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Bach: Inventionen, Sinfonien, Franzosische Suite No 5 / Till Fellner


Release Date: 04/28/2009 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 001278902   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

R E V I E W S:

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BACH Two-Part Inventions: BWV 772–786. Three-Part Inventions: BWV 787–801; French Suite No. 5, BWV 816 Till Fellner (pn) ECM 001278902 (60:08)


This season, the Viennese pianist Till Fellner has been Read more presenting the Beethoven sonata cycle in New York, Washington, London, Tokyo, Paris, Brussels, Vienna, and elsewhere. Judging from a cross section of critical response to these concerts, Fellner’s star is in steady ascent. Not that he’s a newcomer. A first prize at the 1993 Clara Haskill competition provided his entrée to the international circuit. Yet his recordings—notably the Beethoven Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Marriner/St. Martin (Erato 98539; 1995); Schumann’s Kreisleriana with the Reubke Sonata (Erato 12710; 1996); and Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier (ECM 228502; 2004)—have been relatively few and far between. Whether stemming from sage career advice or natural reticence, Fellner’s rare forays into the recording studio have ensured that each new release is met with eager anticipation.


Fellner has a musical personality that is fresh, original, and bracingly healthy. In contrast to many pianists who attempt a translation of Bach’s plucked-string keyboard idiom to their own struck-string instruments, his interpretations bear no hint of Glenn Gould’s specter lurking in the background. One has the sense that Fellner’s interpretive choices are completely his own, borne from an open-minded, searching embrace of the music, unencumbered by preconception or mystical claptrap. His approach is simplicity itself (though far from simplistic), lyrical above all, and, to my ears at least, extremely compelling.


Within the miniature framework of the Inventions and Sinfonias (as Bach titled the three-part pieces) Fellner creates self-contained microcosms of startlingly imaginative potency. The D-Major Invention (No. 2) employs a detaché touch to create a delightfully playful atmosphere, in marked contrast with the fluent legato of the subsequent D-Minor piece that sounds as though it could have originated as an instrumental movement in a Lenten cantata. The bouncing F-Major Invention (No. 8) has a felicitous exuberance that, once again, stands in beautiful juxtaposition with the languishing chromaticism of its F-Minor counterpart (No. 9), so reminiscent of Passiontide. The A-Major Invention, here imbued with a perky non legato , is as satisfying a performance as one can hope to hear on any instrument. A deliciously pastoral affect pervades the leisurely E?-Major Sinfonia (No. 5). The jaunty F-Major Sinfonia (No. 8) is bright and spry and the G-Major (No. 10), though unrushed, maintains its character as an authentic jig. The same forthright, uncluttered sensibility informs the lovely G-Major French Suite . Each movement is taken at an appropriately danceable tempo (something that can’t be said for many a pianist’s performance of the dance suites). One might wish for more fully embellished repeats, but listeners interested in that stylistic refinement may enjoy harpsichordist Francesco Cera’s superb readings of all the French Suites (Arts 477388) reviewed elsewhere.


Meanwhile, of recent Bach recordings on piano, Fellner’s is surely among the very finest. These are interpretations of great taste and refinement, everywhere imbued with Fellner’s irresistible musicality that, while always poised, is never affected. Very highly recommended.


FANFARE: Patrick Rucker


"Bach lovers will surely forget that the inventions and sinfonias are considered teaching tools when they hear Mr. Fellner’s new ECM recording. As before, he is an elegant, sensitive and impressively articulate Bach player. To fill out the generous program he includes a sparkling account of Bach’s Fifth French Suite.

Sometimes Mr. Fellner brings freshness to these familiar works by taking unusual but very convincing tempos. The Invention in E moves at a slow but steady pace, allowing the syncopations between the two lines, which almost always move in opposite directions, to come through playfully. But in the Invention in F — a bustling piece, all leaping intervals and fleeting passagework — Mr. Fellner takes a breathless tempo. The pristine clarity of his playing prevents the music from becoming a jumble.

Yet there is more to the magic than that. No matter how quick the tempo in any of these performances, Mr. Fellner’s playing always sounds relaxed and confident, an effective blend of daring speed and cool control."

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times [5/10/2009]
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Works on This Recording

1. Two-Part Invention no 1 in C major, BWV 772 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2. Two-Part Invention no 2 in C minor, BWV 773 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3. Two-Part Invention no 3 in D major, BWV 774 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
4. Two-Part Invention no 4 in D minor, BWV 775 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 46 Secs. 
5. Two-Part Invention no 5 in E flat major, BWV 776 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
6. Two-Part Invention no 6 in E major, BWV 777 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
7. Two-Part Invention no 7 in E minor, BWV 778 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
8. Two-Part Invention no 8 in F major, BWV 779 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 49 Secs. 
9. Two-Part Invention no 9 in F minor, BWV 780 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
10. Two-Part Invention no 10 in G major, BWV 781 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 52 Secs. 
11. Two-Part Invention no 11 in G minor, BWV 782 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
12. Two-Part Invention no 12 in A major, BWV 783 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
13. Two-Part Invention no 13 in A minor, BWV 784 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 55 Secs. 
14. Two-Part Invention no 14 in B flat major, BWV 785 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 22 Secs. 
15. Two-Part Invention no 15 in B minor, BWV 786 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
16. Two-Part Invention no 1 in C major, BWV 772 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
17. Three-Part Invention no 2 in C minor, BWV 788 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
18. Three-Part Invention no 3 in D major, BWV 789 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
19. Three-Part Invention no 4 in D minor, BWV 790 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
20. Three-Part Invention no 5 in E flat major, BWV 791 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
21. Three-Part Invention no 6 in E major, BWV 792 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
22. Three-Part Invention no 7 in E minor, BWV 793 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
23. Three-Part Invention no 8 in F major, BWV 794 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
24. Three-Part Invention no 9 in F minor, BWV 795 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
25. Three-Part Invention no 10 in G major, BWV 796 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 59 Secs. 
26. Three-Part Invention no 11 in G minor, BWV 797 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
27. Three-Part Invention no 12 in A major, BWV 798 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
28. Three-Part Invention no 13 in A minor, BWV 799 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
29. Three-Part Invention no 14 in B flat major, BWV 800 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
30. Three-Part Invention no 15 in B minor, BWV 801 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
31. French Suite no 5 in G major, BWV 816 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 18 Minutes 41 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Three-Part Invention no 1
French Suite no 5: Gigue

Sound Samples

15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 1 C-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 2 c-Moll
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 3 D-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 4 d-Moll
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 5 Es-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 6 E-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 7 e-Moll
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 8 F-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 9 f-Moll
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 10 G-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 11 g-Moll
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 12 A-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 13 a-Moll
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 14 B-Dur
15 Two-part Inventions, BWV 772/786: Inventio 15 h-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 1 C-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 2 c-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 3 D-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 4 d-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 5 Es-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 6 E-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 7 e-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 8 F-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 9 f-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 10 G-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 11 g-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 12 A-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 13 a-Moll
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 14 B-Dur
15 Three-part Inventions, BWV 787/801: Sinfonia 15 h-Moll
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Allemande
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Courante
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Sarabande
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Gavotte
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Bourrée
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Loure
French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816: Gigue

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