WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bach: Piano Concertos BWV 1052, 1055, 1056 / Pires, Corboz

Bach,J.s. / Pires / Gulbenkian Orchestra / Corboz
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Apex   Catalog #: 51916   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires
Conductor:  Michel Corboz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Keyboard Concertos: No. 1 in d, BWV 1052 ; No. 4 in A, BWV 1055 ; No. 5 in f, BWV 1056 Maria João Pires (pn); Michel Corboz, cond; Gulbenkian O APEX 2564 65191-6 (75:35)


Perhaps the most intriguing fact about Bach’s compositions for solo keyboard and orchestra must be that none of these works originated as concertos for the harpsichord (at least Read more that is the general consensus right now, one which is impossible to verify outright without primary sources). But whether they started out as something else and were later arranged and enhanced by Bach for the present forces has little to do with their success or their appeal: In their current form they are masterpieces, ones which display the many different sides of a superb and multifaceted composer. The current recital collects three of the seven concertos: the highly virtuosic and darkly hued D Minor, the gently flowing and witty A Major, and the brooding yet refined F Minor.


Maria João Pires (b. 1944) recorded this recital some years ago; it is thankfully back in the catalog now, finally available again after so many years, thanks to Apex. There are many aspects of the recording which show their age considering the general approach to Bach on the piano in the year 2013—the slower tempos in the fast movements, the thicker orchestral textures, the expressive use of rubato, the numerous hairpin phrasings, especially in the strings. Yet the performances hold up well simply because Pires and Corboz are so in tune with the characters of each of these individual works. The great D-Minor Concerto is splendidly performed. The tempos here are perfectly chosen (how many performances of this work sound like perpetual-motion studies?), the passagework is crystal clear, the sound of the individual notes rounded and bouncy, the dialogue between soloist and orchestra is palpable, and the intensity of the whole is felt from beginning to end. There is reverence for the work, but never does that inhibit expressivity. Pires gives the wonderful bubbly A-Major Concerto a gentle lilt in the first movement—it feels a bit slow at first, yet she is careful to maintain a lovely sense of momentum throughout. After the intensely lyrical and impassioned second movement, the forces end on a sprightly and joyous note in the light-hearted finale. The F-Minor Concerto has a nervous energy in the opening movement, which is highlighted by the restrained dynamics chosen. This paves the way for one of the truly remarkable moments in this recital: the slow movement to the F-Minor Concerto, surely one of Bach’s most beautiful and inspired instrumental ariosos. Here the artists pull back the dynamics to not more than Piano for most of the movement, drawing the listener ever closer in; one’s attention never wavers here, so intent is one on not missing a single second of this tender masterpiece. The finale’s effect is heightened as a result, perhaps ever more so as one waits for the delayed resolution at the second movement’s conclusion.


Though one may prefer the sprightlier tempos of today, less vibrato, leaner orchestral textures, and the like (I don’t always), there is a quality in these performances, which makes them timeless. Pires captures the spirit of this music like no other performer I know. I would not give up my Gould, my Schiff, my Edwin Fischer, my Horszowski, or numerous others in my collection, but for those interested in yet another side of this composer, one which I will surely return to often, Pires makes for an easy recommendation. Grab it while it’s still available!


FANFARE: Scott Noriega
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
Conductor:  Michel Corboz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
Conductor:  Michel Corboz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Concerto for Harpsichord in A major, BWV 1055 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
Conductor:  Michel Corboz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In