Notes and Editorial Reviews
Anderszewski's playing is unaffected, graceful, clear, and sweetly expressive.
In 1752, according to the notes included here, composer Joachim Quantz described the French style as "modest, distinct, clear and clean in the expression, easy to imitate, neither affected nor obscure, intelligible to everyone and easy for amateurs." I haven't encountered a better description of Bach's French Suites or a better prescription for how they should be played. Quantz goes on to mention that the style doesn't give "much food for thought," but that doesn't seem to me to be a problem. As a result of their relative simplicity, thousands of amateur pianists have played one or more of Bach's French Suites, and been
thrilled by their lyric charm, clear directions and structure, and sometimes noble expressiveness. They can be jaunty too, as in the Gavottes. Probably because of their limited technical demands, few virtuoso pianists record these beautiful works, a fact that makes the new disc by the fine pianist Piotr Anderszewski on this beautifully engineered Harmonia Mundi disc especially welcome. Anderszewski might have built his interpretations on Quantz's strictures. His playing is unaffected, graceful, clear, and sweetly expressive. Among recent recordings, there is the more dramatic, more obviously pianistic recording of all the suites by Andrei Gavrilov on Musical Heritage, which I also enjoyed immensely. Some listeners will have heard the equally distinguished single-disc recording of the two works included here, as well as the Italian Concerto, by András Schiff reissued on Omega. I would rank Anderszewski's recording with those, and his is better recorded than either.
-- Michael Ullman, FANFARE
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