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/23-1/25 2014 
Length: 10 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Max Reger 

Featured Sound Samples

St. Matthew Passion: Aria: Mache dich, mein Herze, rein
Canons from the Goldberg Ground, BWV 1087
Die Seele ruht in Jesu Handen from Cantata No. 127
Brandenburg Concerto no 3 in G major, BWV 1048: III. Allegro

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  8 Customer Reviews )
 THEARTOFBACH  November 17, 2015 By T. Rocchetti (Toms River, NJ) See All My Reviews "I can listen to this particular CD over and over and over again. I LOVE BACH. Their interpretation is beautiful. The Art of Bach is the HEART OF BACH!" Report Abuse
 A 'Must Purchase! November 10, 2015 By Joan L Roccasalvo (Scarsdale, NY) See All My Reviews "It's likely that I will wear out this CD! The aria of Peter's prayer for mercy, his tears, and the anguish of his soul are surprisingly beautiful on two pianos. Even if one does not know the aria, the piano rendition may prompt the purchase of the full Passion according to St. Matthew. Simply mesmerizing! The other pieces are interpreted with simplicity and grace." Report Abuse
 Bach at it's Best July 25, 2015 By Ronald W. (Gurnee, IL) See All My Reviews "This is the second Anderson and Roe recording I purchased. Their piano artistry is something I haven't heard from many other piano duos. They play as if they were truly one person with fused complimentary feel and expression." Report Abuse
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