It is 22 years since Savall and Koopman first recorded the Bach gamba sonatas, in the days when Koopman still looked like he should have been presenting The Old Grey Whistle Test. This release for Savall's own Alia Vox label, however, is right up to date, a tame-haired Koopman and an amazingly unaltered Savall having set them down at the beginning of this year. The recording's quick turnaround is a fitting reflection of the state of the musical relationship that has obtained between these two ever since they first performed together in 1970 after only half an hour's rehearsal. Make no mistake, these Bach performances are right in the slot.
I've been listening to Brandenburgs non-stop for the past three weeks, for some reason. I love the Ristenpart recording, and I like the Britten version even better in some ways. This Baumgartner recording has a certain elegance. The pace is a tad slower and the ambience a bit thicker. The second movement of the first Brandenburg hits that emotional place a bit better than in the Britten version. I would be hard pressed to say which I prefer overall, but on first listening I sure loved this recording.
For Roy Goodman's various roles in the project assume Toad-like proportions. Founder of the Brandenburg Consort, Goodman is not at all content merely to direct these performances but also plays solo violin, violino piccolo and viola as well as penning lively accompanying notes. Well, readers may rest assured that I'm no Badger and am inclined to applaud Goodman's diversity of talent rather than otherwise.
Listeners familiar with other recordings in Masaaki Suzuki's ongoing traversal of Bach's solo keyboard works may find his performances of the Partitas somewhat of an anomaly. For instance, the sharply delineated juxtapositions of tempos that made his Fantasias and Fugues program so thrilling (type Q3840 in Search Reviews) are nowhere to be heard here. The interpretive agenda this time is much subtler and decidedly more introverted.
Those who've heard Masaaki Suzuki's patient, reflective journey through Bach's Partitas will find similar traits in his recordings of the French Suites. At first the breathing spaces and tiny caesuras in the Allemandes and Sarabandes strike a precious pose. Listen again, though, and you realize that Suzuki is phrasing from a singer's perspective, undoubtedly influenced by his experience conducting the Bach Passions and Cantatas.
Strong but delicate, deliberate but subtle, driven but supple, Masaaki Suzuki's 2005 recording of Bach's Italian Concerto and French Overture for harpsichord are quite convincing in their own distinctive way. In Suzuki's hands, the opening crash of the Italian Concerto is as instantly arresting as the powerful opening prelude and fugue from the French Overture is immediately appealing.
Many works by the Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri are completely inspired by the style of ‘Tango Nuevo’ in terms of form and harmony, as is also the case with the tango mass Misa a Buenos Aires, composed in 1996. In his Misatango the composer combines the text of the Latin mass with the traditional music of his homeland, making the classical Roman Catholic mass, such as it has been set to music for centuries, appear in new apparel. Martin Palmeri was recently awarded First Prize in the Choral Arrangement Competition organized by AAMCANT, as well as First Prize in the National Choral Arrangement Competition by The National University of Rosario. Several of his works have been recorded, and he regularly takes part on the adjudication of choral festivals across Europe. It is fitting, considering Palmeri’s stylistic influences, that the ensemble led by Ulrich Stotzel has chosen to juxtapose works by Astor Piazzolla and Ismael Spitalnik with Palmeri’s mass.