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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Bach On A Steinway marks the first release on the new Steinway & Sons record label. This all-new recording of keyboard masterpieces features pianist Jeffrey Biegel playing on another kind of keyboard masterpiece: a Steinway Model D, handcrafted and specially selected for this project.
Biegel brings his own considered ornamentation to these Baroque gems, offering a fresh approach to this distinguished repertoire. Superb production and engineering ensure that the sound, coloration, and subtle shading of each revisited phrase shine through in all their richness.
Engineered and produced by 15-time Grammy winner Steven Epstein at the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase.
"Biegel is a
sensitive and imaginative interpreter, who brings this music to life... Notice his natural ebb and flow and intelligent coloristic choices in the introductions to both Toccatas, the D major Fugue's vividly sprung and subtly varied dotted rhythms, the F-sharp Fugue's gorgeous dry-point trills, and the incisive yet lilting élan Biegel brings to the Fifth French Suite's Gavotte and the Second Partita's Courante... Biegel's emendations (mostly during repeats) draw attention to the music rather than to the pianist... In all, this auspicious and superbly engineered debut bodes well for the success of this new label." --Jed Distler
"The recital opens with a magisterial account of the D Minor Toccata that sets the tone for the entire disc. What is nice about Biegel's playing is his willingness to be risky with the music, to double bass pitches at multiple octaves, stretch tempos wildly, blur harmonies with ample pedaling and employ an impressively large dynamic and coloristic range... The closing fugue is an intense whirlwind of sound... Biegel adopts a lighter overall tone for the French Suite. Perhaps more so than the rest of the recital, this work shows Biegel's intelligence and tastefulness at ornamenting repeats. One wonders up to this point if he can make 'sense' of the music and make it interesting without constantly adding to it, and he does just that... Everything is enlivened by Biegel's snappy trills and mordents... Just as the upbeat rendition of the D minor Toccata was offset by the darker performance of its E minor sibling, so the spritely performance of the French Suite is balanced by a turgid, unrelenting reading of the C minor Partita... The entire suite sounds nearly like Brahms at his most tragic. Particularly notable are the slowly lilting rhythmic sway in the Sarabande and the icy, dry articulation in the Rondeau... The recorded sound is very close, and every detail of articulation can be heard, but it is all beautifully articulated. The instrument used indeed produces a beautiful sound, but even if Biegel played this well on a 'lesser' instrument, the result would still be convincing... Even though Bach's music and Biegel's interpretation could easily withstand less than an ideal instrument or recording conditions, it seems that the label and producer Steven Epstein have done everything in their powers to flatter the two artists that matter most in this project. -- Marcus Karl Maroney, ConcertoNet
"This recording features Jeffrey Biegel, a musician who doesn't just play Bach with great technical and coloristic flair, but also adds more ornamentation than pianists typically do in this repertoire... Biegel is always tasteful, applying ornaments with an elegant, unfussy touch in a program that includes a couple of toccatas, two preludes and fugues, a partita and the French Suite No. 5.... The sound quality is excellent on the disc and, of course, so is the piano -- a 1980 Steinway Model D that Biegel chose for its "warmth and wide dynamic range, but also the brightness and bite I was after for Bach." That pretty much describes the performances. I especially like the bite." -- Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun
"Biegel, throughout this recital, manages to shed new light on some very well known repertoire—no small job. His playing is clean, articulate, big-boned yet delicate when necessary, spontaneous, and imaginative. He manages to infuse this music with life, perhaps not as a harpsichordist would, but rather as a pianist of the twenty-first century; and we are all the richer for it. The recording features vividly present sound, with almost no sense of echo. As this is the first release on this new label, let us just hope that each successive recording is just as fine an endeavor." -- Scott Noriega, Fanfare Magazine
Works on This Recording
Toccata in D minor, BWV 913 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Jeffrey Biegel (Piano)
Written: by 1708; Weimar, Germany
Date of Recording: June, 2010
Venue: SUNY at Purchase Performing Arts Center
Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Jeffrey Biegel (Piano)
Written: by 1708; Weimar, Germany
Featured Sound Samples
Toccata in D minor, BWV 913: IV. Fuga
Keyboard Partita no 2: VI. Capriccio
French Suite no 5: VI. Loure
Toccata in E minor, BWV 914: IV. Fuga (a 3 voci)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Why are there no reviews? March 24, 2012
By Mary R. (New Wilmington, PA) See All My Reviews
"It's March 24, 2012. I must have missed them or something. How could this kind of playing be out there with no one yelling and screaming how wonderful it is? Yes, it's JS on the PIANO, just like, I think, the old man would have liked it. Yes, the harpsichord is the instrument of his time, and gives its own timbre and slight singing voice to these pieces, but this particular Steinway, recorded this way, by such a masterful artist, is Bach returning from heaven. Now, don't get me wrong. I love Barenboim's WTC - it's very special to me. But Bach's music can mean many things to many people, and Mr. Biegel proves it. He sings, oh so beautifully, the full pallete of timbres and emotions- yes, Bach had emotions, for pete's sake- whether they seem to be prayers or outright playing and dancing for the sake of music - and God, too,I suppose. He does it so well because he IS disciplined, and because he's got the technical goods to do it, and because he can do Bach's as well as his own ornaments, and because he loves Bach, and he loves to sing and make music. Biegel is fabulous here! Am I alone in the wilderness, or did the train already leave without me?"