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Bach: French Suites / Francesco Cera


Release Date: 01/13/2009 
Label:  Arts Music   Catalog #: 47738   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 23 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

3260200.az_BACH_French_Suites_BWV.html

BACH French Suites, BWV 812–817. Italian Concerto, BWV 971. Fantasia and Fugue in a, BWV 904 Francesco Cera (hpd) ARTS 47738 (2 Hybrid multichannel SACDs: 132:47) Read more


The old adage that Italy only produces one great pianist a generation has finally been put to rest by the astonishing proliferation in recent decades of front-rank Italian keyboard-players, pianists, and harpsichordists. In fact two Italians, Ottavio Dantone and Francesco Cera, should make any short list of most interesting harpsichordists before the public today. Cera’s new recording of Bach’s six French Suites is without doubt one of the finest available. As the icing on this interpretive cake, Arts Music has lavished unusual care in engineering so that Cera’s Roberto Livi harpsichord (Pesaro 2006, after a 1691 instrument by Vincent Tibaut) is captured in all its variegated brilliance.


Given that the vast majority of harpsichord music is for ensemble, most contemporary harpsichordists devote significant energies to ensemble playing in addition to cultivating the solo literature. Cera is no exception. Following a long association with Il Giardino Armonico, he has directed the Ensemble Arte Musica since 1997. His understanding of the Baroque orchestral medium is clearly second nature, informing his approach to these dance suites. Many movements unfold with all the textural richness and color of a concerto grosso. Cera’s stylistic grasp is equally impressive. He misses no opportunity to embellish repeats, and does so with the greatest imagination and a seeming spontaneity that is always perfectly characteristic of the particular dance. But the greatest single factor in the success of these performances is Cera’s sense of proportion. Phrases are deftly shaped with an unerring sense of what may be sung. Tempos are never rushed and always inextricably linked to the underlying dance pulse. The individual dances themselves are paced so perfectly that, in succession, the entire suite is lent a cohesion and structural progression rarely encountered in performances of Baroque music. However arresting a particular detail may be, the listener never loses his bearings within the overall structure of the movement. The recording is rounded out with a sparkling Italian Concerto that fairly bursts with the evocations of orchestral color alluded to above. If I were to quibble with anything in this more than two hours of music it would be that the deliberative tempos of the A-Minor Fantasy and Fugue seem a little sluggish.


Nevertheless, this is Bach interpretation on a very high level. Among recent recordings of the French Suites , only Christophe Rousset’s superb, though very different, performances (Naïve 9960) seem comparable. For stylistic mastery, for vital, full-blooded Bach-playing that sings and dances, and for sheer pleasure of listening, this one shouldn’t be missed.


FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
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Works on This Recording

1.
French Suite no 1 in D minor, BWV 812 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
French Suite no 2 in C minor, BWV 813 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
French Suite no 3 in B minor, BWV 814 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
4.
French Suite no 4 in E flat major, BWV 815 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
5.
French Suite no 5 in G major, BWV 816 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
6.
French Suite no 6 in E major, BWV 817 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
7.
Italian Concerto, BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
8.
Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francesco Cera (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725; Leipzig, Germany 

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