Notes and Editorial Reviews
Previously issued on Marco Polo and now reappearing as Volume 8 of the complete Markevitch orchestral music on Naxos, this smart and stylish realization of The Musical Offering is in a class of its own–one of the smartest, most creative, and successful Bach arrangements ever attempted. Markevitch takes three instrumental groups (stereophonic strings, with winds and keyboard continuo in the middle), arranges the canons as a single-movement Theme and Variations, follows this up with the Trio Sonata, and encloses these central panels with the two Ricercares (calling the last one “Fuga”).
In the Sonata, Markevitch uses the orchestral strings discretely for reinforcement and to better blend in the work with the remaining pieces.
In addition, Markevitch adds the perpetual canon to the Sonata as a lively fourth movement, since its scoring otherwise matches that of its neighbors. The entire presentation works perfectly, offering an ideal way to take in the entire work at a sitting. While masquerading as Volume 8 of Markevitch’s complete orchestral works, it would be difficult to imagine a more sympathetic realization of Bach. Markevitch’s contribution seems to fuse with Bach’s own inspiration to form an inseparable whole.
The performance here is a very good one, save for the marginally unappealing tone of the harpsichord (a frequent problem), but that shouldn’t prevent you from sampling this release. Frankly, it’s preferable to 99.9 percent of the available period-instrument versions. Bach collectors, in particular, take note.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Jeroen Reuling (Cello),
Remy Baudet (Violin),
Hans Van Loenen (Flute),
Dirk Luijmes (Harpsichord)
Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1747; Leipzig, Germany
Notes: Arranged: Igor Markevitch (1949-50)
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