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Gemini - Bach: Keyboard Concertos, Etc / Gavrilov, Marriner


Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 81482   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei GavrilovJohn ConstableSusan MilanLeonore Smith
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 21 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Keyboard Concertos: in d, BWV 1052; in E, BWV 1053; in D, BWV 1054; in A, BWV 1055; in f, BWV 1056; in F, BWV 1057; 1 in g, BWV 1058. French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV 816 Read more class="BULLET12b">• Andrei Gavrilov (pn); Neville Marriner, cond; John Constable (hpd); Susan Milan (fl); 1 Lenor Smith (fl); 1 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields EMI 81482 (2 CDs: 144:52)


A few years after Bach’s appointment as Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, when he received his Thomasschule position in Leipzig, he embarked on his efforts at concertos for one, two, three, and four harpsichords. This period, also known for its production of the Brandenburg s, was a fertile one for Bach, in that many of his instrumental concertos took form. None of these are “original” in the sense that they were written for the harpsichord, an instrument that most often was relegated to the background continuo, and was not known for taking the lead in a solo setting. But all of the works are derivative from “one-line” solo concertos for other instruments. Such concerns certainly would not have bothered Bach, and the results don’t bother us either, as these pieces are some of the most engaging compositions that Bach ever wrote, perhaps not as high on the profundity level as some of his others, but in the public mind without doubt among his most popular, and standard-setters for the era in general.


And I might as well enter the ongoing debate about harpsichord vs. piano (and you can throw fortepiano in the mix now as well). Having heard these things in concert, and having had to sit at the end of my seat straining to hear the harpsichord the entire performance (even with a small contingent of strings), I can definitely vote in favor of the piano. For the life of me, I cannot understand what Bach was thinking of when he “arranged” these works; though done initially for a collegium musicum that he directed for 12 years (and it was an informal setting where his sons also participated), the music cannot have been intended for large audiences—or those far away. Even the nature of these works—the first real keyboard concertos in existence, which serve as precursors to a popular form that would catch on in a few years—demonstrates that they were intended not as “solo” works specifically, but as consort music where the keyboard takes on an equal and far more predominant role than heretofore.


As consort music, few people have the chance other than on recordings to hear these works the way they were intended, in small halls or intimate rooms with a vibrant acoustic that won’t drown out the keyboard. Of course, purists will say that I have just proven their point in terms of how these works should be presented, and perhaps so; but one can just as easily make the argument that if Bach had had the halls of mainstream America and Europe to consider, he would have taken a different approach. This is presupposition, but of all composers, Bach is the one whom we know was most inclined to adaptability, and I doubt seriously that he would have insisted on his collegium setup as the norm for all future performances. And as his mix-and-match approach with instruments, the piano would have no doubt proved an irresistible component of his keyboard ethos.


But this argument has no ending, and in this day and age serious record collectors are blessed with having it not only both, but all ways. Especially with the piano, many noted virtuosos have been attracted to this repertoire. Glenn Gould sets the standard. Listening to his recordings of the canonical six (there is a seventh, in F Major, that is essentially a hybrid of his Brandenburg No. 4 ) one is continually impressed by the marvelous articulation and brilliant overall concept. Sometimes the orchestra, very closely miked, gets in the way, but Gould still reigns supreme in this music, and if you don’t have his recordings you certainly don’t deserve any others before acquiring them. Murray Perahia not too long ago set these down in the studio, and they are spectacular, fine readings in excellent sound that many people, including Fanfare ’s Michael Ullman (26:1) and Andrew Quint (26: 2) swear by. I can’t disagree with that assessment, and might add Angela Hewitt’s recent SACD releases, superbly realized. But now along comes this 20-year-old Andrei Gavrilov recording (he seems to be EMI’s bargain-basement budget-release boy) that will certainly tempt many. The sound is excellent, the playing top notch, and the accompaniment by Marriner and the Academy can’t be beat by anyone—few could pull off Baroque like Sir Neville in the 1980s. As a bonus we are given the French Suite No. 5 , perhaps the most popular one, and it too is played to a stylistic tee, crisp, alert, and very lyrical. I can’t recommend this set over any of the aforementioned recordings, as I don’t consider it a first choice, but as a supplement (and you definitely need to supplement this music) it ranks very highly indeed.


For those insisting that piano is heresy—or blasphemy—repent now and come to your senses. But if you persist, you will easily find confirmation of your decision in the bargain-released set by Trevor Pinnock (Archiv Trio), or my old favorite, Igor Kipnis along with this same Marriner conducting the London Strings on Sony.


FANFARE: Steven Ritter
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D major, BWV 1054 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 18 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Harpsichord and 2 Recorders in F major, BWV 1057 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano), John Constable (Harpsichord), Susan Milan (Flute),
Leonore Smith (Flute)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 15 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Harpsichord in G minor, BWV 1058 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 14 Minutes 43 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 21 Minutes 19 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Harpsichord in E major, BWV 1053 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 21 Minutes 16 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Harpsichord in A major, BWV 1055 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 15 Minutes 10 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1986 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 10 Minutes 0 Secs. 
8.
French Suite no 5 in G major, BWV 816 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1984 
Venue:  Slovak Philharmonie, Bratislava 
Length: 18 Minutes 22 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Keyboard Concerto in D minor BWV1052: I. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in D minor BWV1052: II. Adagio
Keyboard Concerto in D minor BWV1052: III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in E BWV1053: I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in E BWV1053: II. Siciliano
Keyboard Concerto in E BWV1053: III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in A BWV1055: I. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in A BWV1055: II. Larghetto
Keyboard Concerto in A BWV1055: III. Allegro ma non tanto
Keyboard Concerto in F minor BWV1056: I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in F minor BWV1056: II. Largo
Keyboard Concerto in F minor BWV1056: III. Presto
Keyboard Concerto in D BWV1054: I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in D BWV1054: II. Adagio e piano sempre
Keyboard Concerto in D BWV1054: III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in F BWV1057: I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in F BWV1057: II. Andante
Keyboard Concerto in F BWV1057: III. Allegro assai
Keyboard Concerto in G minor BWV1058: I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in G minor BWV1058: II. Andante
Keyboard Concerto in G minor BWV1058: III. Allegro assai
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Allemande
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Courante
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Sarabande
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Gavotte
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Bourree
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Loure
French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: Gigue

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Fine Bach Concerti on modern instruments August 23, 2014 By Gail M. (Goleta, CA) See All My Reviews "I greatly enjoy the lively performances of Andrei Gavrilov with the ASMF players under Neville Marriner in this 2-CD set, which includes the Bach keyboard concerti BWV 1052 through 1058 as well as the French Suite No.5. The idiomatic playing and the smooth sound of the instruments let the listener concentrate on Bach's interesting music. Balance of instruments and the sound quality of these nearly 30 year old digital recordings are excellent. However, I suppose this is not a collection for those who prefer the sound of the harpsichord or period instruments." Report Abuse
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