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Bach: 6 Partitas / Pi-hsien Chen


Release Date: 02/26/2013 
Label:  Phil.harmonie   Catalog #: 6015  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Partitas, BWV 825-830 Pi-hsien Chen (pn) PHIL 06015 (2 CDs: 133:01)


Taiwanese-born, German-trained pianist Pi-hsien Chen plays with exceptional charm and elegance. Her calm sense of pacing and her imaginative and original ornamentation only add to the appeal of her playing. This is inward looking Bach keyboard playing, as opposed to the more dramatic, but ultimately more superficial style displayed by Gould, most famously, and Piotr Anderszewski in our day, whose Bach is Read more undeniably gorgeous in tonal luster and shading, but somewhat opaque emotionally. Chen is more in the introspective manner of Murray Perahia and Richard Goode, who both, in turn, were students of Mieczyslaw Horszowski, arguably the most enchanting Bach keyboard performer of record. The Arbiter release that compiles his magical Bach recordings over the decades, including recitals he made in his 90s, is indispensable for true Bach lovers.


Chen also finds that special glow, relating this secular music to Bach’s most deeply spiritual work. The one spoiler for me is Chen’s tendency to pull at the rhythms here and there to the point of distraction, introducing something of a hiccup to the pulse. I certainly don’t advocate metronomic Bach playing, but it is important, I think, to maintain a natural flow in this sublime material. This is probably a cavil on my part, or perhaps I am spoiled by the wealth of wonderful Bach keyboard performances that have piled up over the years, such as those by Dinu Lipatti, whose rendition of the Partita No. 1 proceeds like a series of lilting Irish folk songs. So Chen enters a field rife with great artistry, but of course, Bach is never perfected, but only encountered, and Chen’s way with the partitas is, on the whole, quite winning.


This label is new to me, but I am impressed by the presentation, and the excellent sound—not too close, not too distant. The original German-language notes could have been translated a bit more carefully, avoiding the smattering of misspellings. Hardly a deal breaker when the music is so beautiful.


FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1.
Partita for Keyboard no 6 in E minor, BWV 830 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Partita for Keyboard no 5 in G major, BWV 829 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Partita for Keyboard no 4 in D major, BWV 828 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Germany 
4.
Partita for Keyboard no 3 in A minor, BWV 827 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
5.
Partita for Keyboard no 2 in C minor, BWV 826 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Germany 
6.
Partita for Keyboard no 1 in B flat major, BWV 825 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Chen Pi-hsien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726-1731; Leipzig, Germany 

Sound Samples

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826: I. Sinfonia
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826: II. Allemande
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826: III. Courante
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826: IV. Sarabande
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826: V. Rondeaux
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826: VI. Capriccio
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: I. Fantasia
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: II. Allemande
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: III. Corrente
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: IV. Sarabande
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: V. Burlesca
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: VI. Scherzo
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: VII. Gigue
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: I. Ouverture
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: II. Allemande
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: III. Courante
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: V. Sarabande
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: IV. Aria
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: VI. Menuet
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828: VII. Gigue
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: I. Prelude
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: II. Allemande
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: III. Corrente
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: IV. Sarabande
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: V. Minuet I
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: V. Minuet II
Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825: VI. Gigue
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: I. Praeambulum
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: II. Allemande
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: III. Corrente
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: IV. Sarabande
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: V. Tempo di minuetto
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: VI. Passepied
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829: VII. Gigue
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: I. Toccata
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: II. Allemande
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: III. Corrente
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: V. Sarabande
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: IV. Air
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: VI. Tempo di Gavotta
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: VII. Gigue

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