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Bach: Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland - Preludes, Fugues & Chorals / Edna Stern


Release Date: 02/10/2009 
Label:  Zig Zag   Catalog #: 90104   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachJohannes Brahms
Performer:  Edna Stern
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Imported from : UNITED KINGDOM   
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH The Well-Tempered Clavier: Preludes and Fugues Nos. 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22. Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland. Schmuecke dich O liebe Seele (trans. Busoni). Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (trans Busoni). Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (trans Busoni) Edna Stern (pn) ZIG-ZAG 90104 (65:40)

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Be prepared for completely idiosyncratic Bach when putting on this CD. Though of course there is a long, proud history of Bach on the ivories, going back on recordings at least to Busoni, this is the first disc I’ve ever heard in which one is so aware of its being played on a piano. No attempt at a crisp, clean style here, or terraced dynamics à la Lipatti or Gould. Stern, a pupil of Leon Fleisher, Martha Argerich, and Krystian Zimerman, combines elements of all three in her approach to Bach. This is romantic and ruminative playing that never crosses the line into prissiness, self-absorption, or “classics lite,” yet which calms the mind and spirit while retaining elements of interest. Listening to Edna Stern play Bach is the aural equivalent of watching a brook run its course over rocks and twigs—a double reference, as it were, since Bach’s name is Brook in German. Stern’s rubato is generous, relatively speaking; her emphasis on the bass line and her consistent use of pedal are fascinating and individual. Altogether, there is much in her playing here that reminds me of Rosalyn Tureck, particularly in her generally slow tempos.


Indeed, I found myself thinking of Tureck frequently as the disc played. It’s obvious from both her musical approach and her comments in the printed interview. Stern remarks that, for her, Bach’s music “from the Two- and Three-Part Inventions onwards, pedagogical intentions seem to me to take a back seat to strictly compositional considerations. . . . I really do think that each of the preludes and fugues has its own color and calls for a particular ‘orchestration.’ This stems from the fact that the piano is capable of a multitude of different inflections.”


It may indeed seem easy to “read” calmness and spirituality into the choral preludes Nun komm’ her Heiden Heiland or Wachet auf , but it is far more difficult to bring such qualities out in the preludes and fugues of The Well-Tempered Clavier. I’m not certain if I would like an entire WTC cycle like this (I prefer Jill Crossland’s exquisite reading, which to me has more of a lilting rhythmic appeal), but in the context of this CD recital they are fascinating and well thought out.


I would recommend this disc to those who are not allergic to Bach on the piano, to fans of Tureck, and those who wish to experience a side of Bach that sounds very close to Mendelssohn.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 2 in C minor, BWV 847 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
2.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 6 in D minor, BWV 851 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
3.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 7 in E flat major, BWV 852 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
4.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 10 in E minor, BWV 855 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
5.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 11 in F major, BWV 856 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
6.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 12 in F minor, BWV 857 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
7.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 15 in G major, BWV 860 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
8.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 17 in A flat major, BWV 862 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
9.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 19 in A major, BWV 864 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
10.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 21 in B flat major, BWV 866 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
11.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2: Prelude and Fugue no 22 in B flat minor, BWV 891 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738-1742; Leipzig, Germany 
12.
Chorale Preludes (6) BWV 645-650 "Schübler": no 1, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1748-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
13.
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; ?Weimar, Germany 
14.
Orgelbüchlein: Ich ruf'zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
15.
Chorale Preludes (11) for Organ, Op. 122: no 5, Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Edna Stern (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 

Featured Sound Samples

Chorale Preludes for Organ, op 122 (Brahms): No 5: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (Bach): Prelude no 21 in B flat
Chorale Preludes BWV 645-650 "Schübler" (Bach): No 1: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

Sound Samples

18 Chorales, BWV 651-668, "Leipziger Chorale" (arr. F. Busoni for piano): 18 Chorales, BWV 651-668, "Leipziger Chorale": Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 (arr. F. Busoni)
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 2 in C minor, BWV 847
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 2 in C minor, BWV 847
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 15 in G major, BWV 860
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 15 in G major, BWV 860
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 10 in E minor, BWV 855
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 10 in E minor, BWV 855
11 Chorale Preludes, Op. 122: No. 5. Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 9 in E major, BWV 854
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 9 in E major, BWV 854
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 19 in A major, BWV 864
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 19 in A major, BWV 864
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 6 in D minor, BWV 851
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 6 in D minor, BWV 851
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644 (arr. F. Busoni): Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (arr. F. Busoni)
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 12 in F minor, BWV 857
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 12 in F minor, BWV 857
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 11 in F major, BWV 856
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 11 in F major, BWV 856
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 22 in B flat minor, BWV 867
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 22 in B flat minor, BWV 867
6 Schubler Chorales, BWV 645-650 (arr. F. Busoni): 6 Schubler Chorales, BWV 645-650: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 (arr. F. Busoni)
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 21 in B flat major, BWV 866
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 21 in B flat major, BWV 866
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 17 in A flat major, BWV 862
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 17 in A flat major, BWV 862
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Prelude No. 7 in E flat major, BWV 852
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869: Fugue No. 7 in E flat major, BWV 852

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