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Bach: The Complete Keyboard Works / Ruzickova


Release Date: 10/28/2016 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 557841   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana RuzickováJean-Pierre Rampal
Number of Discs: 20 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Zuzana Ružicková is a remarkable artist with an extraordinary life story. As a teenager she was interned in multiple concentration camps during World War II and forced to perform slave labor. Her health hung by a thread at the time of her liberation from Bergen-Belsen in 1945, but she miraculously rallied, married the composer Viktor Kalabis, and soon became established as post-war Czechoslovakia’s main harpsichordist. Between 1965 and 1974 Ružicková recorded Bach’s complete original solo keyboard works for Erato, which were bundled together in a deluxe 21-LP boxed set (released in 1975) that quickly became a collector’s item. To commemorate Ružicková’s 90th birthday in January 2017, Erato has reissued her Bach cycle Read more for the first time in the West on CD.

The sound quality holds up well, although some of the performances are closely engineered to a fault and a little dry. In contrast to many of her contemporaries who sought out period instruments, Ružicková generally preferred modern harpsichords that had multiple stops capable of diverse timbres and colors. She had no qualms about mixing and matching sonorities or changing registers in rapid succession, and this makes her interpretations consistently interesting, whether or not one agrees with her ideas.

To give just one example, in the Well-Tempered Clavier Book I’s famous C major Prelude, Ružicková plays the first half of each measure’s repeated phrase with one set of stops, and the second half “echo” with a relatively lighter registration. The effect may grow predictable, but few other harpsichordists manage to give each and every Prelude and Fugue in both books a singular voice and point of view.

The Goldberg Variations emerge as individual character pieces as a result of Ružicková’s broad textural palette and unpredictable game plan regarding repeats (for some strange reason Ružicková opts for all of Variation 2’s repeats but does not play the first endings as indicated; instead she plays the second endings twice). On the other hand, Ružicková’s “colorizing” lends considerable variety and dimension to more discursive works like the independent Preludes and Fugues, the Vivaldi concerto transcriptions, and the Toccatas, and similarly enhance her animated, incisive conceptions of the Italian Concerto and the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

Her Two- and Three-Part Inventions abound with character and totally transcend their didactic roots: purists may tear their hair out when listening to Ružicková’s monumental unfolding of the F minor Sinfonia, but what gravity, what harmonic tension, what pathos she conveys! Notice also how Ružicková’s finely honed distinctions between legato and detached phrasing in the Four Duets prevent her steady tempos from lapsing into what used to be called “sewing machine Bach”. Needless to say, you won’t find the fussy agogics and jerky rhythmic distensions that certain historic-minded keyboard practitioners with one tenth of Ružicková’s talent trot out in the name of “style”.

Ružicková fully understands, internalizes, and communicates the dance elements throughout the Partitas, English Suites, and French Suites. If anything, her B minor French Overture (the “unofficial” Seventh Partita) operates on a higher level of imagination and dramatic contrast (sound clip); she doesn’t seem to arpeggiate two chords identically, while the ornamentation is so free and unfettered yet so aesthetically spot-on at the same time, as if Ružicková was channeling Bach.

Filling out the cycle are Ružicková’s marvelous performances of the violin sonatas with Josef Suk and the viola da gamba sonatas with cellist Pierre Fournier. Flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal joins Suk and Ružicková for a vibrantly moving A minor concerto BWV 1044. Their Fifth Brandenburg features superbly balanced second and third movements, but the sedate, slightly heavy-handed first movement never gets off the ground, and neither does Ružicková’s surprisingly held-back cadenza, where one would have expected her to let rip.

Ružicková’s former pupil Mahan Esfahani contributes a lovingly perceptive and informative booklet essay about his mentor. With this welcome and much-anticipated release, one hopes that Ružicková’s interpretive genius will get the international attention it deserves. She truly lives up to her legend.

– ClassicsToday (Jed Distler) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
2.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, BWV 870-893 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738-1742; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 
4.
Two-Part Inventions (15), BWV 772-786 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
5.
Three-Part Inventions (15), BWV 787-801 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
6.
Suite in B flat major, BWV 821 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1714; Weimar, Germany 
7.
Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 906 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738; Leipzig, Germany 
8.
French Suite no 1 in D minor, BWV 812 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
9.
French Suite no 2 in C minor, BWV 813 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
10.
French Suite no 3 in B minor, BWV 814 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
11.
French Suite no 4 in E flat major, BWV 815 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
12.
French Suite no 5 in G major, BWV 816 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
13.
French Suite no 6 in E major, BWV 817 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
14.
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
15.
Italian Concerto, BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
16.
English Suite no 1 in A major, BWV 806 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
17.
English Suite no 2 in A minor, BWV 807 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
18.
English Suite no 3 in G minor, BWV 808 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
19.
English Suite no 4 in F major, BWV 809 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
20.
English Suite no 5 in E minor, BWV 810 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
21.
English Suite no 6 in D minor, BWV 811 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
22.
Partita for Keyboard no 1 in B flat major, BWV 825 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
23.
Partita for Keyboard no 5 in G major, BWV 829 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
24.
Partita for Keyboard no 6 in E minor, BWV 830 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
25.
Partita for Keyboard no 2 in C minor, BWV 826 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Germany 
26.
Partita for Keyboard no 3 in A minor, BWV 827 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
27.
Partita for Keyboard no 4 in D major, BWV 828 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Germany 
28.
Toccata in F sharp minor, BWV 910 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710 ; Weimar, Germany 
29.
Toccata in C minor, BWV 911 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1717; Weimar, Germany 
30.
Toccata in D major, BWV 912 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany 
31.
Toccata in D minor, BWV 913 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Weimar, Germany 
32.
Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Weimar, Germany 
33.
Toccata in G minor, BWV 915 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Weimar, Germany 
34.
Toccata in G major, BWV 916 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1710; Weimar, Germany 
35.
Little Preludes (6): no 1 in C major, BWV 933 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
36.
Little Preludes (6): no 2 in C minor, BWV 934 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
37.
Little Preludes (6): no 3 in D minor, BWV 935 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
38.
Little Preludes (6): no 4 in D major, BWV 936 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
39.
Little Preludes (6): no 5 in E major, BWV 937 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
40.
Little Preludes (6): no 6 in E minor, BWV 938 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
41.
Prelude in C major, BWV 939 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
42.
Prelude in D minor, BWV 940 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
43.
Prelude in E minor, BWV 941 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
44.
Prelude in A minor, BWV 942 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
45.
Prelude in C major, BWV 943 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
46.
Prelude for Lute in C minor, BWV 999 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
47.
Prelude and Fughetta in G major, BWV 902 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
48.
Prelude and Fughetta in F major, BWV 901 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
49.
Prelude and Fughetta in E minor, BWV 900 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
50.
Applicatio in C major, BWV 994 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
51.
Prelude in C major, BWV 924 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
52.
Prelude in D major, BWV 925 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
53.
Prelude in D minor, BWV 926 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
54.
Praeambulum in F major, BWV 927 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
55.
Prelude in F major, BWV 928 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
56.
Praeambulum in G minor, BWV 930 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
57.
Prelude in A minor, BWV 931 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
58.
Minuet in G major, BWV 841 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Leipzig, Germany 
59.
Minuet in G minor, BWV 842 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Leipzig, Germany 
60.
Minuet in G major, BWV 843 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Leipzig, Germany 
61.
Scherzo in D minor, BWV 844 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Leipzig, Germany 
62.
Suite in A minor, BWV 818a by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
63.
Suite in A minor, BWV 818: Sarabandes 1 & 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
64.
Prelude in G minor, BWV 929 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
65.
Courante for Harpsichord in G major, BWV 840 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
66.
Minuet in E flat major, BWV 815a by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
67.
Minuet in C minor, BWV 813a by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
68.
Duet for Organ in E minor, BWV 802 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1739 
69.
Duet for Organ in G major, BWV 804 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1739 
70.
Duet for Organ in F major, BWV 803 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1739 
71.
Duet for Organ in A minor, BWV 805 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1739 
72.
Capriccio in B flat major on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother, BWV 992 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1704; Arnstadt, Germany 
73.
Overture in the French style in B minor, BWV 831 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
74.
Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
75.
Suite in E flat major, BWV 819a: Allemande by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
76.
Aria Variata in a, BWV 989 "In the Italian Style" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1714; Weimar, Germany 
77.
Fugue in A minor, BWV 944 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?Weimar, Germany 
78.
Fugue in B flat major, BWV 955 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
79.
Fugue in A minor, BWV 958 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany 
80.
Fugue in A minor, BWV 959 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany 
81.
Sonata in D major, BWV 963 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1704 
82.
Prelude and Fugue in A major, BWV 896 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1710 
83.
Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 894 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
84.
Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
85.
Concerto in D major after Vivaldi, BWV 972 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
86.
Concerto in G major after Vivaldi, BWV 973 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
87.
Concerto in G minor after Vivaldi, BWV 975 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
88.
Concerto in C major after Vivaldi, BWV 976 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
89.
Concerto in G major after Vivaldi, BWV 980 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
90.
Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 1 in G major, BWV 1027 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
91.
Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 2 in D major, BWV 1028 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
92.
Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 3 in G minor, BWV 1029 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
93.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 1 in B minor, BWV 1014 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
94.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 2 in A major, BWV 1015 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
95.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 3 in E major, BWV 1016 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
96.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 4 in C minor, BWV 1017 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
97.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 5 in F minor, BWV 1018 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
98.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 6 in G major, BWV 1019 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
99.
Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord in A minor, BWV 1044 "Triple Concerto" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard), Jean-Pierre Rampal (Flute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1730; Leipzig, Germany 
100.
Brandenburg Concerto no 5 in D major, BWV 1050 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková (Keyboard), Jean-Pierre Rampal (Flute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720-1721; ?Cöthen, Germany 

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