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Bach: Inventions And Partita / Jansen, Rysanov, Thedeen


Release Date: 09/25/2007 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 000990502   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim RysanovJanine JansenTorleif Thedéen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gorgeous, through and through.

Having seen this CD in the shops over here in The Netherlands, I was surprised to receive the review disc with the cover photo you see above. For some reason, the picture of Janine Jansen as an almost chaste but somewhat impish convent schoolgirl was considered suitable for the international release – no doubt chiming in with the otherwise fairly serious repertoire on the disc. The Dutch release presents a rather peachier image, but before readers start clamouring for expensive imports sent in plain wrapping I can reveal that the picture on the cover is included inside the booklet for the International release, though that’s about as exciting as it gets.

Marketing strategies
Read more aside, this is a gorgeous disc, through and through. “These pieces are not played enough. They deserve to be played! They are such wonderful, genius pieces.” Janine Jansen’s enthusiasm for these versions of Bach’s Inventions is clear, and her background as a chamber musician is further elaborated in the booklet notes. “I have played chamber music virtually all my life. When I was nine years old my violin teacher put me in a piano quintet and I’ve never looked back. It is so important to start at an early age because you learn to react to what is going on around you in such a direct and intimate way. Chamber music is so revealing - your true personality shines through in your playing. It is one of my great loves.”

The Two-part and Three-part Inventions are of course originally solo keyboard pieces, and they appear her in straight transcriptions: the Two-part Inventions for violin and viola, the Three-part Inventions adding a cello. For the recording Janine and colleagues worked directly from Bach’s originals, with Maxim Rysanov’s viola part written out in the alto clef. Occasional reference was made to the existing arrangement by Ferdinand David, for whom Mendelssohn composed his E minor Violin Concerto, but these adaptations only crop up when one of the instruments needs to make an octave transposition for practical reasons in order to play a melodic line. Jansen grew up with the Baroque style, but, not claiming to be a specialist, has incorporated Baroque performing to enrich an intuitive sense of the music: “It’s an ongoing search to find a way to play Bach. And then of course to play chamber music, to have two people coming together, the challenge… is about finding the same musical idea, the same character, the same articulation, the same phrasing.”

All of the players contribute with the equal weight demanded of such well balanced counterpoint, and with plenty of subtle playing and early-music restraint all arguments against such versions of this music are effortlessly brushed aside. The Two-part Inventions can sometimes seem a little dry and academic on the keyboard, and the small but significant differences between the violin and viola enhance the music and bring it to life charmingly. The same goes for the Three-part Inventions, my only slight niggle being that the cello is placed on the right, where Torleif Thedéen’s part would always be taken by the left hand on the keyboard. This may well have been a deliberate choice, removing these chamber-music performances as far as possible from their origins. It’s certainly far from being a serious point and the ear adjusts with no problems, but I’m sure any pianist or harpsichord player will feel a slight twinge of disorientation to start with.

The central work on the CD is a solo performance of the justly famous Partita No. 2 in D minor. This is of course a core work of the violin repertoire, and Jansen admits to a great deal of trepidation before recording the famous Chaconne. Her approach is, much as with the chamber music, basically romantic. She incorporates a natural expressive vibrato, and compared just about any alternative I can name there are few if any real surprises. Her Courante and Gigue are both brisk and playful, the double-stoppings in the Sarabande and elsewhere impeccably intonated, the whole being beautifully phrased. She doesn’t go in for eccentric rubati or wilful extremes of dynamic contrast, and when we do reach the Chaconne is very much has the feeling of a continuation of the Partita as a whole, rather than a stand-alone blockbuster. Just comparing with one famous example also covered in these pages, that of Itzhak Perlman, one immediately gets the sense of ease Jansen has with this music. Perlman is more dramatic, emphasising crucial points and maintaining a kind of visceral intensity even through passages of transition: you can sense the sweat building on Perlman’s brow. Jansen isn’t superficial in the Chaconne or indeed elsewhere, but with a gentler vibrato and often less weight from bow into string the contrasts come from a less earthy basis. Her tone more silvery, and sometimes seems to take off like dancing insects into a night sky – just listen to those runs from about 4:09 into the piece. This however means that the build up of intensity through the following minutes is dramatic indeed. A similar effect comes from 11:36, where the violin almost seems to want to vanish without trace, to the incredible climax and an understated conclusion. Janine Jansen’s pacing and control throughout this Partita is excellent, and I’m sold completely: it can only be a matter of time before she records all of the Sonatas and Partitas, and I’ll be there in the queue.

The recording of the solo Partita was done in a different location to that of the Inventions, but both have a similar resonance. All are done very well indeed, but the solo violin recording is particularly toothsome and immediate, though with a far greater presence than with the other works. All of the instruments used are of interest: Jansen playing the ‘Barrere’ Stradivarius, and both the viola and cello being original 18th century examples. At nearly 80 minutes there can be no grumbles about value, and with musicianship of the highest order this has to be a Bach collection for anyone with an interest in chamber music for strings and an alternative view on the Inventions. Who knows, if the Dutch cover had crossed the border there might even have been some Bach virgins tempted to try it for the first time.

-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Two-Part Invention no 1 in C major, BWV 772 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Three-Part Invention no 2 in C minor, BWV 788 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin), Torleif Thedéen (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 50 Secs. 
3.
Two-Part Invention no 3 in D major, BWV 774 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
4.
Two-Part Invention no 4 in D minor, BWV 775 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 0 Secs. 
5.
Two-Part Invention no 5 in E flat major, BWV 776 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
6.
Two-Part Invention no 6 in E major, BWV 777 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
7.
Two-Part Invention no 7 in E minor, BWV 778 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
8.
Two-Part Invention no 8 in F major, BWV 779 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 51 Secs. 
9.
Two-Part Invention no 9 in F minor, BWV 780 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
10.
Two-Part Invention no 10 in G major, BWV 781 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 56 Secs. 
11.
Two-Part Invention no 11 in G minor, BWV 782 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
12.
Two-Part Invention no 12 in A major, BWV 783 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 17 Secs. 
13.
Two-Part Invention no 13 in A minor, BWV 784 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
14.
Two-Part Invention no 14 in B flat major, BWV 785 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 9 Secs. 
15.
Two-Part Invention no 15 in B minor, BWV 786 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
16.
Two-Part Invention no 1 in C major, BWV 772 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 2 Secs. 
17.
Three-Part Invention no 3 in D major, BWV 789 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
18.
Three-Part Invention no 4 in D minor, BWV 790 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
19.
Three-Part Invention no 5 in E flat major, BWV 791 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
20.
Three-Part Invention no 6 in E major, BWV 792 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
21.
Three-Part Invention no 7 in E minor, BWV 793 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
22.
Three-Part Invention no 8 in F major, BWV 794 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
23.
Three-Part Invention no 9 in F minor, BWV 795 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
24.
Three-Part Invention no 10 in G major, BWV 796 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 51 Secs. 
25.
Three-Part Invention no 11 in G minor, BWV 797 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
26.
Three-Part Invention no 12 in A major, BWV 798 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
27.
Three-Part Invention no 13 in A minor, BWV 799 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
28.
Three-Part Invention no 14 in B flat major, BWV 800 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 10 Secs. 
29.
Three-Part Invention no 15 in B minor, BWV 801 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Torleif Thedéen (Cello), Maxim Rysanov (Viola), Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
30.
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Janine Jansen (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 28 Minutes 39 Secs. 

Sound Samples

15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 1 in C, BWV 772
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 2 in C minor, BWV 773
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 3 in D, BWV 774
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 4 in D minor, BWV 775
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 5 in E flat, BWV 776
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 6 in E, BWV 777
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 7 in E minor, BWV 778
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 8 in F, BWV 779
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 9 in F minor, BWV 780
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 10 in G, BWV 781
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 11 in G minor, BWV 782
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 12 in A, BWV 783
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 13 in A minor, BWV 784
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 14 in B flat, BWV 785
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: No. 15 in B minor, BWV 786
Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 1. Allemande
Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 2. Corrente
Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 3. Sarabande
Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 4. Giga
Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 5. Ciaccona
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.1 in C, BWV 787
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.2 in C minor, BWV 788
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.3 in D, BWV 789
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.4 in D minor, BWV 790
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.5 in E flat, BWV 791
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.6 in E, BWV 792
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.7 in E minor, BWV 793
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.8 in F, BWV 794
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.9 in F minor, BWV 795
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.10 in G, BWV 796
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.11 in G minor, BWV 797
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.12 in A, BWV 798
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.13 in A minor, BWV 799
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.14 in B flat, BWV 800
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.15 in B minor, BWV 801
Three-Part Inventions, BWV 787-801: No.15 in B minor, BWV 801

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